The pleasure of watching a covey of quail scratching for seeds, a colorful hummingbird moving from flower to flower, or lizards chasing each other along a wall are some of the most personal reasons for attracting wildlife to your yard and neighborhood. Lower maintenance needs and reduced water use are other reasons for developing a landscape that is well-adapted to the desert environment and its creatures.
Landscaping with wildlife in mind helps replace some of the habitat lost when natural areas are replaced by homes and businesses. But it is also important to consider both human and wildlife safety. Create landscapes near the home and patio that can attract harmless animals, such as birds and lizards, while using walls to keep out potentially dangerous animals like javelina and rattlesnakes. Use lighting and plant sparsely near walkways used at night. Avoid drawing animals in or allowing them to lose their fear of people, as this often ends in harm to the wildlife.
The following Web pages provide Arizona homeowners, landscapers and urban planners with basic information about selecting plants and designing landscapes that attract native birds and animals.
The listed plants are native to the Southwest and suited to hot desert climates. They have especially high value for native wildlife. The plants listed should grow where winter low temperatures are generally in the mid-20s or above. Most will survive temperatures down to about
20 degrees, but may suffer
| serious frost damage. All have low to moderate water requirements and are suitable for xeriscapes (landscapes designed to minimize water use). They are available commercially as seeds or plants, especially at nurseries that specialize in desert plants. Botanical gardens and arboretums are good places to purchase species that are still uncommon in the commercial nursery trade.