Backyard Habitat

Whether you have an apartment balcony or a 20-acre farm, you can create a garden that attracts beautiful wildlife and helps restore habitat in commercial and residential areas. By providing food, water, cover and a place for wildlife to raise their young–and by incorporating sustainable gardening practices–you not only help wildlife, but you also qualify to become an official Certified Wildlife Habitat.

Components of Habitat

There are five basic components of habitat needed by all wildlife.


Everyone needs to eat! Planting native forbs, shrubs and trees is the easiest way to provide the foliage, nectar, pollen, berries, seeds and nuts that many species of wildlife require to survive and thrive. You can also incorporate supplemental feeders and food sources.


Wildlife need sources of clean water for many purposes, including drinking, bathing and reproduction. Water sources may include natural features such as ponds, lakes, rivers, springs, oceans and wetlands; or human-made fetures such as bird baths, puddling areas for butterflies, installed ponds or rain gardens.


Wildlife require places to hide in order to feel safe from people, predators and inclement weather. Use things like native vegatation, shrubs, thickets and brush piles or even dead trees.

Places to Raise Young

Wildlife need a sheltered place to raise their offspring.

Let Your Garden Go Green

How you maintain your garden or landscape can have an important effect on the health of soil, air, water and habitat for native wildlife.

Once you have provided these essential elements to make a healthy and sustainable wildlife habitat, join the thousands of wildlife enthusiasts across the country who have earned the distinction of being part of NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitatâ„¢ program. Learn More…