Creating a Bush Friendly Backyard
Why a Bush Friendly Backyard!
Low impact on the environment – less water, fertiliser, pesticide, construction.
Provides a refuge for local wildlife for nesting, resting and feeding.
It can be low maintenance, freeing you up for other pursuits!
It is your contribution to protecting our biodiversity.
Sketch out what already exists in your garden using grid paper.
Identify aspect N/S, sun, shade, topography, soil type, rainfall, drainage, runoff, structures, vegetation, views, sight lines, neighbours-buildings/trees.
Establish what wildlife is using your garden, including resident, migratory, native and introduced species and their movements throughout the year.
2. What do you want? Assess your needs
What you want and what you need can often be two different things!
Who uses the garden and who’ll be maintaining it!
Family use, extra living space, social, privacy.
High or low maintenance garden?
Type of garden – ornamental, structured, wild.
Attracting wildlife into your garden, providing a habitat link with bushland.
3. How to get it! Planning & Design
Constraints – budget, space, time – if removing all vegetation at once some animals may die during removal or may not return – consider staged works making your plan flexible.
Access – pathways, tracks, driveways – straight or meandering.
Materials – consider infiltration, sourcing, availability; retain all natural features that exist in your garden.
Plants for your site – introduced, native and local species.
Plan to renovate your garden while maintaining habitat for existing wildlife.
Designing for wildlife – nesting, resting and feeding sites. Try to provide year round flowering & fruiting, safe havens of dense vegetation, dips, hollows, rocks & logs.
Tips for getting started
Every action has a reaction!
- More than likely that overgrown unsightly corner in your backyard is home to a variety of local minibeasts. Observe your garden for at least a year before undertaking work.
- Outsmart weeds – get to know your weeds, flowering and seeding times, fibrous or tap root, woody or herbaceous habit – then you can use the most effective method to control them.
- Attracting wildlife – provide a range of habitats that attract a variety of wildlife, incorporate upperstorey, midstorey and groundcover vegetation layers into your garden. Plant clumps of dense shrubs and if you have room – plant trees to create aerial corridors.
- Plant non-nectar, insect pollinated plants such as wattles, native peas and tea-trees to encourage smaller, insect eating birds.
- Retain where possible all natural features – branches, twigs, mulch and rocks.
- Compost all your weeds & trimmings under black plastic.
- Find out about your local wildlife and the natural habitat of these species.
- Plant or install alternative habitat. Wait for plantings to flower and fruit then gradually remove (over the years) the habitat unwanted by you. Observe how the tenants are responding.
- Where territorial birds such as Currawongs & Noisy Miners are a problem, restrict the number of fruit bearing plants (berries such as Blueberry Ash) and heavy nectar bearers (hybrid Grevilleas).
- Provide clean, constant water to increase bird species to your garden.
- Nest boxes may attract possums and hollow nesting birds. Placing them up high and away from your home will limit nocturnal disturbances.
- Try to be patient and remind yourself of the important role you are playing in maintaining Australia’s biodiversity.
- And remember it may look like a mess but in essence it’s valuable wildlife habitat!
(Adapted from “Creating a Bush Friendly Backyard” Willoughby City Council)