5 Wildlife Attracting Water Features

Water features not only look great, they also help to attract wildlife to your garden.

Birds, amphibians and insects are attracted to water for many reasons including hydration, reproduction, bathing and to cool off on a hot day.

Here are 5 water features that you can install to attract birds, frogs and other wildlife to your backyard.

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Wildlife drinking from water feature


1. Garden Pond

Ponds are popular backyard water features that will attract a whole range of wildlife to your garden.

Ponds without fish are great for bringing frogs into your backyard and if they breed, you’ll be able to watch the tiny tadpoles swimming around in your pond.

When designing your pond, it’s ideal to have a slanted area that frogs can use to access the pond and a shallow area where birds can have a drink and clean themselves.

Ponds are also good for attracting butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. They like to land on rocks in shallow areas of the pond.

Growing some plants around the edge of the pond will give frogs and lizards a place to hide and shelter from the sun and rain.

Lizards and frogs will also appreciate some large rocks to sun themselves on.

Frog in a garden pond

2. Bird Bath

Birds use bird baths not only to drink from but also to remove loose feathers, dirt and parasites.

The best type of bird bath is one that is elevated to protect the birds from cats and dogs, and made from terracotta or concrete so the birds can easily grip on to the edges.

Bird baths that are made from glass, plastic or glazed pottery look attractive but they can be difficult for the birds to balance on.

Birdbath water only needs to be 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) deep and should be replaced regularly to keep it clean and free of mosquitos. You can also give it a scrub every now and then to remove built up algae.

Birds need access to fresh water year round, so if you live in an area with freezing winter temperatures, you could install a heated bird bath, which will ensure that the water doesn’t freeze.

Bird bath

3. Water Features

Gently trickling water features are great for attracting hummingbirds and other small birds to your backyard.

Regular bird baths are often too deep for small birds to access, so these types of water features are perfect.

Another good option for small birds is a bubbling water feature.

Bird near water feature

4. Fountains

A fountain with splashing water will attract lots of birds to your garden.

Birds can hear the water dripping and splashing from a distance and they’ll happily stop into your yard for a drink and a bath.

Moving water stays cleaner than stagnant water, so there’ll be less algae and bacteria build-up in a fountain than a regular bird bath.

It’s a good idea to place the fountain where you can sit and watch the birds from a short distance without scaring them off.

Birds in a water fountain

5. Natural streams

If you have space for a natural stream in your garden you’ll be able to attract a whole range of wildlife to your backyard including butterflies, bees, moths, dragonflies and other insects as well as birds and lizards.

Bees and other small insects need a landing site to stop for a drink, so place a few large rocks along the stream so the insects can easily land.

Bee drinking water

So there are five water features that you can install to attract wildlife to your backyard.

Animals of all types will appreciate having a cool place to rest and rehydrate, especially during the hot summer months.

Do you have any wildlife attracting water features in your backyard? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you on Pinterest?  I have boards dedicated to Ponds and Water Gardens that you may enjoy.

wildlife attracting water feature

Wildlife attracting water features for your backyard

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener with a special interest in ponds and water gardens. For over a decade, I've been designing and creating beautiful gardens that feature stunning water features, from small garden ponds to large water gardens. Read more

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Scott J DeNicola

    We have always had birdbaths in our yard ever since I was a child. We had one in my parents’ home and then when I bought a house we purchased a birdbath and love it. It is right outside our living room window so we can see the birds from in the house and outside. Occasionally the birds also use my swimming pool as a water feature. We’ve had ducks and all sorts of things swimming in there. 🙂

  2. Subhashish Roy

    Garden pond reminds me of my childhood days when we had one in our backyard and it attracted so much of attention from the birds. You took me back to those days. Now we live in a concrete jungle and rarely do we come across these species. When I travel I make it a point to plan activities which gives me an opportunity to see wildlife.

  3. LuLu B - Calabrisella Mia

    This brings back memories of my grandmother’s backyard, it was always full of wildlife – hummingbirds, squirrels, cardinals, blue jays even rabbits! She had a birdbath and we’d spend hours watching the birds and guessing what they were!

  4. Ivana Mearns

    Water can be so calming so it’s always lovely to see ponds, birthbaths, etc. And they do attract some lovely creatures, don’t they?

  5. Lindsay Brown

    I love the look of water features in a garden! Especially fountains – they look so majestic! Plus having them attract various types of wildlife is a great added bonus. I am going to look into some of these ideas for my own backyard!

  6. Aryanne Padilha

    Oh, these beautiful creatures! I love birds so much. I should put a birdbath on our fruit trees, there are always so many cute little ones flying around.

  7. Britt K

    Beautiful suggestions. There is something to be said for the ability to watch wildlife just outside your door. We’ve talked about putting in a bird bath or something in our front yard for that very reason, however, we’re restricted from anything larger like a pond due to space constraints. Our dogs LOVE chasing birds, so the back yard is off limits lol

  8. Despite Pain

    One of my favourite pastimes is watching garden birds. We are surrounded by nature here, so attract birds and other creatures. We don’t have a birdbath, but we do have a river close to the house.

  9. jerry godinho

    Just reading your article is so soothing to the soul and mind. The water, the colors and the birds. Fab job on all counts. Gardens have been around since man has been on earth. They are beautiful and attract all kinds of birds and butterflies. Thanks for this wonderful write up. Jerry godinho

  10. Daphne Takahashi

    I love some natural elements on my garden but i gotta say i don’t like the idea of frogs….lol but having in mind how relaxing the sound of water and birds is i might let some frogs be in my garden. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Thuy

    My parents had a mini koi pond in the backyard. I love the sound of running water mixed with the sounds of nature.

  12. Alexandra

    I love this! I wish I could put up things to attract more wildlife to my yard. I have even wanted to feed the squirrels. However, I have a cat and two dogs and I don’t want to set any animals up to be devoured by my pets. I have many a time chosen to throw away old bread instead of putting it on the lawn to feed the birds for this very reason. Unless we are going to the beach to walk around (not sit). Then I bring it for the gulls and other birds there.

    However, I never would have thought of putting rocks or a stone in there so birds or other creatures have something to perch on so I’m glad to read this. Also about the ceramic bird baths. I never would have thought about that either. Thanks for the info!

  13. Erica (The Prepping Wife)

    When I buy my forever home, a garden space is at the top of my must-have list, and you’ve certainly inspired me to want to add some sort of water feature as well now. I love frogs, so the idea of attracting them to a garden is certainly attractive to me. You’ve given some great advice on different types of water features to look at.

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