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Design garden to attract animals or reduce noise
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People are certainly interested in improving the environment and one of the best places to start is in your own backyard.

As homeowners, you can do so much to improve the environment by selecting the right plants for your landscape.

Many plants have adapted to the area and accent the landscape. To find a particular plant to make your backyard an environment for birds butterflies and other wildlife, visit your favorite nursery or garden center. But to attract specific insects or birds or deal with a noise or damp situation, follow these suggestions:

Attract butterflies

Butterfly gardening is one of the most popular goals of landscape enthusiasts. By selecting plants that provide nectar for butterflies and food for the larvae along with sunny areas and pools of shallow water, you can increase the butterfly population.

Various plants used in a butterfly garden include Joe-pye weed, verbena, milkweed, coreopsis, coneflower, buddleia, abelia, summersweet, Queen Anne’s lace and sunflower.

Attract birds

Waking up to chirping birds is a great way to start the day.

To entice birds, the landscape must provide food, nesting areas and water. Trees and shrubs that provide food and/or shelter include Southern magnolia, beautyberry, possumhaw, black gum, pine, oak, holly, dogwood, wax myrtle and pyracantha.

Sound barriers

If noise reduction is your goal in planting a hedge, then evergreens are the plant of choice. Aesthetically pleasing, effective evergreens sound barriers are lusterleaf holly, cedar, American holly, Carolina cherry laural, cleyera, Nellie R. Stevens holly and anise tree.

Beautify wet areas

Most homes have a surface drainage area or a low, wet area difficult to maintain. Too often, it is covered with pine straw or left barren. Many plants will grow in the areas and greatly improve the aesthetics of the yard.

Clethra, red chokeberry, inkberry, sweet shrub, sweetspire, pond cypress, dwarf cattail, wetland ferns, sweetbay magnolia, Florida leucothoe and dwarf fothergilla are suited for wet areas.

If you have any questions about proper plant selection, give the office a call and let’s talk it over.

Michael Wheeler is county extension coordinator for the UGA Cooperative Extension office in Hall County. You can contact him at 770-535-8293, His column appears weekly and on

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