Homes | In the yard

Simple ideas can make your home a magnet for nature

No matter where you live, there is always an opportunity to make your home more nature-friendly by inviting plant life, songbirds and woodland creatures to your yard or garden. Creative additions can transform simple grass and flowers into a natural haven. Embellishments may include birdbaths, bird feeders and even cautionary decals to prevent songbirds from flying into windows. In no time, both your neighbors and wildlife will be stopping by for a visit. StatePoint Media Wires

Match plants to your home

Before you begin, make sure to speak with experts at your local garden center, extension service or search the Internet for advice on how to use plants to attract colorful birds and butterflies to your home. A variety of factors such as shading, erosion, and division of plant species should be considered when creating a vibrant haven. Just remember that putting the wrong plants close to your home can harm its foundation over time.

Welcome your neighbors

In what may feel like a welcome change of attitude, there is now an entire wildlife industry built around inviting creatures to your outdoor space. Ready-made homes are available for butterflies, ladybugs, songbirds, and squirrels. Homes for bats and honeybees can be installed. Wild bird seed or even live mealworms will attract songbirds.

Don't forget to include a few accessories for you and family members. Rain gauges, weather stations, and solar stick lights are entertaining. Wind chimes make a nap on the porch appealing.

Be creative but cautious

If you're going to make additions to your yard, you'll need to understand how songbirds and wildlife coexist with each other and your home. One issue often ignored is the 98 million birds killed annually from colliding with windows, according to Western EcoSystems Technology.

With wild songbirds particularly prone to these accidents during their migration, some subtle and inexpensive window decals, such as those from WindowAlert (www.window alert.com), can prevent them from striking windows. These decals have a special coating that reflects ultraviolet sunlight. This light is invisible to humans, but birds see it as a brilliant glow.

"Humans don't notice our decals, but birds see a stoplight preventing them from hitting glass," says company founder Spencer Schock. "For you and I, the decals have a subtle, frosted appearance."

Simple ideas can make your home a magnet for nature 03/21/10 [Last modified: Saturday, March 20, 2010 12:37am]

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