Having a Messy Yard Can Be a Good Thing

Something recently started chewing on a wicker basket I kept outside next to the backdoor step. A few days later I observed a wren tugging and pulling at the straw and then dashing off with what it could carry in its beak.  My husband pointed to the basket and asked if it needed to be tossed in the trash.  He thought it “messy”.


Interesting word and I remembered reading an article about a woman who was arrested for having a messy yard.

Wait. What?

I recalled the article and wondered if having a certified wildlife habitat was grounds for messy. What would the judge rule in that case?

I’d have to explain how messy is exactly what attracts birds, or other wildlife, to one’s yard. Birds are always on the lookout for a great source of cover and protection during bad weather, in addition to nesting places, and they are not particularly attracted to a well-manicured lawn.

If you’re looking to attract more birds to your backyard, let it get messy:

  • Leave snags for nesting places
  • Stack down tree limbs to create brush piles
  • Leave dead, dying, and hollow trees, and use old logs and stumps in your landscaping
  • Avoid straight lines and perfect symmetry in your garden or habitat design
  • Provide curves and clumps of vegetation to encourage birds to come out into the open for viewing

We let our holly berry bush ramble over the bed to provide covering for the birds that nest there. We allow our ground covering to spill over onto the sidewalk to provide additional protection.  We even leave out chewed up wicker baskets for the birds to use for building their nests.

Yep. I’m good with messy.