Urban habitat creation guide

Urban habitat creation guide

Download your free urban habitat creation guide for more ideas on how to create a habitat garden on your balcony or courtyard.

Download (PDF 8.5MB)

Creating habitat: why is it important?

Many local animals and native plants need help to survive in our city.

Some animals have adapted to urbanisation, but many have disappeared or are now only found in small numbers. Frogs, small birds, lizards, owls, microbats and other small mammals such as the bandicoot are struggling in our city. Read more about these priority species in the City’s Urban Ecology Strategic Action Plan.

What you can do

All of us can help.

A simple way is to create ‘habitat gardens’ – in our backyards, on our balconies, in common areas, or community spaces like local schools.

Native gardens provide a safe and welcoming environment for native animals. More of these green spaces also helps make our city healthier and more liveable. Being close to nature lowers stress, boosts immunity, increases creativity, and helps us think and feel good.

We’ve written a guide to encourage everyone in our community – residents to businesses, community groups to developers – to participate in greening our city.

Download the Urban Habitat Creation Guide.

Here are some of our top tips:

  • Plant dense, local indigenous shrubs and grasses
  • Avoid planting large flowering varieties (such as hybrid grevilleas) as these encourage larger, aggressive birds
  • Don’t be scared of water! Birds love baths and frogs love ponds
  • Lizards go crazy for rockeries and rock retaining walls
  • Avoid using herbicides and pesticides
  • Don’t feed birds, possums or other animals
  • Attract insects to your garden – plant a section of your garden with local native shrubs and grasses and add a wood pile
  • If you live in an apartment, you can also look at creating suitable habitat, such as potted flowering plants, installing a native beehive, building a green wall or looking at possible opportunities for common areas with strata, such as a green roof or even your verge.

Planting natives

  • Ensure the hole is deeper than the tube or pot your plant comes in
  • If you have very dry soil, dig a hole and place half a handful of pre-soaked water crystals into it or use a good soil conditioner
  • Release the plant from the tube or pot by holding the plant upside down. Tap the tube or pot upwards while holding the roots in place in case they haven’t developed properly
  • If your seedling is a bit root-bound or has roots spiralling around the rootball, gently tease them out before planting
  • Place the plant in the hole and backfill it, pressing soil firmly around roots to avoid air pockets from forming
  • Make sure the plant sits just below the soil level – not too far below – so that water is directed to the plant, like a small well
  • Spread mulch around the plant and water immediately (approximately one litre per plant), and then once per week for six weeks
  • Ideally, plant in autumn or spring and avoid planting in summer
  • You can use slow-release native fertiliser, but only in warmer months. Do not use fertilisers that are high in phosphates, such as Blood ‘n’ Bone.

Lend a hand

Local bushcare groups

Community groups work hard to make our villages a great home not just for us, but for our plants and animals too. These local groups are helping to restore local bushland through planting local plants, weeding and other work. This encourages birds, lizards, pollinators like bees, insects and bats, and other native animals into our communities.

Community planting days

The largest planting event occurs each year in July as part of National Tree Day. Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic across Australian communities and the ongoing uncertainty around potential restrictions on gatherings, Planet Ark has cancelled National Tree Day planting events this year. Check National Tree Day’s website for future dates and more information.

Although we are unable to celebrate National Tree Day this year we’ll be looking to hold a series of smaller community planting days later in the year.

Plant a tree

We organise special planting sites each year as part of National Tree Day. Why not come along on the day and plant local indigenous trees, shrubs and grasses in our great, green parks. Check their website for more dates and information.

Learn more

Birds in Backyards

Find out more about Australian birds and their habitats, and learn how to create bird-friendly spaces in your garden and local community.

Backyard Buddies

For everyone who enjoys their backyard animals and wants to learn how to attract them and how to live with them.

Frog and Tadpole study group

Fun, fascinating information about frogs and tadpoles.

Australian Association of Bush Regenerators

This association encourages best practice in bushland management and bush regeneration.

Habitat Stepping Stones

Encourages people pledge to create more native habitat in their gardens with plentiful resources and ideas.

Last updated: Friday, 24 July 2020