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Garden Wildlife Habitats

Updated on September 21, 2017
Lee Hansen profile image

Lee is an artist and gardener who draws inspiration for her coloring page art and original craft designs from nature and pop culture.

Welcome Nature Into Your Garden Wildlife Habitat

Suburban sprawl, development of farmland and wilderness, and manufacturing plants disrupt and sometimes destroy natural wildlife habitats. The development of residential communities in what were once farm fields or forest lands displaces animals and plants; wildlife struggles to survive in areas adjacent to where animals and plants once lived naturally. You can help preserve wildlife by creating a garden wildlife habitat in your yard.

Photo note: A mama mallard and her drake visit our garden every Spring, looking for the perfect spot to set up housekeeping and raise a nest of ducklings. They particularly like the small pond in our front yard. (The water comes into the pond naturally from a French drain channeling storm water runoff and natural moisture in our upper garden. The little drain ditch is behind the duck in this photo. The greenery is flourishing along its edges). Sometimes the duck couple visits our rain garden in the back yard while looking for a place to make their nest, but the garden pond there doesn't hold water for long so it's not appealing for raising a brood of ducklings.

Mallard Ducks in our Garden Pond

Mama and Papa Duck Enjoy our Backyard Garden Pond
Mama and Papa Duck Enjoy our Backyard Garden Pond | Source

Wildlife Love Song - Back Yard Habitat - Spring Toad Mating Call

We have a small rain garden in our yard that attracts toads in the spring. This toad sang its heart out to attract a mate and later we found thousands of tadpoles in the small pond that collects storm water runoff in our garden.

Benefits of a Creating Wildlife Habitats in Your Yard

Gardens can create a microsystem of nature

If you have room for a few shrubs or trees, a water feature (even a small bird bath will do) and a place to leave food for wildlife, they will find it and provide you with many hours of entertainment. Birds eat insects and sing from spring until winter. Some birds will remain in winter if you feed them and provide a source of water.

Toads and frogs live quiet, peaceful lives in the garden areas around our home, eating thousands of insects and insect larvae.

Our garden is even attractive to neighborhood bunnies when they escape from their own back yards. This little rascal ironically showed up on Easter morning a few years ago.

Shelter for Toads in the Garden

Garden Tree Spirit Toad House
Garden Tree Spirit Toad House

A toad house in your garden provides shelter and protection for the bug-eaters who help defend your plants from insects. Toads need evening shelter and also protection from heavy rains, hot sun and the occasional predator. This weather-resistant toad house shelter will make a stunning addition to your garden; place it near your walkway or doorstep in a partially shaded area and watch for new amphibious tenants in your backyard habitat.


Restore a Bit of Nature in Your Suburban Garden

If you live in a suburban development, your yard may be part of a former wildlife habitat. You can make peace with nature by creating small spaces in your back yard to provide food, water and shelter for birds, amphibians and other small, harmless creatures.

Backyard wildlife habitats recreate a small haven for wildlife in any rural or suburban garden area without added risk of damage. It's easy to design small backyard habitats in a home garden area. Adding wildlife-friendly areas to your yard will attract birds and beneficial insects, beautify your property and restore natural balance to neighborhood ecosystems.

Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder - Metal with hanger, can't be chewed

I have one of these squirrel proof bird feeders and it really works! The squirrel's weight closes the front panel so he can't eat all your bird seed. The metal body is slippery, too, so if you hang this feeder on a metal pole away from ledges or trees the squirrels won't be able to hang on and try to work out seeds from the closed trap door.

Audubon   Bird's Delight  Squirrel Resistant  Bird Feeder  Model 7511i
Audubon Bird's Delight Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder Model 7511i

Keep the squirrels from raiding - or worse - destroying your birdfeeders.


Garden Habitats - Small Wildlife Havens - Backyard habitats restore wildlife environments

This hawk lives in our area and sometimes causes a panic at the bird feeder - he thinks it's a fast food station placed in the garden just for his benefit. Mostly, though, he soars above the field next to our small yard, on the lookout for moles and mice and snakes.

You don't need to live in a rural area to attract beneficial wildlife to your garden. Small suburban and urban gardens can support a variety of birds and other small creatures (not necessarily pests like mice or rats) that will enjoy your landscape and do no harm. Many wildlife species are beneficial and beautiful - they eat pests, make music and play games with one another.

Wild creatures provide hours of enjoyment and learning by giving us opportunities to watch them as they visit food sources, feeders and water sources in our yards year round, and while they build nests and homes, mate and raise families.

Rain Garden in Early Spring - Rain Gardens Protect Water and Nurture Wildflife

Rain Garden with Spring Runoff

Rain Gardens are easy to create low-maintenance natural areas that provide suburban back yard shelter, water and food for birds, butterflies, toads and beneficial insects like mantises, ladybugs and dragon flies. They don't hold water long enough to stagnate or allow mosquitoes to breed.

Note the clay flower pot that conceals a plastic drain pipe. Storm water from our driveway follows the pipe down into the rain garden to dissipate. In a few months the mulch area and clay pot will be almost hidden from view as perennial native plants grow all around the water area.

Rain Garden in June

Rain Garden and Native Plants

By early June, native plants have almost hidden the clay flower pot that covers a drain pipe that feeds storm water into the rain garden from our driveway area. Frogs, deer, chipmunks, garter snakes and turtles visit this small rain garden after every storm.

Turtle Crossing! - We had to remove this guy from our driveway

Turtle in our back yard wild life habitat
Turtle in our back yard wild life habitat

Sustainable Gardening and Backyard Habitat Resouces

More information and helpful links to articles about sustainable gardening, backyard wildlife habitats and caring for the environment in your own garden or yard.

Urban Wildlife

There's a Bobcat in My Backyard: Living with and Enjoying Urban Wildlife (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Guides)
There's a Bobcat in My Backyard: Living with and Enjoying Urban Wildlife (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Guides)

A seemingly harsh desert environment can be vibrant and alive with flowers, plants and wildlife.


Rain Garden in Winter

Rain Garden in the Winter
Rain Garden in the Winter | Source

Even when the plants are at rest under the snow, a rain garden works to collect snow melt and storm water runoff in our garden.

Woodlink Squirrel Diner Feeder  Model 75590
Woodlink Squirrel Diner Feeder Model 75590

This feeding station holds nuts, corn or seeds (up to 4 pounds). It's steel with a powder coated finish - resists chewing and gnawing. Mount this unique and attractive squirrel feeder on tree, post or deck.


Hawk's Squirrel Lunch

Nature's Food Chain - Hawk Dinner: Fresh Squirrel

We have a squirrel problem in our neighborhood, but who doesn't? Nature takes care of the population control sometimes ... the hawks in the area keep watch over the squirrels who raid bird feeders and make the rodents into a quick meal.

This video shows what happens to squirrels in our yard who don't remember to keep an eye on the sky.

© 2008 Lee Hansen

Garden Chat -Share Your Ideas and Comments About Suburban Wildlife Habitats

Submit a Comment
  • Lee Hansen profile imageAUTHOR

    Lee Hansen 

    5 years ago from Vermont

    @Gypzeerose: Thank you for stopping by, and for pinning. Our concern for wildlife in our garden is genuine, and we appreciate the joy having them around even when they eat the flowers or veggies.

  • Lee Hansen profile imageAUTHOR

    Lee Hansen 

    5 years ago from Vermont

    @LiteraryMind: I love watching wildlife especially in the garden. Some critters I need to relocate from time to time when their behavior becomes a problem, but for the most part we enjoy making a place for wild creatures in our gardens. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Lee Hansen profile imageAUTHOR

    Lee Hansen 

    5 years ago from Vermont

    @anonymous: Thanks, I did not realize this lens was in the feature list. Great news, and thanks for stopping by!

  • Anthony Altorenna profile image

    Anthony Altorenna 

    5 years ago from Connecticut

    Your gardens are very inviting! We strive to create a wildlife-friendly garden, and we are often rewarded with unexpected visitors. I need to start a list of the birds and animals that have stopped by over the years.

  • Gypzeerose profile image

    Rose Jones 

    5 years ago

    Lovely lens, pinned to my board: how does your garden grow as well as the one on backyard habitats, and out by other bookmarking sites as well. This is an important lens.

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    Wonderful lens, Saw your lens featured on Editor for the Day: Bakerwoman Shows Us Some Great Garden Wildlife Habitat Lenses

  • LiteraryMind profile image

    Ellen Gregory 

    5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

    It's so much fun to observe animals, birds and butterflies in a garden. I can't imagine why everyone doesn't do this.

  • squidoopets profile image

    Darcie French 

    5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

    Lovely ways to encourage the wild life to make one's backyard into a lovely habitat

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Well your lens is really informative.You did excellent work for your lens.Thanks for sharing such effective information.

  • tjmaj1959 profile image


    6 years ago

    we have ducks that visit our pond every year too

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Unfortunately, my 3 dogs chase away any wildlife that wander into our backyard.

  • SheGetsCreative profile image

    Angela F 

    6 years ago from Seattle, WA

    love the lens - I live in an apartment that faces a large agriculture center so I get to enjoy lots of wildlife from owls and bunnies to hummingbirds and coyotes.

  • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

    Nathalie Roy 

    6 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

    Reading this and looking at the pictures make me want to move out of town even more. Looking forward to have a garden! I love the turtle. Was it a large one? Looks rather big from the picture

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    what a joy! thanks for sharing your suburban wildlife habitats

  • TonyPayne profile image

    Tony Payne 

    6 years ago from Southampton, UK

    Your garden looks lovely, great photos and descriptions. Our garden is fairly small, and this is our 3rd year here, so we are still in the process of tearing stuff down as well as re-planting, because it had not been looked after for a long time. We do get a lot of birds at our feeders, and some nights a fox wanders through. It's great to watch nature and wildlife. Congratulations on your Purple Star, this is a wonderful lens.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Nice lens. I have a birdbath on the patio and feed the birds and squirrels. I enjoy watching them, especially the birds when bathing.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    I really enjoyed this lens and I enjoy watching wildlife. Great Job and blessed

  • Nancy Hardin profile image

    Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

    6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

    A gorgeous lens, both in information and photos. Congratulations on your well-deserved purple star.

  • Paul Ward profile image


    6 years ago from Liverpool, England

    A huge amount packed into this - and great to look at and read. Angel Blessed.

  • Lee Hansen profile imageAUTHOR

    Lee Hansen 

    6 years ago from Vermont

    @EdTecher: Mother Nature appreciates any little bit we can do to offset development impacts. Thank you for the blessing and best wishes with your habitat.

  • Lee Hansen profile imageAUTHOR

    Lee Hansen 

    6 years ago from Vermont

    @mbgphoto: I'm working on a second home now and adding to the habitat that's already here. Mother Nature provided the basics - water, forest and meadow nearby. I have feeders for the birds and squirrels for winter. I love to sit on the porch and watch the critters all year long. Thanks for visiting and the Blessing.

  • mbgphoto profile image

    Mary Beth Granger 

    7 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

    I love this lens...lots of great ideas. We have a small garden habitat in our backyard where birds,butterflies,bees, squirrels and an occasional rabbit will gather. It is a short distance from our sliding glass doors in our kitchen and my husband and I enjoy sitting by the table and watching all of the animals. The squirrels are great at our water fountain trying to capture the water as it flows from the fountain. Thank you for this beautiful lens. Blessed

  • delia-delia profile image


    7 years ago

    Love this lens! we have a great deal of wildlife in our backyard...rabbits, deer, fox, coyotes, turkeys, groundhogs, squirrels, chipmunks and many, many birds...and they ALL eat my plants! he he

  • DebinSC profile image


    7 years ago

    Very nice and so informative! Lensrolled to a couple of my lenses. :)

  • EdTecher profile image

    Heidi Reina 

    8 years ago from USA

    Making my garden plans now, so learning about building wildlife habitats into it is timely. Blessed by a Squid Angel ~

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Love all that nature stuff.

  • eclecticeducati1 profile image


    9 years ago

    Love the lens! We live in the suburbs but we still have some wildlife. We had a duck nest in our yard two years in a row. We were disappointed when she did not pick our yard the next year. The weirdest thing I have seen in our yard was a wild turkey! I could barely believe my eyes!!! Luckily I keep a camera in my purse (I was pulling out of our driveway at the time) and got a picture of it.

  • evelynsaenz1 profile image

    Evelyn Saenz 

    9 years ago from Royalton

    What a transformation your rainwater garden makes over the year! Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions.

    Lensrolled to Creating a Classroom Frog Pond

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Nice lens, I thought it was pretty insightful so I decided to give you 5 stars, hey, I have a page that’s pretty similar to yours, maybe you can check it out when you have time: Cleaning And Outdoor Koi Fish Pond

  • debnet profile image


    9 years ago from England

    I love enticing birds and squirrels into the garden. I think I may have had a fox visit last week but i'm not sure. watching the blackbirds bath in even a shallow dish of water always brings a smile to my face. You have a beautiful garden Pastiche :)


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