Backyard biodiversity

Find out how you can encourage biodiversity at your place.

Illustration of a house and garden showing backyard biodiversity.

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Illustration of garden path and native plants.

Design your garden for biodiversity


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 and what views you want to keep. Many properties have small front lawns that are rarely used and could be planted in low native plants that still 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

Native plants provide the best habitat for native wildlife, and they are the best suited to Wellington’s climate. Check out some of the suggestions in our Planting Natives brochure (709KB PDF) or try the regional native plant guide. Visit Otari-Wilton’s Bush, Waitangi Park or a local reserve for inspiration and consider what grows naturally in the wild.

When planting to provide native bird habitat, use plants that grow to different heights to create layers and also ones that provide fruit and nectar throughout the year.

If you want to make a lizard-friendly garden, make sure you give them sun, places to hide, and berries. Geckos love tangled shrubs, while skinks prefer rocks piles that allow them to bask in the sun and hide in cracks.

Insects are important for pollination but many of our native insects have short tongues so they prefer small flowers like those on muehlenbeckia, hebe, and cabbage trees.

Did you know that if you want to plant on road reserve you can get free plants?

Illustration of cat looking out house window.

Keep your cat inside


Responsible pet ownership

NZ Vets agree that keeping your cat indoors is the biggest thing you can do to protect local wildlife. It is also safer and healthier for you and your cat. Microchipping your cat and neutering is also recommended.

Keep your dog on a lead in our reserves unless you’re at one of our off-leash exercise areas.

Rat running up a drainpipe.

Control pest animals like rats


Managing pests and weeds

Improve the situation for local wildlife by controlling pest animals. If you want to contribute to Predator-Free Wellington by controlling introduced predators, get a trap and join your local trapping group. Remember that rats love compost – they think of them as open buffets! Worm farms can be less smelly, and are usually rat-free.

It’s also important to get rid of weeds (788KB PDF) that can quickly take over your property and the local reserve – there are lots of options to plant instead.

Illustration of raised vegetable garden.

Make your garden human-friendly


Human-friendly gardens

There are lots of things you can do to make your garden good for you as well as native wildlife. Plant a herb garden or fruit trees – apple, plum, and feijoa do well in Wellington. Citrus trees grow well in sheltered spots with morning sun. Find out when it’s the right time to plant, and remember to make room for sunny spots and shade for seasonal enjoyment!

Illustration of boy taking photos of garden.

Identify "that thing"


Share your nature knowledge and identify “that thing”

You can contribute to the growing amount of information about what’s living in Wellington. Use iNaturalist to record your observations of living things. If you’re not sure what something is, other users can identify it for you.

You can also join a volunteer monitoring project like the annual garden bird survey or get involved with Kereru Discovery projects.