Who’s ready to get their green thumb on for spring? My family and I made a cute Butterfly Garden in our backyard and we had so much fun picking out plants and making it the perfect little space. Today I wanted to walk you through how to build a butterfly garden and the best kinds of plants for a butterfly garden, as well as all the tools that you’ll need to make the perfect butterfly garden space for your family! Get excited – with this butterfly house in your backyard you’ll be seeing all kinds of butterfly species enjoying the full sun.
How to Build a Butterfly Garden
Yesterday you saw how I started prepping for my Butterfly Island backyard project with our shopping trip to Home Depot–you can see there about our shopping trip and what we purchased. We were there for a while, but had a ton of fun picking out our materials. Today I’m going to show you how we made our island and the before and after shots! It doesn’t matter what kind of butterflies you want to attract – whether that be local butterflies, swallowtail butterflies, black swallowtails, or even monarch butterflies!
Here’s a reminder of the before:
And here’s the After:
Quite a difference, huh?! This project was so much fun and my son and husband both helped me complete it. Andrew loved playing in the dirt and finding the worms while his daddy and I worked!
So here’s what we did to get our Butterfly Garden in tip top shape…
We started with a blank slate by pulling out our dead bush, removing the types of plants that were overgrown, and just getting down to the bare earth. My hubby did a lot of the digging and using the rake to even the ground out–and I took photos LOL.
From there we started laying our layers of bricks. We used some sand to help set them in place and we stacked them up three tall. Our son helped us stack the bricks and we gave them a day or two to settle into place. We also wanted to make sure we were letting the current ecosystem thrive – we didn’t want to destroy any wildflowers, food plants, or even flowering plants in the process.
After we finished our bricks we added several layers of fresh Miracle Gro garden soil to our garden to raise the bed up to the height of the bricks and to provide our flowers with nice fresh soil. You’ll see in the photo that we had enough bricks to start a third row and we thought that looked better, so we got more bricks to continue one more row up to add more height.
Our son LOVED getting his little hands dirty and helping us get everything put together. This project was also a great way to teach him about butterfly habitats – such as how they lay eggs, food sources, larvae, and the full life cycle of butterflies!
Best Plants for a Butterfly Garden
From there we started laying out where we wanted our flowers to go. Butterflies tend to prefer these long spindly types of flowers we noticed, so we went with the Home Depot’s recommended flowers and picked a few varieties of butterfly friendly flowers/bushes and tried to get a variety of colors. I’d recommend Phlox, Purple Coneflowers, or Lantanas to attract butterflies. Pot Marigolds and Black-Eyed Susans are also great garden plants to act as a nectar source.
PREFERRED PLANTS FOR CATERPILLARS
Note: Planting trees and taller bushes will help give your garden the sustainability it needs to feed your caterpillars and preserve the flowers for your butterflies.
ANNUALS / PERENNIALS
PREFERRED PLANTS FOR BUTTERFLIES
Butterflies visit not only these nectar plants but many others. When planting your garden, incorporate many different colors to draw these beautiful creatures.
Buddleia Butterfly Bush
We used an azalea bush in the back corner, along with verbena and lantana–because Ohio had many late frosts this year, we did have a harder time finding some of these flowers locally, so we tried to get a good variety of colors of the ones we did find.
We laid them all out evenly in our flower bed and tried to give some space between them all to grow–we’re hoping as they get bigger they fill the area in a a bit more…it’s a big space for a flower garden, so we didn’t want to overwhelm it too much with too many flowers.
Once we got done planting we mulched over everything with a thick layer of black mulch…it really made the flowers pop more.
And here’s the finished product…I love how the bricks added height and depth to the garden!
I found some gorgeous adult butterfly stakes, so I bought three of them and scattered them throughout our garden. Maybe it needs a bird bath or something now…I have some more decorating ideas in my mind for this little space, but I want them to come naturally, so when I see something I’ll know it’s meant to be there.
My Favorite Butterfly Garden Decor:
Now our garden is an integral piece of our backyard that really stands for itself. We are so in love with the final result we want to work on our other back corner garden bed! Just remember to plan out everything before you start your garden. You want to stay away from pesticides and host plants that act as pollinators to attract more butterflies! You may even see more hummingbirds start to come around – we sure did when we incorporated more native plants!
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