With spring quickly approaching, we should consider welcoming wildlife into our gardens. Birds, butterflies and pollinating insects all bring life to the garden and pleasure to the gardener. Hang out the welcome mat by creating habitat that meets the needs of wild creatures.

The best way to attract wildlife is to plant a diversity of species: trees, shrubs and perennials. These different layers in the garden will provide a variety of habitats for the specific needs of various creatures.

Include varieties of flowers that bloom throughout the growing season, from spring to fall, ensuring a long-lasting food source for nectar-loving creatures such as butterflies. Leave seedpods on perennial plants over the winter to provide an important food source for birds. If you have the space, consider planting both deciduous and evergreen trees, which will provide year-round habitat for birds. Choose shrubs that produce berries for birds.

Consider replacing a portion of the lawn with either a flowerbed or a low-growing groundcover. Lawns provide little in the way of wildlife habitat.

Consider adding a water feature to your garden. This is one of the best ways to create wildlife habitat. Water features can be as simple as a bowl of water left on the ground in an open area or, better yet, it can be a bird bath. A pond requires more work (both in planning and in maintenance), but has enormous wildlife benefits.

To attract wildlife, it’s important to garden organically. Synthetic chemicals kill butterflies and beneficial insects. Keep a list of the creatures that visit your garden habitat, and share the news of sightings with others in your neighbourhood. It may inspire them to create wildlife habitat, too.