Small Spaces Also Provide Essential Wildlife #HabitatAtHome
No yard? No worries!
Container gardens are a perfect, mobile way to bring wildlife habitat into your home, office or business, whatever your space looks like. Plus, container gardens can go with you if you move! By thinking about gardening a little differently, you can use the space you have to provide food, shelter, and water for some of our local wildlife, while bringing yourself a breath of fresh air and the opportunity to connect with nature in your community.
Container gardens can be placed outside almost anywhere. Balconies, patios, front step, and even window boxes can be used to create habitat. If your space is not on the ground, container gardens create wildlife habitat for birds and pollinators. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Habitat at Home program, helps community members learn about the benefits of wildlife habitat. We have resources to help you create habitat where you live, work, and play, and we offer a free certification program of habitats of all sizes, so you can help spread the word about the importance of wildlife habitat in your area.
One way to design a habitat in a small space is to plan your garden vertically instead of horizontally like you would in a larger space. Consider plants that will grow to different heights, providing habitat for a wide range of wildlife. Small potted trees, mid-sized flowers, and low ground cover plants increase the amount of biodiversity you can support in a small area.
No green thumb? No problem!
Native plants are the perfect place to start, and fall is a great time to get started! Native plants are low maintenance because they are well-adapted to our region’s weather and resistant to local pests.
Fall is an ideal time to get started because fall rain reduces the need for watering and freezing temperatures are still (hopefully) a way off. It’s a great time to plant seeds, as they will germinate over the wet winter months and be ready to sprout and bloom in the spring.
Other things to consider as you plan your container gardens:
- Study the space you want to place plants in to see how much sun it gets on an average day. Six hours a day is considered full sun, less and you should look for partial or full shade species.
- Look for native plants that do well in compact or dry soils, because soil in pots dries more quickly than in the ground.
- Add a water source for pollinating insects and small birds, and amphibians. You can create your own insect bath using a wide, shallow dish filled with water and stones (bees can’t swim!).
Habitat at Home, formerly known as the Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Program, is the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) effort to encourage Washingtonians to connect with nature where they live.
Check out our website for more container gardens tips and DIY wildlife habitat projects. Small-space gardens can become certified wildlife habitat too, so apply for a container garden sign after you create your habitat.
Check out these websites for more information:
- Search for native plants by county: https://www.wnps.org/plant-lists
- Or by zip code: https://www.audubon.org/native-plants
- Container designs for inspiration: https://www.molbaks.com/container-gardens/