Backyard Landscaping Plans for Birds & Butterflies

A backyard seen by vibrant birds and fragile butterflies is not hard to produce, and also a small habitat provides a safe haven and helps to replace natural habitats which are rapidly disappearing. Attracting butterflies and birds to the backyard demands wise plant choices in addition to ample water and safe shelter.

Importance of Native Plants

The addition of indigenous plants is essential for gardeners who hope to make a backyard haven for butterflies and birds as the plants have been adapted to the local region and are naturally appropriate for indigenous wildlife. Once established, native plants require little water and little maintenance. Native plants are a wiser choice than exotic, non-native plants, that often become invasive and harmful to the environment. Because they are perennial, native plants return year after year.


With no supply of water, a backyard is not likely to attract many birds or butterflies. However, a supply of water can be as simple as a shallow pan or dish, or possibly a small puddle near nectar-rich plants. A sunny place is best, as butterflies need a warm spot to spread their wings and prepare to fly. For birds, a simple birdbath is sufficient to provide a spot for bathing and drinking. Ensure the water is replaced often and that the bath is scrubbed regularly.


Birds and butterflies benefit in the protective shelter offered by a nearby shrub or tree. For birds, shelter doubles as a secure place for building nests and raising young. Although butterflies like sunny, open areas, a few native trees and shrubs provide a windbreak that prevents injury brought on by powerful winds. Trees and shrubs which beautify the landscape when attracting both butterflies and birds comprise Oregon grape (Mahonia spp.) , Manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.) , crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) and lilac chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus).

Possible Plants for Birds

Some plants, including lupine (Lupinus spp.) And columbine (Aquilegia formosa), attract hummingbirds and many kinds of butterflies. Likewise honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa) attracts hummingbirds and butterflies with its sweet blooms. Berries such as coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica), elderberry (Sambucus spp.) And huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) are high on the list as they are attractive plants which offer sustenance and shelter for a variety of birds. Various plants ensures blooms all season. Leave dead blooms on the plants in the end of the summer, as the seed heads provide food for birds. Besides indigenous plants, some plant a couple spring bulbs such as tulips and daffodils to entice butterflies in early spring.

Possible Plants for Butterflies

Butterflies are drawn to plants using nectar-rich blooms. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a sun-loving plant with enormous clusters of small flowers in hues of red, purple, yellow, gold and white. Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), often found growing wild in pastures and meadows, provides bright yellow blooms which butterfies adore. Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) does double-duty as it attracts both butterflies and birds with its pink or pink blossoms along with deep green leaves. Similarly, butterflies and birds are brought to bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa), a woodland plant which thrives in moist, semi-shady places. Leave dead plants at the garden during the autumn and winter as butterflies use the protective cover for pupating or hibernating.

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