My Lizard Garden
How to Make a Lizard Garden
I never did set out to actually create a "lizard garden." I always wanted a bird friendly garden or maybe even attract butterflies. I created a lizard garden quite by accident. When I moved into my house 11 years ago, we had cats that were not very friendly to gardens. Little by little, I eliminated things and tweaked my backyard to deter cats. It wasn't until my grandson moved in with us for a while that I realized I had created a lizard paradise. My grandson Gavin just loved to see all the lizards scurrying about and even was bent on doing the impossible. Trying to catch one. He's 3 years old, and pronounces lizard like "wizard." At first I thought he was seeing "wizards"!
The picture to the left is a lizard hiding among my rose bushes.
All photos on this page are from my backyard
All photos on this lens were taken by me of wildlife in my backyard.
Caught 2 lizards "playing" in my backyard. The black lizards I see seem to be quite territorial.
All the photos of lizards on this page were from my backyard. The one on the right is on a wooden footbridge built. I can see a lot of them from my sliding glass door, but when I go outside I can see and hear them all scurrying around. Some will stop and let me get a closer look.
Some of you might be thinking about snakes. Well, I have thought of that myself. I'm not really worried, as the snakes would find it harder to find my yard. They would need to go across roads and people's backyards. Lot's of dogs in the neighborhood. I'm sure it's possible!
Creating a Lizard Garden
As I said, I did not set out to create a lizard garden. It just was a result of how I transformed out backyard. I removed all the grass and made planters. I piled rocks, stones, pavers, and gravel more to repel cats. I even used some artificial boulders to fill in space and give it more size. I also enlarged my koi pond. Pretty soon, the backyard was completely devoid of grass, and full of hardscape.
Having rocks for lizards to hide probably first attracted them. Second, my larger boulders and dark tree we have gave them ample places to sun themselves. Early mornings the lizards are really out and about sunning themselves.
In the photo to the right, you can see a lizard sunning himself on a rock.
I put stepping stones throughout the garden. I spray painted them different colors to add some instant color to the backyard. Here a lizard is sunning himself on one of the blue ones. They are fascinating to just watch.
Thoughts on a lizard garden.
I assume every state has lizards. How you create one for your climate may be different than mine. I live in southwest Riverside County, California, which is essentially a desert. Many housing developments have gone in, encroaching on the wildlife habitat. Hence, my backyard obviously attracts desert type lizards native to this area.
Since my backyard has a desert feel to it, the lizards feel quite at home. Other parts of the country may need to design theirs to attract the local lizards. You need places to hide, places to sun, plants for shade, food, and water.
If lizards are not your thing, think about designing a garden to attract something you like.
The photo to the right shows a lizard in my backyard sunning himself on the fence.
There are three lizards on this tree at the same time. Can you see them all?
Some lizards in our backyard.
I started taking one lizard, then he takes off to the left. Keep watching the video, as another lizard scuttles in on the right.
I suspect the one thing needed for a lizard friendly garden is sun exposure for most of the day. Lizards are cold blooded and need places to sun themselves. Providing flat, tall objects and places for them to sun should attract lizards. Also, they need cracks, plants, and crevices to hide in quickly from predators. This does not mean you need to turn your backyard into a desert.
The lizard at the right is sunning himself on a low-lying rock in my backyard.
It takes two to tango
Here's two of them just lounging side by side on a fake rock I have, along with the snail statue. They think they live in paradise.
Lizard on a rock
Lizard being lazy in the shade on a hot day.
Having loads of lizards playing in your backyard is better than owning pets. You don't have to feed or water them, or change their cage. They just take care of themselves.
At first I did not know what they were doing. I thought they were fighting. I took the picture, then scared them off. I did some research. It seems the male likes to bite the head of the female. Who knew? I wish I had taken a video of it. it would have been pretty amazing.
Big lizard on a tree
This is one big lizard on my tree in the backyard. He seems to be a different species than the three lizards on the same tree above.
Took this photo in the evening. There are two lizards in the picture. The brown one is actually about a foot or more long. Startled me at first. Looked like a snake! No, that is not a real skull, but a plastic replica.
Other wildlife in my garden.
The opossum to the right was found one morning. He would not move.
I've been woken up by racoons trying to fish for koi.
One day a heron tried to carry off one of my koi fish. The fish was too big, but that fish bears the scars today. I named that koi "Lucky."
My Lizard Garden
This is one part of my backyard which is now a lizard paradise.
Here's another part of my backyard lizard garden.
More from my backyard
As you can see, I don't have a normal backyard. It's all hardscape, just perfect for lizards.
My final photo
This is the last photo in the series here showing my backyard lizard paradise.
My Grandson Gavin
He has moved away, but I still get to visit him. Here he is playing in the water activity table we had in the back. I made him realize it was impossible to catch the lizards and we should just sit quietly and watch them for as long as we can. He sure loved this. I bought him some plastic lizards to play with. He liked putting them in the water.
My Koi Pond
I also filled in some of the backyard with a koi pond. It's a lot of work to upkeep, but I love the fish. Here is my grandson Gavin feeding them. We almost have them trained to be fed right out of the hand.
Rock Gardening How-To
We have a section of gardening!