Adding native plants and using wildlife-friendly landscaping methods can greatly enhance your backyard habitat. The following resources will provide information on what can be added to backyards to improve them for local wildlife.
Naturescaping is the concept and practice of landscaping in a way that allows people and nature to coexist. Sample naturescaping activities include incorporating native plants into one’s yard, avoiding chemicals on your grass and garden, and putting up bat and bird boxes. To learn more about the concept of Naturescaping, refer to the provincial guide Naturescape British Columbia: Caring for Wildlife Habitat at Home.
Image credit Denise Wymore
In addition to specific species at risk factsheets, Environment Canada’s Develop with Care series also provides general information for homeowners interested in preserving and enhancing the natural values of their property. See Develop With Care: Environmental Guidelines for Urban and Rural Land Development in British Columbia for more information.
Native plants provide habitat, food, and shelter for wildlife. In addition, they require less maintenance and use less water because they are specially adapted to the local climate. The following links offer suggestions on native plants to incorporate into your yard.
Native Plant Gardening from the Langley Environmental Partners Society provides a list of local native plants and information about where they should be planted to ensure optimal growth, such as solar exposure, moisture, and height when mature for each species.
The Habitat Acquisition Trust’s Gardening with Native Plants lists the ecological benefits of various native plants. While created for the Victoria/Southern Vancouver Island region, many of these plants will also be suitable for the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, but be sure to check with your local garden centre.
Evergreen's Tips and Techniques for a Natural Garden has more ideas about gardening to help wildlife including tips on composting.
Metro Vancouver's brochure on Waterwise Gardening offers some ideas for gardening with native and non-native plants to reduce water consumption.
To find out where to buy native plants on the South Coast, the SCCP has developed a list of local native plant nurseries.
Pollinators provide an important natural service; many plants depend on these creatures to transfer pollen between plants, fertilizing them so they can reproduce. Without pollinators, many of our food crops could not grow. Attract pollinators to your yard with the Earthwise Society’s list of Bee-Friendly Plants for Your Garden and Farm and the check out the Xerces Society's website for Invertebrate Conservation for a number of conservation resources. Incorporating native plants which flower at different times of the year will help support local pollinator populations. Always remember to avoid using pesticides which can kill beneficial insects like bees as well.
For information about the pollinators of BC and other bee-friendly plants, see The Pollinators of Southern British Columbia, a webpage put together by Dr. Elizabeth Elle, professor at Simon Fraser University.
Interested in learning what you can do to make your farm more wildlife friendly? The Environmental Farm Plan is a program which helps owners of agricultural land learn how to "green" their farming practises. The program involves a visit from a knowledgable represenative who completes an assessment of your property and provides recommendations of sustainable farming practises. Funding may be available to help with the implementation of these recommendations.