Nurture nature in your backyard

Learn some tips and tricks to make your place nature-friendly.

Illustration of a house and garden showing backyard biodiversity.

Can you find all the different spots you can nurture nature at your place?

Design your garden for sustainability

Take a step back and think about how your garden can meet both your needs and those of local wildlife. You can provide a home for native birds, lizards, and insects with a native garden that, once established, can be low maintenance.

Think about how you use the space. A small front lawn could be planted with low native plants that let light in and are easy to care for. Mulching helps reduce the number of weeds and the need for watering over summer.

Illustration of native lizard on rock.
Make a lizard-friendly garden

Wildlife-friendly planting

Try some of the following to encourage native species in your backyard:

Add native plants to your garden

  • Plants that are adapted to Wellington’s climate often need less care and attention. They’ll be hardier and more likely to survive than plants from other areas
  • Use eco-sourced native plants when possible. Your local plant nursery should be able to point you in the right direction
  • Read our restoration planting guides.

Native Plant Guide – Greater Wellington Regional Council
Planning and planting a native garden – Department of Conservation (DOC)

Bring the bugs to the yard

  • Many of our native insects have short tongues and prefer small flowers
  • Try planting muehlenbeckia, hebe, or cabbage trees
  • Leave layers of vegetation and leaf litter in your garden

Make a habitat for native birds

  • Use plants that grow to different heights to create layers
  • Add a range of native plants that provide berry and nectar

Attract birds to your garden – Department of Conservation (DOC)

Create a lizard-friendly garden

  • Give them places to hide and plants with berries
  • Geckos love tangled shrubs
  • Skinks prefer rocks piles for basking in the sun and hiding

Attract lizards to your garden – Department of Conservation (DOC)

Illustration of raised vegetable garden.
Grow your own food

A garden that's good for you

Make your garden good for you as well as for nature.

Plant a herb garden or fruit tree

Protect wildlife from threats

Protect native wildlife in your neighbourhood by controlling pest animals and weeds in your backyard.

Join a local trapping group

Rat proof your compost

Try a worm farm instead

  • Worm farms can be less smelly and are usually rat-free

Get rid of weeds

  • Weeds can quickly take over your property and our protected green spaces
  • Some weeds take several rounds of removal –keep up the effort!
  • Plant a native plant instead
  • Weedbusters
Illustration of boy taking photos of garden.
Discover new species

Share your nature discoveries

We're always finding new species living in Wellington. Use iNaturalist to record your observations of special species you find outdoors. If you’re not sure what something is, other users can help identify it for you.

iNaturalist app

You can also join a volunteer monitoring programme:

Garden bird survey – Landcare Research