Building a backyard habitat is one of the best ways to practice sustainable, green yard care. Although it may sound like a big change and a long process, it’s actually quite simple. We’ll outline the steps you need to take to build a backyard habitat here:
What Is a Backyard Habitat?
Put simply, a backyard habitat is an environment you create in your backyard that provides a healthy ecosystem and refuge for local wildlife. It’s filled with native plants, water, and shelter that attracts native wildlife and helps them survive in a world that has depleted many of the resources they need to live.
A backyard habitat is a perfect way to practice green yard care because it naturally restores the Earth to its original environment, benefits wildlife, and, in turn, benefits us humans too.
How Do I Build A Backyard Habitat?
You can build a backyard habitat completely on your own, but many people choose to get certified through the National Wildlife Foundation (NWF) because they provide a helpful checklist of what your habitat should include. According to NWF, in order to be recognized as a Certified Wildlife Habitat, your backyard habitat must have all of the following elements:
- Food (3) – Your backyard habitat should include at least three different food sources for wildlife. These food sources should be mostly in the form of native plants, which provide nectar, seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, foliage, and pollen for wildlife to feed on. Non-native feeders should only be used supplementally.
- Water (1) – Your backyard habitat should include at least one water source for wildlife to drink from, bathe in, or breed in. This could be a natural water source like a pond or creek, or a man-made water source like a birdbath.
- Cover (2) – Your backyard habitat should provide at least two forms of shelter for wildlife to protect them from harsh weather conditions or from predators. Often, wildlife also need places to feel safe and hide from people. Some potential cover options are wooded areas, dense shrubs, and brush piles.
- Places to raise young (2) – Your backyard habitat should include at least two places for wildlife to raise their young. Reproduction is important in the success of your backyard habitat, and many plants and animals need a different environment to survive as a baby than they need to survive as an adult. Mature trees, nesting boxes, ponds, and burrows all make great places for wildlife to raise their young.
- Sustainable practices (2) – Your backyard habitat must be maintained using at least two sustainable practices (although we always recommend more). Sustainable yard care could look like using natural pest control, installing a rain garden, reducing lawn and pavement, and/or composting.
What Are the Benefits of a Backyard Habitat?
Not only do backyard habitats help wildlife, but they benefit us too. Here are a few advantages of building a backyard habitat:
The top benefit of backyard habitats is that they are a great way to practice green yard care. They help the environment instead of harming it, so you can do your part to keep wildlife alive and Earth beautiful for years to come.
A backyard habitat doesn’t look like a perfectly mowed or landscaped lawn. Instead, it brings an unmatched natural beauty to your home. With a backyard full of unique plants, chirping birds, colorful butterflies, and adorable small animals, you’re sure to discover a new appreciation for nature.
Building and maintaining a backyard habitat are enjoyable activities to keep you busy. It’s fun to get outside and soak up the sun. Plus, you can invite your family, friends, and neighbors to join you, for a fun activity that brings you all together.
Americans spend over $30 billion and 65 hours per year on lawn maintenance. By implementing native resources and natural maintenance practices, a backyard habitat can offer a cost-effective and time-saving approach to land management.
Backyard habitats are just one way to make your home more environmentally friendly. If you value sustainability, consider the beautiful community of Couch Mountain. Here, homes are built with green building practices to use sustainable materials and energy-efficient components wherever possible. Get in touch with our team to learn more.
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