Guest Author - Sheri Ann Richerson
Creating a water garden for wildlife can be relatively simple. Anything from a wall fountain where birds, butterflies and other critters can get a drink to a small stream in your flower beds will work. Digging a small pond is not nearly as complicated as a larger one. For one you do not need the depth required for a pond if you are merely creating a stream where rocks and bubbling water will be. An area that is three inches deep would hold enough water for wild critters.
Even though this water area would not be deep, a fountain or pump to move the water is a good idea so it does not become stagnant or attract mosquitoes. A great place to locate a water way of this type would be between larger plants, especially ones with thorns such as roses. This gives the birds and other smaller critters a safety net should the neighborhood cat decide to catch its dinner that night. Most children will avoid thorny bushes as well so there is less chance they will play in the water this way.
Adding rocks or pebbles to the area offers butterflies a place to sit and drink. It also allows the other critters to drink from different areas of the pond and even bathe if some of the stones are just barely below water level.
Miniature water plants or bog plants could be planted in this area as well which would give your flower beds an unusual variety of plants not normally seen. The sound of water bubbling over and around stone is quite soothing which is just one more reason why adding a small stream to your flower beds is a great idea.
If the addition of a stream or other water feature in the ground is not for you, give a fountain a try. Many of these are free standing or can be hung on a wall or fence. Birds will come to these to drink and if squirrels can reach them you are likely to see them there too. Butterflies may not be as attracted to these unless there is a stone or other similar spot they can sit on.
Regardless of the type of water feature you choose be sure to keep an eye on it to make sure the water level does not go down which could happen for a number of reasons. With all the advances in solar technology today even if you put a water feature in a remote area of your yard there will be a way to keep the water moving so it does not stagnate and become a problem area.