5 Ways To Make Your Garden More Bee-Friendly

Follow these expert tips for making your backyard a welcome space for bees to pollinate and thrive.

June 17, 2016
bee illustration
Nadezhda Molkentin/shutterstock

Bees are struggling for survival, so I try to do my part to help. First order of business: Provide water and never use chemicals.

This year, I'll also bolster plantings to add early- and late-season bloom periods. Bees rely on nectar and pollen for fuel, so from spring’s first pussy willows to the last-gasp asters in late fall, I’ll offer sustenance. I’m also bumping up the crucial native-plant quotient. (Two places for region-by-region, pollinator-friendly plant lists: The Xerces Society’s website and the book The Bees in Your Backyard.)


Finally, I’m reducing my lawn and creating more shrubby transition between tree canopy and ground-cover level.

Even the vegetable garden can help: When beds are fallow, cover crops like buckwheat build soil and provide for bees, whose pollinating in turn delivers so many delicious crops.

Related: Is Your Yard Killing Bees?

Longtime organic gardener Margaret Roach, whose Hudson Valley garden has been open for 20-plus years for Garden Conservancy Open Days, creates the popular AWayToGarden.com website and podcast.