If you’re looking to upgrade your backyard garden or patio, consider the addition of wildlife-friendly water features. A small or large wildlife-friendly water feature will attract animals that will keep your backyard landscape flourishing. It can also be a delightful and mesmerizing centerpiece for your garden and a source of entertainment for your family and visitors. These water features don’t have to fully replicate a natural one but can be designed and shaped to look modern and contemporary. Most importantly, the water features should aim at attracting wildlife of all varieties, creating food sources, potential shelter, and protection for fauna.
When thinking of backyard water features, many assume that it’s a complicated and expensive affair, but this is far from true. A water feature doesn’t need to be a huge landscaped pond, an overflowing towering fountain, or an expensively constructed wall of water. It can be as simple as filling a small dish sunk into the ground, providing the wildlife animals with the essentials that they need.
All living things need to drink water to survive and the cheapest and most simple option to bring water to the garden is a shallow drinking hole. This provides a vital drinking reservoir for wildlife animals. All that is needed is a little sand, a large plant pot dish, and some inspiration. Use a clay dish because it is more aesthetically pleasing than plastic, though using such a porous material will mean that the dish will require filling more often.
Find a dish approximately 30 to 50 cm in diameter and between 5 and 10 cm in depth. Then, scoop out an area of soil so that the rim will lie perfectly flush with the soil surface. A tiny amount of sand in the hole will prevent stones or other sharp objects from puncturing the dish. Additionally, planting around the surrounding area will allow creatures to approach the watering hole with the safety of cover. Smaller plants look best due to the dish’s small size. For example, heucheras, hostas, and even small ferns will create a beautiful looking oasis that will instill intrigue and mystery into the garden.
A bird bath is another excellent wildlife-friendly water feature idea. The birds will come in large numbers since they love to splash and play in the water. A bird bath is also easy to install and comes in all sorts of sizes and materials. Bird baths encourage wildlife animals to come to your backyard as well as birds that are native to your region. Stone and concrete baths are the most popular. A visit to a local cement/stone yard provides the best assortment and choice. For the colder climates consider a bird bath heater. This device keeps the temperature of the water just above freezing and gives birds a place to drink when all other water around them is frozen solid
However, a simple and easy bird bath that feathered friends will both drink from and use to keep their plumage in tip-top condition can be made at home.
A shallow dish bird bath can be constructed using only a large clay pot, a metal dustbin lid and a small bag of pebbles. Place the dish away from overshadowing trees and turn the dustbin lid upside down. Then, rest it on the pot so that it’s sturdy and can hold water. After that, tip the pebbles into the dish for both looks and weight before filling with clean water. A bird bath, in particular, will need its water regularly changed. This is because it will not only provide a drinking source for birds but will also help them rid their feathers of oils and dirt. With careful maintenance and the provision of food, all kinds of winged creatures will flock to the garden for food, drink, and bathing.
A waterfall is a very appropriate feature to include in a wooded, rocky area of your backyard. The waterfall size depends on the scale and space of your garden. It can be built to give quite a realistic effect. By using larger stones and smaller pebbles and rocks of varying size and color, you can create a visually stunning effect. A small water pump, filter, and re-circulating pipes are also required to build the waterfall. Aquatic plants such as lily pads and some koi fish or goldfish can then be introduced to attract more wildlife animals. The water pump helps keep the water circulating and well-aerated for the fish to thrive and multiply.
Waterfalls can be tricky to install as the running water needs a well-designed and watertight path for worry-free, continuous operation. Consulting a professional landscaper with experience is the wisest choice. Waterfalls are wonderful addition to an otherwise simple pond. It can even be an even more fabulous addition to a swimming pool. A wildlife-friendly waterfall significantly contributes to a magnificent landscaping design.
The easiest way to attract wildlife is using a pond. In the wild, the animals all flock to the pond to quench their thirst, so if you have one in your backyard, a small pond with a fountain will give them the same feel.
A simple pond with a fountain can be created by sinking a large plastic tub, available from most garden centers, into the ground. After that fill it with water and seat the solar-powered fountain in a place where it can be energized throughout the day to provide the calming and gentle noise of trickling water. Use sand in the bottom of the hole for the plastic tub to ensure that large stones or sharp objects will not puncture or scratch the surface. This helps avoid leaks that will be difficult to fix later. Meanwhile ensure that the rim of the watertight container sits flush with the soil surface, allowing creatures’ access to drinking water and making it easier to disguise the perimeter.
Like the shallow dish, planting should complement the surroundings. Use small plants that will provide cover for animals yet not hide the feature from view. For example, towering irises are ideal.