Create Your Pollinator Garden

One of the keys to pollinator health is an abundance and diversity of plants for foraging and nesting. Follow these guidelines to create a pollinator friendly environment in your yard and become part of the pollinator pathway.
Avoid pesticides
Pesticides are poisons. They get into the soil and water supply, endangering both pollinators and humans. Instead of dangerous pesticides, use compost and mulch to enrich soil and choose plants that thrive in your environment. Not all pests are bad; avoiding pesticides allows the good bugs to thrive and eat the bad ones.

Add native plants to your garden
Native plants grow in harmony with their local environment and create a habitat for native pollinators. Native plants require less water, less fertilizer, can prevent water run-off and improve air quality. Explore our Resources page to find out about native plants and where to buy them.
Plant an herb or container garden
Pollinator gardens do not have to be large acreage; container plants, small herb gardens and backyard patches are all effective parts of a pollinator pathway.
If you are limited for space, a container garden of flowers or herbs is a great way to be part of the pollinator pathway. Bees love the tiny flowers of most herbs and you will love the fresh spices for your kitchen. Some Northwest native herbs include lavender, chives, borage, oregano, thyme, basil, bee balm and rosemary. Learn more about planting a container garden.
Provide a safe nesting habitat
Pollinators need safe places to rest, lay eggs and overwinter. For many insect pollinators this means exposed, undisturbed dirt. Up to 70% of native bees nest in the ground. Let leaves and grass clippings remain on the ground as a mulch. Leave plants with hollow stems (raspberries, blackberries, elderberries, hydrangeas) when they die for the season so their stems can provide nests for cavity-nesting bees.

Rethink your lawn
Lawns are not a viable habitat for pollinators. The pesticides used to keep lawns looking lush get into streams and wetlands. Lawns also require an enormous amount of water. Take steps to convert your lawn into a garden, meadow or rockery. Learn more.

Embrace weeds
Weeds are important pollinators. Embrace clover in your yard and let fireweed grow freely. Why you should love weeds.