One of the first questions we ask our landscape clients is, “How do you intend to use this new space?”
Some are looking for an expansive outdoor space for entertaining and family dinners. But for others, a restful backyard retreat is what they want. They want a small, quiet place where they can sip coffee in the morning or enjoy a cold cocktail in the evening. They long for a simple, beautiful place to relax and feel removed from the rest of their day. They want a chance to just be outside to feel the breeze, enjoy some sunshine, and experience nature around them.
This design must attract wildlife to the backyard retreat.
Whether it is a squirrel racing across the lawn, a hawk circling above, or a tiny songbird hidden in the trees, these creatures often renew us. When designing such a landscape we pay particular attention to the habitat. The key is providing a source of comfort for some wildlife and discouraging the interest of others.
They want a small, quiet place where they can sip coffee in the morning or enjoy a cold cocktail in the evening. They long for a simple, beautiful place to relax and feel removed from the rest of their day.
Encouraging wildlife to share our property takes understanding and planning. By appreciating a few basic principles, the design can attract songbirds and other desirable wildlife to your home.
Like us, wildlife needs:
- Food – Include a variety of trees and shrubs with high food value in your design. Consider a serviceberry: beautiful white blossoms in spring, bright red berries in summer that are a favorite of robins, waxwings, cardinals, vireos, tanagers, grosbeaks, and squirrels. The leaves provide dappled shade in summer and striking fall color. Consider other berry producers like junipers and viburnums to attract and sustain wildlife.
- Water – Water is essential for wildlife and adds relaxing visual and audible interest for us. You don’t need a pond or a waterfall. A simple water feature can have a dramatic impact on your senses while adding beauty to a small space and providing essential water for birds, butterflies, etc.
- Cover – Planting, ideally 10-15 feet from the water source, provides protection for wildlife for breeding, nesting, sleeping, traveling, and hiding from enemies. A single spruce tree or an evergreen hedge can provide cover. Denser plantings or groups of plantings are ideal. Dense vines in the corners or narrow spaces provide cover.
There is something calming and renewing about being outside. Birds, butterflies, squirrels and other backyard critters add entertainment value and help us celebrate nature around us. As stewards of the land we can help both ourselves and our wild neighbors by providing a healthy habitat in our restful spaces.
Interested in creating your own restful backyard retreat? We can help.