A wildlife garden is not simply a rock pile with a few cacti strewn about to attract snakes - it's far more than that.
Xeric gardening for wildlife is designing a garden using xeriscape techniques - the result? A low maintenance landscape with texture, colour and diversity that will attract many little creatures to make their homes there.
A xeric garden plan will help you achieve a wildlife garden with rich tapestries of drought tolerant plants, zones of plants with similar needs and a pleasurable place of relaxation and peace, and enough room for the wildlife to find a mate, breed and predate other creatures; pest control was never easier.
Lizards, snakes and frogs require an area with food, shelter and warm rocks to bask on to raise their temperature so sun and some rock retaining walls will draw them in.
Your xeric garden will be an oasis for meditation, entertaining or as a magnet for butterflies and bees as well as to attract birds to visit.
Leave the ripening stems for overwintering shelter and snow capture for a low maintenance way to garden, with added benefits.
Find out about natural gardening to attract butterflies here
This will help the environment too, as so many insects, birds, reptiles and small mammals have all but disappeared due to habitat loss.
Choose the plants that will feed, shelter and nurture beneficial insects in a nectar corridor, or invite hummingbirds to stay and feed for a while in the early spring. The bonus is that many of these plants are old time favorites, drought tolerant and low maintenance.
If you have an out of the way corner you can leave some fallen branches, leaves and tree prunings to make a sheltered hideout for birds, small mammals and reptiles. A hibernacula will give them added incentive to make their home in your garden.
Supply the materials for nest building for birds to use to encourage them to stay close by. Dog combings, short lengths of soft string, moss, dry grass clippings and shredded newspaper can be placed in tree branches, a mesh bag or other safe containment like a wildlife palace. Make sure you don’t invite trusting songbirds into a place where cats or other predators can easily catch them unawares.
Migratory songbirds will zero in on green spaces, especially those with some taller trees for safe shelter on their long journeys from warmer wintering climates to their northern nesting grounds.
Including some berry laden shrubs, fruit trees and trees that have seeds in your gardening plan helps many traveling birds successfully travel the long distances between their summer and winter homes.
In the spring, running water such as a small fountain or water feature in your ecosystem pond entices them to stay for a short while to rest, or sometimes even to nest.
Making room for all the little creatures to enliven the man made garden adds a whole other dimension to your plans.
The key to making your xeric garden a wildlife haven is bio-diversity – many different forms of shrubs, trees and perennial plants which will be home and larder for a wide variety of life forms, each occupying their own niche in the bigger ecosystem.