Naturescaping: Improving Wildlife Habitat One Yard at a Time

Even in the most urban settings, wildlife surrounds us. Some highly adaptable species have learned to survive and even thrive in human dominated landscapes, but they usually represent only a tiny fraction of the diversity of species that existed before the area was developed. When it comes to the health of the natural world, diversity is the key, and naturescaping is a way of increasing the natural diversity on your property and helping wildlife.

Naturescaping involves planting native plants and installing wildlife-friendly landscape features that provide shelter, food and water for a variety of species. Instead of only providing supplemental food like a bird feeder, naturescaping provides animals with needed habitat.

Keep in mind
When naturescaping, you will need to do some work ahead of time to reduce and prevent conflicts with any wildlife you attract to your property. This might include repairing any openings to your basement, attic or under the roof eaves to prevent animals from actually moving into your house. Information on avoiding and/or mitigating conflicts with different animals can be found in our online resource library or refer to these solutions to common problems.

Resources to get started

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)

WDFW created the Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary program to help homeowners learn what they can do to share their yards with wildlife.  WDFW also offers ideas and tips on landscape design for wildlife.

In addition, demonstration facilities have been established around Washington to help homeowners, landowners and developers cultivate landscapes in ways that help wildlife. Call WDFW for the locations of these facilities.

WDFW Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Program
16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek, WA 98012

Seattle Audubon Society

Seattle Audubon has an excellent booklet called Gardening for Life Guide that is full of community resources for creating and maintaining a backyard sanctuary. 

Seattle Audubon Society
8050 35th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98115

National Wildlife Federation

The National Wildlife Federation sells a variety of items about creating backyard sanctuaries and attracting wildlife.

The Humane Society of the United States

The HSUS' Humane Backyard Program encourages homeowners to improve their properties for wildlife.