Small House Under a Big Sky Backyard Feeding Bed

My husband Gene and I are avid bird lovers. We manage a bluebird trail, encourage all species to feed and nest on our 5-acres property and feed and water our songbird’s year around.
The fallen sunflower seeds have turned our sandy soil into a wonderfully amended soil for flowers but all those oiled sunflower seeds hulls also made a real mess in our garden.
So I had a plan… to create a large bird feeding bed that provides the birds with places to land and plant tall plants to hide those seeds until they break down. We made that bed at the back of our home, outside of our three season porch, kitchen window and dining room so we could enjoy the birds throughout our day.
First I dig up the lawn, planted two large Viburnums shrubs on each end and a flowering crab apple in the middle. I planned these large shrubs as a place for the birds to land and perch on. I lined the bed with large stones I gathered from farmer’s fields or along the roadside and hauled home. I filled the bed with bark chips and added transplanted perennials as I went along.
We added a flat feeding tray, two squirrel proof feeders, three suet feeders and a bird bath. To adapt to the problem of feet of sunflower hulls I planted tall ornamental grasses around the feeding trays.Once they mature, these perennials hide the masses of hulls and make the garden bed look a bit tidier.
Our bird feeding bed looking toward the back of our Ranch-style home.
Looking out of our three-seasons porch down the sidewalk and ending in the bird feeding garden bed.
The early years of the bed before it was fully planted and full of bark chips.
The bird bed is lush and full in the prime of the summer months.
Another view of the bird feeding bed in full bloom.
After the flowering cherry tree in the bird bed died we planted a flowering dogwood. This is for the birds to land on and wait to feed.
The bird bed is outlined in large field stones.
Very early year long-view of the bed in the early spring before the White Oak canopy fills out.

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2 of 31 comments
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Mar 05, 2014
    Sharon B, I use to be "anal" and pull out the sunflowers that were coming up too because they were not in my plan. Then I thought to myself, this is crazy let them come up and let birds eat them. So I now leave any that sprout naturally and enjoy them. They never get as big or lush as those I plant but the birds don't seem to care!! I eventually pull them out in the fall and toss them into the compost bin.
  • D fuhrman D fuhrman on Nov 19, 2015
    your yard is beautiful! my yard is the size of a postage stamp but i still feed my birds.