How To Design A Hummingbird Garden

How To Design A Hummingbird Garden
Hummingbirds are truly exciting and remarkable little creatures. These tiny birds typically pick openings out into the woodland and forest edge. However, if you create a garden for hummingbirds in your suburban area with a large number of shrubs and tall trees, they can easily be drawn toward it. One of the reasons why hummingbirds often do not frequent towns is because of the absence of a lot of nectar-rich flowering plants. But as migration begins, they tend to fly toward areas containing richly-colored flowers such as rooftop gardens and parks. 

These birds have excellent memories and always stick to their habits. It means once they find a home-made garden, they will keep coming back each year to exactly the same spot and right at the same time. To sum it all up, if you really want to attract these birds to your yard, you need to offer them a lot of nectar-rich food sources, nesting sites, and perches. But before we deep dive into designing a hummingbird garden, let’s first understand the four basic requirements of hummingbirds. 

Learn More: How To Attract Hummingbirds To Your Yard?

Four Basic Needs of Hummingbirds


Whether you want to design a garden for the entire yard or any one section, it is super important to incorporate the following basic needs of hummingbirds:

Food Sources

Hummingbirds prefer sipping nectar from a wide variety of flowering plants. In addition, they consume a large amount of bugs and get essential proteins, which are important for the growth of their hatchlings. Apart from a lot of flowering plants and also hummingbird feeders, the patches of lawn in your garden must also contain insects to make up for the birds’ protein-rich sources.   

Learn More: Are Hummingbirds Really Attracted to Red Color?

Shallow Water Basins

Despite the fact hummingbirds do not need to visit birdbaths like other birds, they still need to wash the plumage in order to remove any sticky residue from their feathers. However, it is appropriate to have some sort of drippers or misters in your garden to provide suitable water for these birds. If there are some plants in your garden with broad leaves, a small amount of water may accumulate over them. These birds will bathe and wash their feathers on such wet foliage. 

Learn More: Do Hummingbirds Bathe?

Protected Locations as Nesting Sites

Unlike most other birds, these little creatures are not cavity-nesters. Instead they pick out safe locations for nesting such as forked tree branches or inside dense or thorny bushes to provide extra protection to their hatchlings. Since they are very protective of their nests, they will probably opt for abundant trees or perhaps some odd places like cables and clotheslines. 


It is essential to build perches in your hummingbird garden so that these desirable creatures may find a resting spot. Plus, it will also allow you to have remarkable views of these birds. In order to have perches, you’ll need to plant several trees to protect these birds from severe weather and predators. For a small garden landscape, you may even think about having ornamental trees. If possible, try to supplement these dwarf trees with some larger ones. 

Learn More: All About Hummingbird Perches

Practical Steps for a Hummingbird Garden Design

Even though hummingbirds are typically drawn to just well-placed feeders in your backyard, there is no better way than to have a carefully designed landscape offering food, water, and shelter for these birds. They are more likely to frequent your garden and offer delightful views for birders too. For that, some of the practical steps for creating a hummingbird garden are outlined below. 

Draw the Sketch

First off, considering the location of your house, make a sketch of the yard including outbuildings like tool sheds. Now add a variety of foliage and flower beds with some supplemental plantings. 

Find a Good Location 

Once you have drawn the landscape sketch of your yard, now it’s time to locate the precise spot where the garden is to be made. For birders that love to enjoy these flashy aviators in action, it’s best to choose a location right next to the patio door or perhaps a window glass. In order to attract more hummers to your yard, it’s always better to plant richly-colored flowers with a lot of nectar. Because the size doesn’t matter, you can even choose to have a trellis or flower box. 

Install Support Structures

While designing a hummingbird garden, it’s always best to install structures for climbing plants such as garden sheds, trellises etc. Try to make as many growing places for a wide variety of flowering plants as possible, and also give a somewhat terraced effect through installing wooden tubs and window boxes. 

Find out Native Plants

Most local hummers readily feed on native species of plants each year, providing a more reliable food source for these birds. You need to explore such native species near your natural surroundings. However, there are some cultivated shrub varieties that do not have a lot of nectar such as rhododendrons and impatiens. Always remember, never plant exotic shrubs like tartarian honeysuckles. The reason being, these flowering plants tend to crowd out native wildflowers by invading adjacent woodlands. 

Select tubular flowers

Red blooms signal hummingbirds that these flowers offer rich sources of nectar. Simply pick out tubular-shape red, orange or even pink flowers to lure them in. Try to avoid planting non-tubular ones like geraniums and roses due to inadequate nectar. Generally speaking, there is not a lot of nectar inside blooms with sweet odors. 

Plant same species

For providing a great deal of nectar, just plant at least three species of the same flowering plants in a small area.

Choose blooms with different growing periods

In order to make your garden a reliable source of nectar for every season, you need to opt for flowers that grow at different times. 

Prune your flowers

Cut down any overgrown woody growth from the flowering plants.

Learn about local hummingbirds

Try to learn more about the local species of hummingbirds hanging around in your area, and also discover their dietary habits. Note down the specific time and dates of the year when these local birds migrate and also about their nesting season. This is particularly useful because it will help you pick out flowers that grow right at the time when these birds migrate. 

Add material for building nests

Add some nest-building materials in your yard that hummingbirds typically prefer such as pussy willow, cinnamon fern, dandelion, thistle and such other fuzzy plants with soft fibers. 

Learn More: A Beginner’s Guide To Hummingbird Nests

Install garden misters for bathing

Hummingbirds do need to bathe frequently in shallow basins and they tend to flit about in the wet foliage. There are some leaves that are wide enough to catch the drips and these droplets are sufficient for such little creatures to fluff themselves up. In order to provide water to hummingbirds, try to install drip fountain devices and misters in your yard. 

Use fake perches

If there are no trees in your garden, simply use a dead branch of a tree with little twigs and place these perches within at least 10 or perhaps 20 feet of the hummingbird garden. 

Plant large trees

Hummingbirds often use trunks of large trees for perches, nesting, and even for lichens. There are few hummingbird species that decorate their nests with lichens. For that reason, it would be great if you plant an oak or maple tree in your garden. However, some smaller trees are also beneficial for providing nesting sites in case you don’t have a big space for large trees. 

Be persistent 

It is quite possible that hummingbirds may drop by your garden right after you have set out luscious flowering plants. However, they may drop off for several weeks or so, perhaps due to a nearby flower. You must always be persistent because once a hummingbird chances upon your garden, more hummers will follow. As a result, they will more likely frequent your yard during the season and will return each year. 

Never use insecticides 

Finally, do not use insecticides because these birds may swallow poisons while they snack on crawling ants. 

Hummingbirds feeders
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