Bird & Butterfly Gardening

Your yard can provide food and shelter for a variety of butterflies and birds while providing you with a year-round source of beauty and color.
California Native Gardens
Bird & Butterfly Gardening
Pollinator Gardening
Mediterranean Gardens
Meadow Gardens
Woodland Gardens
Sculptural Succulent Gardens
Container Gardens

Why Consider Gardening for Birds and Butterflies in Your Landscape?

Bird and butterfly populations are shrinking. We can help sustain them by providing food, water, and shelter in our waterwise gardens. This also makes our gardens more beautiful, enjoyable, and purposeful.


Food for Birds

Seeds are an essential part of birds’ diets. Letting flowers fade on their stalks to fully develop their seeds will attract a variety of birds to your garden. Another critical food source are beneficial insects. Ninety-six percent of land-dwelling birds feed insects to their young. No insects, no baby birds! Caterpillars are the most important food source for many species of baby birds, so by providing for the needs of caterpillars, you will also be providing for the needs of baby birds.

Please don’t use insecticides in your garden. Many native plants attract a variety of beneficial insects that will help provide a healthy, balanced ecosystem in your garden, but they will not be pests to you.


Food for Butterflies

Provide the right leaves. The caterpillars (larvae) of most butterfly species eat only specific plants’ leaves. Fortunately, many California native plants are excellent “larval hosts” and support a range of native butterflies. 

Adult butterflies need the sugars in flower nectar. Many species of California native plants are big nectar producers.

Songbird Gardening Highlights

A clean, reliable source of water is critical for birds of all sizes and often hard to find in urban and suburban neighborhoods. Whether it’s a simple ceramic saucer or a more complex recirculating water feature, adding water will quickly attract colorful visitors and help them survive our hot summers.
The best bird seed doesn’t come from a store; it comes from native plants. Instead of “deadheading” faded blooms, leave them to develop their seeds. By doing so, you’ll be feeding the birds, and you’ll be rewarded with their presence. A few favorite seeds and berries include sages, hollyleaf cherry, California coffeeberry, and annual clarkia wildflowers.
Even though some adult birds eat seeds, many bird species—and almost all baby birds—rely on insects as their primary food source. Growing beneficial “larval host” native plants not only ensures the presence of butterflies but also allows birds to feed their young.
Feeders must be regularly and thoroughly cleaned to prevent them from harboring diseases that can spread among birds. If you do provide hummingbird feeders, be sure to change out the sugar water regularly so it doesn’t get moldy, avoid the more expensive red-dyed products, and choose a feeder that’s easy to disassemble and clean because you will need to do so frequently, especially in warm weather. On the other hand, planting a native garden can provide all the nectar, seeds, and insects birds need to thrive.

Waterwise Garden Planner

Design Your Own Bird & Butterfly Garden

Be In The Know

Sign Up For Our Monthly Newsletter

We will never share your information with another party or use it to send spam.