Install Nest Boxes

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Birdhouses simplify house hunting for bluebirds, titmice, chickadees, wrens and other cavity-seeking bird species. Remember, different bird species favor specific box dimensions, entrance hole sizes and box placement. Bluebirds readily occupy 5x5x8-inch boxes affixed to 5-foot-tall posts near pastures. Purple martins, a high-flying, colony-nesting bird, tike apartmentstyle abodes mounted atop tall poles. Open-fronted nesting shelves suit robins. Birds appreciate well-constructed; securely mounted nest boxes. An east-facing entrance shields against both northwest winds and hot southern sun.

Southern Flower BoxesRobin Nest ProtectionCarolina Chickadee Protection


Ponds, pools, puddles, birdbaths, a dripping hose, a lawn sprinkler's spray, even dew-covered foliage: Birds take water where they find It. Supply this essential birdscape element by filling shallow birdbaths 1 to 2 inches deep. Robins, summer tanagers and others like nonslip surfaces, open sites and nearby perches, install a ground-level fiberglass pool or construct a concrete basin to attract bluebirds and Carolina chickadees.


Pile on protection by building a brush pile. Stack stumps, branches and woody clippings in a remote site. Songbirds use them to evade bad weather and predators. Fast-track a protective canopy by growing grape vines (Vitis), sweet autumn clematis (C/emate terniflora') and honeysuckle (,Lonicera) over an arbor. Evergreens supply year-round protection. Roosting birds seek Eastern red cedar's (Juniperus virginiana) dense, prickly branches.


Be a good host by treating birds like VIPs. Indulge woodpecker's, warbler's, oriole's and catbird's craving for high-energy sustenance by offering suet cakes (beef fat rolled in birdseed). During the nesting season, heed the calcium needs of tanagers, catbirds, orioles and goldfinches by offering dried, crumbled eggshell or commercial crushed clamshell. Encourage house sparrows, wrens and other dust-bathing birds to get down and dirty by filling large trays with clean dirt. Sifting silt through feathers helps keep them clean.

ABOVE: Birdbaths provide a source of clean water, an essential birdscape ingredient. For bathing, birds prefer shallow water, two inches deep or less.

ABOVE: Birdbaths provide a source of clean water, an essential birdscape ingredient. For bathing, birds prefer shallow water, two inches deep or less.

LEFT: The Carolina chickadee feasts malniy on insects such as catepillars, wasps and beetles, but it enjoys nuts and berries as well.

Nesting Instinc

Charming houses birds will love

Written by Katie Kretschmer

Rusty Nut Repurposing

Written by Katie Kretschmer

Rusty Nut Repurposing

Bungalow Birdhouse $74. 800-967-7654;

Birch & Pine Birdhouse, $45.

Rosso's Retro Chic Birdhouse, $19, 877-562-1818;

Rusty Rooster Birdhouse, $184. 877-723-5522; &

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Bungalow Birdhouse $74. 800-967-7654;

Birch & Pine Birdhouse, $45.

Rosso's Retro Chic Birdhouse, $19, 877-562-1818;

Rusty Rooster Birdhouse, $184. 877-723-5522; &

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For the Birds

Repurposing is a great way to recycle what you have. This zinc metal adapter screws onto the mouth of a two-liter plastic soda bottle. Hang it on a tree branch, fill it with seeds, and the birds will thank you with their song. $15. 800-944-2233;

Eco Friendly

Products and tips for a healthy garden, life and planet

Written by Lisa Newman

Carbon Free

Push mowers have always been ecologically sound, with no emissions. These human-powered grass cutters have come a long way. This one has a wider cutting reel, an economically designed handle and even throws the clippings forward rather than at your feet, $220, 800-500-4849;

Boxed Right

Written by Lisa Newman

Pile It On

Mulch neatens the appearance of garden beds, helps retain moisture, reduces the need to water and keeps soil cool when the temperature rises. For tips on the best mulch for your garden and the earth, including a list of those brands that are certified as free of invasive plant seeds and chemicals, check out the Mulch and

Soil Council's website (mulchandsoilcouncil. org/ Product Cert/Con surner/ CertifiedM.html).

Boxed Right

Teak has been getting a bad rep lately because it is generally harvested from old-growth trees in countries where deforestation has scarred the earth. Reforest Teak gives back to the local Costa Rican communities where it is harvested by helping to plant new trees on the stripped land. These planter boxes are made of Reforest Teak and will last for 20 years or more. Prices range from $175 to $450 depending on size. 888-833-1412;

Tool Time

When it's time to upgrade or replace your garden toois, consider earth-friendly versions that don't rely on new-wood products or costly prime metals. These tools have sturdy bamboo handles, blades made from recycled steel and grips made of reclaimed plastics. The line includes a bow rake, hoe, cultivator and several long- and short-handled shovels. From $15. 800-393-1846;

Prairie Perfect

The American Meadow Garden: Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn, by John Greenlee and Saxon Holt (Timber Press, 2009), shows you how to transform your lawn into a meadow garden, thereby conserving water and attracting birds and butterflies. Perfect for a greener planet,

Meadow Garden

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Frugal Gardens

The Dirt-Cheap Green Thumb: 400 Thrifty Tips for Saving Money, Time, and Resources as You Garden, by Rhonda Massingham Hart (Storey Publishing, 2009). Saving money is always in style, and frugal gardeners will love the wide range of tips in this tome, including advice on water conservation, composting, seed starting, and preserving fruits and vegetables for sustainable living. 800-722-7202;

Plant Rx

What's Wrong with My Plant? (And How Do / Fix It?) A Visual Guide to Easy Diagnosis and Organic Remedies by David Deardorff & Kathryn Wadsworth (Timber Press, 2009). A user-friendly guide to help you identify and remedy problems with your inside and outside plants, timber press, com.

A Visual Guidet0

Easy Diagnosed

Considerate Containers

Forget plastic pots: They end up in landfills where they'll outlive us all. These biodegradable planters made from rice chaff and bamboo fibers break down and become compost over time. They come in small, medium and large, in four colors: persimmon, cilantro {shown), goldenrod and mocha. From $2 to $10, depending on size. 866-5627848;

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Shutter Box

SO FAUX A salvaged window frame and shutters give a garden shed instant cottage charm. Adding a DIY window box completes the pretty view.

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