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One of the most exciting things I love about the outdoors is observing wildlife in nature and in the garden. Animal behavior has always been fascinating to me and as a landscape architect, I have studied ways to imitate nature and attract wildlife into the gardens of our clients.

In my garden, not only do I love seeing the year-round natural beauty of each plant, but also love observing the behavior patterns of insects, birds, amphibians and mammals as they interact with the natural elements designed into my landscape. Witnessing all of this activity assures me that my garden is a dynamic, healthy and thriving ecosystem. Healthy gardens make me feel welcome, safe and enliven my senses. I can relax knowing there are no toxic pesticides and herbicides causing known or unknown consequences.

Seeing hummingbirds, quail and songbirds fly around, tasting the flowers (Mimulus aurantiacus Sticky Monkeyflower, Penstemon heterophyllus Foothill Penstemon, Salvia spathacea Hummingbird Sage), plants (Achillea millefolium Yarrow, Eschscholzia californica California Poppy), berries (Arbutus marina Strawberry Tree, Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicle’ Flowering Currant) and seeds (Carex tumulicola Foothill Sedge, Juncus patens Spreading Rush), and creating nests in my garden is a joyful experience.

Natural fountain boulder rocks and the dry streambed lined with natural rock and boulders also allows for critters to sip water and houses lizards and insects in the nooks and crannies.

All of this activity was designed in my front yard, which will also be featured in the upcoming Bringing Back The Natives virtual tour (see below). In my backyard, a natural creek meanders and invites wildlife entertainment daily: watching squirrels play and run up trees,  and deer families wander, taste plants (yes, it can be painful at times, but am willing to share) and grow from fawns to teens to mature bucks. At night hearing coyotes howl and actually seeing them at dusk and dawn reminds me that all of us are part of nature. Coyotes, although seemingly frightening, play an important role in keeping the rodent population in check, as do the amazing owls that hoot and hunt at night. Year round, big or small, there are many ways to attract nature and bring life into your own garden.

Have you seen wildlife in your garden? We’d love to hear about it.

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Kalich - Boulder fountain, Japanese maple tree, native planting, stamped concrete

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