Bird-Friendly Landscaping Ideas
Enticing more birds to visit your backyard can be a very worthwhile and enjoyable project for the whole family (our kids love this) and especially for you “birders.” Putting up a feeder is always a quick and easy way to attract birds. However, if you want to attract a wider variety of species, prefer your backyard birds to get a more geographically-natural diet, or wish to create your own backyard bird sanctuary, it’s essential to consider the key landscaping elements that will make your yard more bird-friendly. When planning your landscape, keep in mind that birds need water, food and a place for shelter to survive – especially if you want them to keep coming back. By providing these features, you can create an environment that attracts a variety or very specific types of birds to your backyard. The rewards are beautiful birds that add color and music to your life year-round.
A bird bath is a simple option in providing a water source for the birds. It’s a place for birds to bathe and get drinking water.
While bird houses and bird feeders are an option for shelter and food, also consider adding native plants to your landscape. Native plants provide an excellent source for food and shelter. When designing your landscape, select a variety of plant species from evergreen to deciduous that produce nuts and berries year round. This will provide a natural food source for the birds. Evergreens (trees and shrubs) are also important because they provide shelter during the winter months. Consider your birds’ specific needs and/or incorporate plants that vary in height. Different species of birds will feed, seek shelter and nest at various heights. Planting in groups or clusters forms areas of dense vegetation, creating areas for birds to seek shelter and hide from predators. Perennials can also be incorporated into your design. Perennials not only add a splash of color to your gardens, but they also produce seeds or nectar that attracts birds. A few native perennials to Pennsylvania include Echinacea (Cone Flower), Monarda (Bee Balm) and Lobelia (Cardinal Flower).
Examples of native plants to PA that provide berries: Serviceberry (Amelanchier), Dogwoods (Cornus spp.), Winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata), American Cranberry bush (Viburnum trilobum) & Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum).
Examples of native plants to PA that provide cover: American Holly (Ilex opaca), Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.), Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), & Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana).
To attract the most native songbirds, the overall goal of your backyard landscape should be to mimic nature as closely as possible. A properly designed landscape, even if located in an urban area, will attract dozens of species of brightly colored songbirds. In the spring and summer, the joyous songs of these birds are sure to brighten any day.
It’s mowing season! Here are some tips to help keep your lawn looking great!
1) Mow at a height of 2 ½ – 3 inches. This helps promote a deeper root system for the grass plant and reduces weeds in your lawn.
2) Don’t remove more than 1/3 of the blade at a time. This allows you to leave the clippings, which returns valuable nutrients back to the soil.
3) Keep you mower blades sharp! Mowing with a dull blade shreds the ends of grass blades. This leaves behind grass with ragged ends, which turns brown, giving the lawn a dried-out look. It also makes the grass more vulnerable to disease.
4) Try and mow when the grass is dry.
Tired of looking at that boring old concrete in the front of your home? Then, complement your home’s architectural style and add curb appeal with beautiful and durable paving stone walkways, pathways, and garden paths.
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