For city dwellers and suburbanites, native vegetation and wildlife habitat are at a premium. But it’s simple to plan your own small-scale nature preserve.
You could start by limiting your lawn. Lawns provide little food or coverage for animals. Consider removing small portions of turf and replacing it with wildflower seeds or groundcover.
Offer vertical layering by planting plants and shrubs at different levels. Sparrows and thrashers spend their lives foraging close to the ground, vireos and cardinals hang out 3 to 10 feet off the ground in shrubs, and bluebirds and chickadees love high branches.
Cavities of both living and dead trees create denning and nesting opportunities for squirrels and birds. Piles of brush create great cover, and welcome wind breaks in the winter.
Providing a water source of any kind is essential. You don’t have to purchase a new bird bath. Instead, repurpose a container you’d otherwise recycle. Just avoid placing bird baths underneath a bird feeder as the water will get dirty with food and droppings.
Our bug friends need water, too. Insects take up water with their stylet. Create a puddling station for them by layering sand, compost and pebbles in a shallow saucer and filling it with water.