Secrets to a Healthy Backyard
My Idea of a Healthy Yard
To me a healthy yard is one that helps you make a relaxing and healing connection with nature. It should be comfortable and easy, and not evoke feelings of guilt, tension or regret.
I have seen backyards filled with trash or discarded items, overgrown bushes and chest-high weeds. There’s usually an old rusty chair or two that have seen better days, if there is a place to sit at all. Procrastination and neglect often result in tasks that become too overwhelming to tackle.
Your Outdoor Space Is Just as Important as the Inside of Your House
It’s important to become a steward of the outdoor space in which you live. By that I mean, take an interest in every nook and cranny of your yard; including the vegetation, lawn, outbuildings, gardens, walkways, rocks and furniture. The size does not matter, it is how you treat the area that counts. Remember that anything you do, or don’t do, in your space affects the micro-ecosystems that surround you.
For example, you decide to cut down a tree to make room for a vegetable garden. Then consider this--that tree provides shelter and nesting opportunities for birds, squirrels, chipmunks and other critters. It is a nursery for insects, and provides food for those bugs. It is a resource for animals that chew on bark or use the tree fibers for their nests.
The leaves of that tree filter pollutants and protect nesting birds from being seen by predators like hawks. Its shade creates a specialized mini-environment, and its branches pass along cooling breezes in the summertime. The bark on that tree is home to spiders, and other insects, which in turn provide sustenance for insect-eating birds and wild animals.
Everything is interconnected and interdependent. Look at your outer space and acknowledge it as an unexplored universe. We humans can make huge impacts on wildlife without even realizing it. This doesn’t mean that you can’t make changes in your own backyard. It’s your space, but remember you must share it with wildlife in order to have a ‘healthy yard‘. We all have an inherent moral obligation to care for this planet and all its creatures.
- Bird Feeder | Bird Houses | Bird House
Handcrafted rustic barn wood bird houses and bird feeders are functional and decorative, and will enhance your yard and garden, or primitive country home décor.
So if you do cut down that tree, you need to make sure that you replace it with other kinds of food and sheltering opportunities. Install a bird house or two; add bird feeders; plant a mixed hedge or multilayered flower gardens filled with native plants that produce both nectar and seed heads. Plant some raspberries or grapes next to your fence or against a trellis.
Natural Non-Toxic Pesticides
- Natural Insecticide | Natural Pesticides
There are many great natural pesticides that satisfy our health-conscious organic needs that are as effective and safer than synthetic solutions to get rid of garden pests like aphids and carpenter ants.
Start thinking in terms of how you can make your backyard better for nature as well as yourself and your family. Instead of using toxic chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that negatively impact the health of your family and your environment, look for non-toxic alternatives to ensure a safer and healthier yard. Remember that any action has an equal and opposite reaction.
Tips for Attracting Bats and Placement Tips for Installing Bat Houses
- Your New Bat House - Tips and tricks for attracting ...
So you want to put up a bat house. Good for you! Bats are marvelous little creatures that play a highly important role in our ecosystem. They can also play a wonderful part in minimizing the population of biting insects around our homes â keeping..
The Secrets to a Healthy Yard
- Install a Bat House. These sonic-sensitive wonders of nature are tiny flying rodents that have a penchant for eating all the insects their bellies can hold! Bats are nothing to fear. On the contrary, they are to be applauded and employed as free labor in our yards and gardens.
Added Bonus: Bats can ingest many, many mosquitoes in just one night!
- Build a stacked rock wall that will provide lots of places for insects and small animals to hide and multiply, maintaining that important food source for your native birds and wildlife. Your rock wall doesn’t have to be large, just interesting and useful.
- Start a brush pile to harbor insects and shelter birds. Mulch your gardens and shrubs with shredded dry leaves to supply lots of places for bugs to hide, and your ground-foraging birds to find.
- Plant a vegetable or flower garden. Your vegetable garden will need pollinators. Plants that offer food, shelter and places for larvae to hatch should be on your list of necessities. Bees, butterflies and birds depend on nectar and seeds. In turn they will pollinate your vegetables and flowers for you. Find a list of plants that attract birds here.
White Dutch Clover Seed
- Do you really like mowing all that lawn every time you get a day off? Try planting an alternative ‘lawn’. Red, white and strawberry clovers, low-growing tough herbs like thyme and chamomile, sweet alyssum, yarrow, violets and dwarf ryegrass mixtures are available online and at local nurseries.
- They only need to be mowed about once a month, or less often in hot weather.
- They are fragrant and lovely and tough enough to walk on.
- They don’t need any fertilizer once established.
- Lay out a path of flat stones that winds around and through your lawn and gardens. Poke some moss or Mother of Thyme in between the stepping stones if you wish. Fill different sized planting containers with fragrant annuals and perennials and herbs, and place them along your walkway. Add a wonderful homemade bench or two for a cool spot to rest and contemplate your creation.
- There should be a clean water source in the form of a bird bath, fountain or small pond to quench the thirst of the wild critters in your little corner of the universe. Not enough room for a bird bath? There are lots of styles of hanging bird baths available online or at your local nursery.
If you already have a bird bath, consider a bubbler that mimics the sound of a babbling brook. It will be a magnet for birds; and it will have a relaxing effect on you!
Short Video of a Chickadee that Found Some Animal Fur in My Garden.
Create a beautiful outdoor ‘living’ room filled with fragrance, fresh air, sunshine and nature. Remember, it isn’t necessary to tackle this all in one big bite. Baby steps are the way to go.
- List the projects that appeal to you and would work in your backyard.
- Pick one, plan for it and shop the sales.
- Finish one before you start another.
- Be flexible. If you find a great idea that works well, use it.
Improvise with objects from rummage or estate sales. Or shop in your own house. You’d be surprised at what you can find right in your own home. It’s fun to re-use and repurpose. I know that I accumulate ‘stuff’ without even trying. Put some of that ‘stuff’ to good use in your backyard. Then sit back and watch your unique big screen nature-vision.
Be creative. If you need inspiration, walk through your own neighborhood, visit botanical gardens, local parks, or check out the many resources available online. Pinterest has thousands of creative options for repurposing items in the garden.
For instance, use your old shoes, boots, kitchen appliances, wash tubs, sinks, dishes, pans, watering cans, and so on. Virtually anything you have that can hold dirt, is water- and weatherproof, and will drain the excess water is fair game, and free! Other sources might be the local thrift shop, neighborhood garage sales and Freecycle online.
These are the elements of a healthy lawn and wildlife environment.
Look at your backyard through the eyes of the animals that live,forage, and raise their young there. If you weren’t aware of them before, you should be now!
More by this Author
Instead of using toxic chemical pesticides and ineffective traps, why not enlist Nature's first line of defense against destructive insects. Japanese beetles are like popcorn to gray catbirds! If you have these or any...
If you are tired of mowing lawn every time you have a day off, then you are a prime candidate for an alternative lawn. If you want to be surrounded by fragrance, beauty, birds, butterflies and beneficial insects, then...
Do you have an unsightly bare spot under your bird feeders? Most of us do, but there are options for making that area as pretty as the rest of your yard. Discover my 8 easy solutions for transforming the space under...