New York Swing: Design Challenge

Photo © Susy Morris

Design Challenge takes photos of tricky spots in people’s yards and puts them out there for advice from the professionals at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and from our broad audience of participants, some of whom have some serious wildlife gardening credentials (just check out our Featured Sites for proof).

The Details

Location: Painted Post, New York
Eco-Region: Central Appalachian Broadleaf Forest-Coniferous Forest-Meadow Province Guide
Planting Zone: 5b
Learn more about this place by reading it’s Local Resources Page.

Here is a reader’s common-style backyard area they would like improved to include plants that will invite wildlife like songbirds, butterflies, and hummingbirds. They would like it to be deer resistant because of an abundance of deer attracted by a row of Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) trees to the left side of this spot and include some other evergreens for screening from the neighbors during the long winter months. This area gets 8 hours of sun each day. The swing set is movable/negotiable because it’s rarely used.


Photo ©

Cornell Says:
When I see abandoned or rarely used structures in a backyard like this, I see it as an excellent support opportunity for native climbing vine species. After removing the slide, swings, and peaked roof, the remaining wood could act as an arbor for nectar producing Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans), and Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens). As for a native evergreen privacy screen, other than Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis), options are few but would include Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana).

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