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How to Make an Eco Friendly Yard

Updated on June 14, 2016
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Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source | Source | Source

An eco friendly backyard or as many call it environmentally friendly, is much easier to start than many people realize and it is definitely easier to maintain than let's say a well manicured garden.

Besides being easy to start, and enjoyable for the entire family an eco friendly backyard helps attract several wildlife creatures to it which if you also happen to enjoy photography, can lend itself to many photographic opportunities.

Another aspect of having an eco friendly backyard is that it opens the door to teaching children as well as adults about nature, conservancy, ecological systems, wildlife and general backyard creatures.

If you want you can either convert your entire backyard into a nature friendly site or you can do parts of it. The important thing is to plan ahead and select the area or areas that you will act upon.

Whether it's the entire site or only a part, start by letting local vegetation such as wild-grasses and wildflowers reproduce.

Next you should lay some dry logs or branches in a square formation, much like doing a tic tac toe board (interlacing). This does not have to be large, just enough to allow for some smaller creatures to enter and leave and for them to make nesting sites inside of the structure.

Placing a bird feeder is also important as this will attract several local bird varieties and the occasional winter visitor. A simple clay dish like the ones used on the bases of flower pots to collect run off or excess water will do.

You can drill some holes along the plates' perimeter and hand it from a tree branch. You can also drill a hole in its center and screw it to a log. This looks a bit more natural. Drill some smaller holes into the feeder to let rain water flow through and prevent seed rot.

Also good is to leave about a one foot diameter of plain dirt around the feeder to allow for seeds that the birds will naturally scatter to grow and in turn serve as green feed for them.

A water source is also paramount and again a commercially built water dish is good or you can make it yourself much the same as the bird feeder but a bit deeper.

If you want to get more creative getting a fish pond (and there many sizes) from your local hardware store along with a small pump not only adds the element of falling water but also encourages birds to make their nests closer to the site.

You can even add fish to it but be ware that depending on your geographical location, there maybe some birds species that will find your pond fish to be an attractive ready to go meal.

Placing a stone base in the center of the fish pond with a flat base will let birds perch on it a have access to drinking water.

Placing a flat stone or similar item and occasionally spreading a mixture of sugar water will go a long way towards attracting many species of butterflies but having local flowers which bloom often, such as perennials, works much better.

Consult your local nursery shop for available flowering plants as well as host plants for butterflies There are also many herbs which attract butterflies as well as some birds and you can also use them in your kitchen.

Be very conscious that if you do provide host plants butterflies will lay eggs on them which in turn will become caterpillars and will eat large portions of the hosts, often creating a unsightly view. Try to plant the hosts plants towards corners which are covered somehow by other plants.

A brush will also invite birds to nest, butterflies to feed on its flowers and will offer cover. A good one is the Cape Honeysuckle; its fast growing , hardy and its red flowers provide food for honeybees, butterflies and for hummingbirds.

The goal of your environmentally friendly back yard is to invite wild creatures to call this place home, offer them protection, feed them and provide hours of enjoyment for your entire family. Be mindful to consult with your local nursery shop for growing regions and for locally available plants.

Avoid using non native plants as these can often grow out of proportion and cause harm to the local environment.

A compost pile is very useful for providing a rich growing solution for many plants. A square wooden box or large plant container are ideally suited for this. Just make sure that it features a cover as the compost pile needs humidity and heat to do its job properly. A mixture of half ground and most any other organic materials will do. Aerate it once per week and this should be enough.

Proving nesting boxes which are easy to do will make some birds set up shop in your backyard. Just make sure to place them high enough and away from predators such as cats. Trunks on which you have drilled a half an inch diameter hole will attract some species of bees (carpenter bees) which along with its honey bee cousins will help your plants to pollinate.

If like mentioned before you enjoy photography then make sure to set up your eco friendly backyard in a location that will allow you to set up about twenty feet away so as not to disturb its inhabitants. Use a zoom lens set up on a tripod and photograph away.

Try not to use flash as this may scare your guests away. Instead focus on using a large aperture or f-stop, and quietly press the shutter. Try to be on location and minimize your actions and movements at least half an hour before your guests arrive. Pretty soon and over time they will get used to your presence and you will be able to photograph them in a more leisurely mode.

Bev Wagar
Bev Wagar | Source

"Environmentally friendly (also eco-friendly, nature friendly, and green) are ambiguous terms used to refer to goods and services, laws, guidelines and policies claimed to inflict minimal or no harm on the environment.[1] Companies sometimes use these terms to promote goods and services by making environmental marketing claims and with eco-labels. The term sometimes is used as greenwashing.

Because there is no accepted definition nor international standard for this concept, the International Organization for Standardization considers such labels too vague to be meaningful.[2]" Wikipedia | Source

© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Cat on a soapbox: Thank you

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi Luis,

      I really enjoyed your hub and agree that having a yard that supports native flora and fauna is great for all the reasons you mention, esp. teaching kids to appreciate nature. Like you, I always have the camera ready because opportunities for that great shot are everywhere ! Thanks for sharing:)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I have always wanted a small fish pond in the back yard. Maybe some day. Thanks for the information on who to make your backyard eco friendly. Great ideas.