There's a reason bird watching is a popular hobby – it's relaxing yet interesting. Bird watching is even better when you do it from the comfort of your own backyard. Plan a mini garden designed to attract birds, and enjoy watching them all year long.
Start with Shrubs
Fruit-bearing shrubs are very alluring to birds, according to Better Homes and Gardens. Choose varieties with winter-persistent fruits to attract birds year-round:
- Serviceberry: As short as four feet tall, serviceberries are a favorite of robins and thrushes.
- Chokeberry: This shrub grows up to 10 feet tall and features scarlet chokeberries attractive to brown thrashers and cedar waxwings.
- Nannyberry: This hardy shrub produces red and purple berries in fall and winter well — perfect for cold-weather birds such as robins.
- Winterberry: Another hardy bush that provides fruit in the winter, winterberries are appealing to robins and mockingbirds.
Select a spot in directly sightline of your deck or window for a berry bush. This will become the focal point of your mini garden.
Once you've chosen a berry-producing shrub for your mini garden, add a selection of bird-friendly grasses. Some grasses provide further sustenance for the birds, but mostly they offer material for nesting. Birds are especially fond of switchgrass, tufted hairgrass, Indiangrass, little bluestem, Canadian wild rye and blue fescue. Plant three or four of these around the berry bush.
Let your choice of shrub drive your grass selection by choosing complementary shapes and colors. For instance, nannyberry shrubs are squat affairs that produce light blossoms and gently deepening berries. Little bluestem grass provides a pointy counterpart in similarly soft shades. Conversely, chokeberries are starkly red and crimson. Consider countering that with the fluffiness of Canadian rye grass.
Include a Birdbath
Birds, just like any animal, need a fresh supply of water for drinking. They also like to bathe in water – hence the name birdbath. Look for a birdbath with a shallow pool and a gentle slope easy for perching birds. Set up the bath in your mini garden relatively low to the ground in the shade of the berry bush. If possible, set the bath up to run or drip water, which mimics a spring in nature.
Finish with Landscaping Rocks
Though the birds don't care about this, make a distinction in your garden with landscaping rocks from a company like Builders Sand & Gravel Inc. In addition to the bush and grasses, you'll probably plant some groundcover in your mini-garden. Give shape to your garden by lining it with landscaping rocks. Look for rocks that complement the rest of your backyard décor as well as the façade of your home. Creating a line between the rest of your garden and the bird mini-garden affords you a focal point for your bird-watching.
If you like bird watching, create a mini garden that attracts the creatures. Plant shrubs and grasses they like best, and include a birdbath. Add cohesion to your design by lining a mini-garden with landscaping stones. Your bird-lover's garden thus becomes attractive to guests as well.