Friday, March 20, 2009

A Landscape in Need

This week I finally got a detailed estimate for all the preliminary landscaping work to begin the now bare backyard's complete transformation to a viable and attractive bird sanctuary. The work I plan to have done includes:

  • Removing all old curbing and widening existing flowerbeds by approximately two feet. This will provide more room for tiered vegetation to attract birds.

  • Adding a centralized "bird bed" feeding station with appropriate curbing to accommodate multiple feeders at different levels. A static bird bath may also be placed here, while a fountain bath is going to be installed on the patio.

  • Removing cinder block wall and replacing it with curbing. The garden area is not in use, but this will add more space for vegetation. I do plan on preserving two sections, however: one for a birdseed garden (sunflowers and millet), and another as a dust bath area.

  • Dropping a section of the vinyl fence once the garden is removed. Otherwise, it will be an open invitation and ready access for predators.

  • Creating a decorative retaining wall along the edge of the driveway to use as a low planter. This will be an area of flowers to attract hummingbirds and to add color and beauty to the landscape.

  • Recycling old bark chips in all flowerbeds and adding new bark on top of landscaping fabric for weed control. This will be a more organic, bird-friendly way to have attractive landscaping instead of relying on herbicides.

There won't be any new plantings this year; for now the focus is on creating a suitable foundation for designing the sanctuary. Fortunately, all this work is well within my budget -- far more so than I'd anticipated -- and I'm eager to get the work done so the birds can acclimate to the new yard. All that remains is to choose the style for the decorative retaining wall, and after that the work can begin.

What one change would you most want to make to your yard to benefit the birds? Vote in the March poll!

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