Backyard Conservation

Creating Your Own Backyard Habitat

One way to conserve water while adding beauty and interest to your landscape is to create a wildlife habitat in your yard. Backyard conservation incorporates bird and wildlife habitats and food sources, erosion control and water conservation.

The US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service has all the details you need to create your own backyard habitat.


Bayscapes are environmentally sound landscapes benefiting people and wildlife in the Chesapeake Bay. Developed by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the York Watershed Council, bayscapes are low-input landscapes, requiring less mowing, less fertilizing and less pesticide use while providing diverse habitats for songbirds, small mammals, butterflies and other creatures.

We live in a temperate region, with hundreds of native, hardy and drought tolerant trees, flowers, annuals, perennials, shrubs and vines that will look great in your landscape. Local nurseries carry many of these plants, and can help you select the right ones for your landscape.

Bayscaping fundamentals:

  • Plan and design for water conservation and beauty from the start
  • Create practical turf areas of manageable sizes, shapes and appropriate grasses
  • Select low-water requirement plants and group plants of similar water needs together
  • Use appropriate soil amendments like compost or manure as needed by the site and the type of plants used
  • Use mulches to reduce evaporation and to keep the soil cool
  • Irrigate efficiently with properly designed systems and by applying the right amount of water at the right time
  • Maintain the landscape by mowing, weeding, pruning and fertilizing properly