Anything in your landscape design that isn't a living plant is part of the hardscaping. This includes not just sidewalks and retaining walls, but water features, plant supports, and even the decorative items that you add. When making plans with your hardscape contractor, consider adding things that will make your yard more friendly for the neighborhood wildlife and pollinators.
1. Use Stone For Walls
Natural stone is optimum for wildlife compared to concrete and other uniform materials because the nooks and crannies can provide important habitat for pollination insects. Dry fit stone is ideal, since there is no mortar used to fill in the small gaps. Another benefit of dry fit stone in retaining walls is that it is permeable. This means excess water can drain through the walls so you won't end up with marshy conditions behind the wall. Your soil building animals, like worms, will perform better in non-saturated soils.
2. Install a Water Feature
A water feature is a must if you want your yard to be a sanctuary for neighborhood birds and animals. It can be as simple as a stone birdbath or as involved as a backyard pond complete with water fall. The key is to make sure that the feature incorporates some shallow areas where a bird can splash or a honeybee can stop to drink without drowning. Birdbaths should be on pedestals so that the small animals can keep an eye out for larger predators that may otherwise sneak up on them.
3. Raise the Greenery
Multi-layered plantings at various heights make a more wildlife friendly yard, particularly for birds. You don't need to plant trees to achieve this height, instead you can use hardscaping features like trellises, free standing obelisks, and pergolas. Then, climbing plants can be trained over the hardscaping to create the layered plantings that birds adore. Features like pergolas are great for small yards in particular, since they extend the planting area to include paved outdoor areas so that you can increase the growing space.
4. Provide Some Housing
When choosing more decorative items for your hardscaping, consider integrating bird or bat housing into the items. For example, instead of installing a plain garden stature, choose one that has bird housing as part of the design. If you are installing a tall fence or wall as part of your hardscape design, integrate bat houses into the upper section of the fence. Having bats in the yard is an excellent way to cut down on nuisance insects like mosquitoes.
Contact a hardscaping service for more help in designing your wildlife friendly yard.
When I was young, I loved helping my mother in the garden. Our yard was filled with plants and flowers that she kept in immaculate condition. Once I was an adult and bought my first home, I learned that there was much more to landscaping a yard than I ever imagined! After a little trial and error planting a few flowers in my yard that died quickly, I realized the technology that is available to aspiring gardeners makes trial and error a thing of the past. After I found out what my "hardiness zone" was, I realized I was planting flowers made for much cooler climates, and I played around with software that let me design my yard very easily! I learned a lot throughout the experience, so I thought I would share my tips with everyone who needs them. Come back often to check out my new tips!