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Wildlife-friendly gardens

Learn about how to attract local fauna, such as birds, bees and butterflies, back into to your garden.

Habitat gardening

One of the many benefits of indigenous plants is that they can attract a large range of wildlife, including frogs, birds, butterflies and lizards. With some thoughtful design, you may be surprised at the types of animals you can attract to your garden.

The following text has been taken from our publication Live Bayside Plant Bayside.

Planning your wildlife-friendly garden

Indigenous gardens provide a safe haven for our native birds and other fauna that are trying their best to survive in a highly-modified urbanised environment. Birds prey on garden pests such as caterpillars, mosquitoes and aphids, and contribute to non-chemical pest control in the garden.

To create a fauna-friendly garden, consider the following:

Provide shelter

Birds need shelter from predators such as cats and aggressive birds such as Noisy Miners or Indian Mynas.

Dense prickly shrubs and mature trees such as Acacia verticillata (Prickly Moses) and Leptospermum continentale (Prickly Tea-tree) can provide homes for a large range of insect, small bird and mammal species.

Dead trees and shrubs can also provide habitat for many of our native fauna. Take notice of any wildlife that visits your garden before you remove any dead trees or shrubs, as they may be providing a source of food or habitat.

In addition to dead shrubs and trees, leaving a few logs (particularly those containing hollows), sticks and leaves on the ground can provide habitat for many local insects and lizards.

Provide a water source

A reliable water source, particularly in summer, will attract birds to your garden. A birdbath on a pedestal next to a dense or prickly shrub will help birds feel secure.

Provide natural food sources

Plant a variety of native or indigenous plants, including one large tree, a variety of small and large shrubs, groundcovers, grasses and sedges. This allows you to create a complex and natural structure that mimics natural habitat and offers sources of food for native species.

Attracting frogs

What could be lovelier than being serenaded to sleep by singing frogs? They also feast on mosquitoes, flies and slugs, so are an excellent non-chemical pest controller in the garden.

You can attract frogs by installing a pond in your garden, especially if you live near a wetland or waterway.

Building a frog pond

Locate your pond in a low-lying section of the garden that has around 70% shade. You can buy ready-made ponds or dig your own and line it with a heavy-duty pond liner. Ensure your pond has varying depth that includes a shallow entry point and a deeper section (30–50cm) to place potted aquatic plants. Cover the bottom with washed gravel. Add rocks and logs to create climbing spots. Allow your pond to fill with rainwater and then add your plants.

Plants to attract frogs

Deep water zone:

  • Water Millfoil (Myriophyllum crispatum)
  • Nardoo (Marsilea drummondii)

Shallow water zone:

  • Common Sedge (Carex tereticaulis)
  • Tassel Sedge (Carex fascicularis)

Damp zone:

  • Marsh Club-sedge (Bolboschoenus medianus)
  • Swamp Stonecrop (Crassula helmsii)

Pond surround:

  • Spiny-headed Mat-rush (Lomandra longifolia)
  • Flax-lilies (Dianella spp.)

Attracting butterflies

Butterflies are a welcome addition to any garden and are easily attracted with a few simple design principles.

Put out a dish of damp sand and a flat rock for butterflies to bask in the morning sun. Provide sheltered and shady positions throughout the garden that lets them retreat during the heat of the day. Butterflies prefer flat flowers, such as daisies, that are easy to land on to extract nectar. They are attracted to a range of coloured flowers, in particular, blue, yellow and red.

Look for the butterfly icon on pages 28-60 in this publication for plants that provide food and shelter for butterflies:

You can purchase some of these plants from our Community Nursery.