A wildlife friendly garden provides us with a wealth of wonderful benefits. From attracting colourful insects and birds, to boosting pollination, a native inspired landscape can improve the overall health of your garden and importantly help to conserve our local flora and fauna. According to the Illawarra Native Garden Guide, our region is home to around 2,500 species of native plants and boy… aren’t we lucky. 

So, what steps can you take at home to create a wildlife friendly garden? Read on to see how you can enjoy all of the unique native plants and animals our beautiful region has to offer from the comfort of your own home.

Noteworthy Natives

close up of native flower in Wollongong gardenPhoto Credit: Shaw Landscape Group

One of the best ways to attract wildlife into your garden is to introduce a diverse variety of water-wise and drought tolerant native plants, grasses, shrubs and trees. Many birds and creatures alike, consider native plants as essential food, shelter and safe breeding sites. An environment full of natives can also help to attract bees and other pollinators, which will in turn increase plant reproduction and improve the overall health of your garden. 

Through use of colour, structure and height, you’re able to achieve your ideal wildlife garden style. Whether you’re looking to achieve a formal, coastal or low maintenance garden aesthetic, native trees such as the Illawarra Flame Tree or plants such as the iconic Kangaroo Paw, Lilly Pilly, Blueberry Ash or Coastal Rosemary can be introduced and become the perfect wildlife magnets.

Did you know? Natives are a great deterrent of pests and are naturally good at adapting to the conditions of their environment. This can result in a thriving native garden that requires little maintenance. Don’t forget, natives are often fragrant, beautiful in colour and can be used as a unique feature plant in your garden.

House Homely Habitats

lizard hiding behind log in the sun
Photo Credit: ABC Gardening Australia

Large rocks, nest boxes, log hollows and tree branches all provide habitat and a safe-haven for a variety of wildlife such as mammals, lizards, frogs and insects. Try introducing rock clusters in a sunny location – you’ll have a lineup of wild ‘sunbathers’ in no time.

Curb Your Chemical Use

hands in healthy garden soil
Photo Credit: Ozbreed

To maintain a healthy and diverse variety of wildlife and insects in your garden,  it’s best to eliminate your use of chemicals and pesticides. Natural, chemical free alternatives for pest control are your best bet. If the use of fertilisers are necessary, make sure to choose a brand that’s specially made native plants.

Love Your Leaf Litter

native plant garden bed in property landscape
Photo Credit: Shaw Landscape Group

Leave leaf litter in your garden to attract insects, birds and lizards. Allow mulch and leaves to build up in your garden as this will decrease the need for water and provide plenty of food options and safe nesting areas for native birds and small mammals.

BYO Birdbath and Feeder

native bird enjoying water from birdbath
Photo Credit: Mallee Design

Bird baths, ponds and feeders are sought after by a variety of wildlife, especially in built up urban areas or on a hot summer’s day. Why not provide your local birds with a source of clean drinking water and birdseed by introducing a unique birdbath feature to your garden.

Pets May Pose a Problem

We love our pets! But when it comes to attracting wildlife to your garden, domestic pets such as cats, dogs and rabbits can pose a huge problem. Mammals like the Brushtail and Ringtail Possums which are commonly found in the Illawarra are less likely to seek habitat in an area if they feel threatened. Make sure your cat has a bell on it’s collar and it’s kept indoors where possible and avoid leaving dog food outside where it can attract unwanted pests.

No matter the size of your property, there are plenty of ways to create a natural wildlife haven in your own backyard. Feel good and energized knowing you’re not only creating something beautiful, but also helping to restore balance and give back to your local environment.