By Daniel A. Reed

Observing Nature in our own back yard can be a wonderful thing. Few things are as relaxing as watching animals from the comfort of a garden bench, a patio, or from a window in our home.

To increase the level of birds and butterflies (and ultimately wildlife in general), try strategically planting a few of the following trees and shrubs in your backyard habitat.

1. Flowering Dogwood
2. Serviceberry
3. Holly
4. Spicebush
5. Hawthorn
6. Flowering Crabapple
7. Colorado Blue Spruce
8. Butterfly Bush

Birds and butterflies love these varieties because they provide shelter and food.

Before you begin planting, observe how nature “manages” its flora and fauna. Trees and plants do not grow in straight lines. Vary the positions of your plantings to give it a more natural feel. Also, keep in mind that you will probably want to add more to your landscape as time goes by. It is wise to develop a planting plan prior to actually beginning work on the project.

You might also want to consider adding a water element to your landscape design, either through a birdbath or a small waterfall. Many water elements are commercially available from your local “Mega-Mart” or building supplier.

Especially attractive are the small waterfall type elements. Make sure you get one that is relatively realistic looking. Nothing ruins a beautiful natural scene more quickly than rocks that look like they are made from plastic. The animals may not pay attention, but I guarantee that you will find a realistic version far more pleasing to the eye.

If you can’t get everything in place all at once, create your habitat a little at a time. Your efforts will pay off in the long run.


About the Author: Daniel Reed (aka “The Professor”), having over a decade of teaching experience on the graduate and undergraduate level, started teaching wilderness and nature related courses approximately 2 years ago. Check out his website at and his FREE EZine, “The Naturalist.”

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