Backyard Habitat

Our Front Yard

Three years ago when we moved into our new house it had nothing but a flat sand and gravel yard all the way around it. There were some plants on the 1-1/2 acres, but nothing at all near the house. That had to change! We spent some time  with a tractor building berms to help direct traffic and storm water. Then we spent some money putting in a fairly good drip irrigation system and we also bought a number small shrubs and a few trees. I then started collecting seed and growing plants in put in our yard. When I was out in the desert and saw a nice plant (tree, bush, whatever…) I would make note and collect its seeds whenever possible. We now have hundreds of plants growing in the yard – most native to this area or at least native to Arizona or the southwest. Many of my customers have given me cuttings from their cactus, or the entire cactus when it was unwanted. This has added an interesting aspect to our landscaping!

While working for a well driller I found out he had a surplus windmill, so we bought it and set it up. One day we hope it will have a pond and fountain associated with it. Right now all it does is spin in the wind! We do have a decorative pond in the back yard with a fountain and goldfish/lily pads, but the wildlife prefers to drink from a “dripper” (similar to this)we have set up on a berm outside the kitchen window.

At some of our other houses we have had our property designated as a “Certified Wildlife Habitat” by the National Wildlife Federation and we wanted to do that here. They can guide you through the process of providing the three keys to wild creatures needs – food, water, and cover at this website. Once you have all the components in place, it is a simple process to get certified!

Our yard has a lot of growing to do. Some of it is certainly “overplanted” and looks full now but will probably be crowded later. We’ll deal with that when it comes… Right now I am growing a lot more native plants in the greenhouse and I need to figure out a place for some of them! If you are interested in any particular native plant and can’t find it give me a call. I may have it, or be able to find seeds and grow it. If it has any interesting qualities (and what plant doesn’t!) I will probably want to have some growing on our property!

We enjoy seeing all the wildlife close to the house. We have only seen 81 species of birds in or from the yard, but give us a few more years – when the habitat grows up we will surely get more! We have seen some interesting mammals including Javelina, Mule Deer and Bobcat. I hear that there is a Mountain Lion up the river 3-4 miles and that is not a long way for one of the big cats to roam!