Backyard for Wildlife

As an aside to carving here is something else I love to do.

Back in May there was an article in our local paper about trying to get Bethlehem listed as a city for Wildlife Habitats. They needed so many homes, schools and businesses to get listed with the National Wildlife Foundation for providing habitat for wildlife.  I submitted photos of my yard and got it certified as a National Wildlife Habitat. In addition to this there was a contest for the best back yard habitat in the city of Bethlehem. Turns out I won for the “Most Artistic Wildlife Habitat” with an award ceremony on Sept. 17th.

My wife and I were quite surprised. We consider our yard an extension of our living space as long as the weather permits. Countless hours are spent there dining, reading, enjoying a glass of wine or just watching the antics of the birds at the feeders or the calming effect of the fish pond, modest as it may be. For a small yard in the middle of the city it has become as most visitors comment that it’s a “sanctuary” where everyone , human or wildlife, seem to enjoy themselves and relax for a bit.

These photos are fairly recent and therefore the yard isn’t at it’s prime as it would be during the Spring or Summer. Many of the plants and flowers are gone or cut back but you’ll get the idea.

Stepping out my back door leads to the entrance of my Studio. The mural was painted by my wife years ago and the small fountain attracts birds with the sound of water dripping as it’s a working fountain. The post in the near ground supports a Wisteria vine planted only a year ago. This spring when it bloomed the flowers hanging along  and through the pergola roof looks and smells wonderful. The back half of the ‘roof ‘ is covered with ivy. Amazing how this really creates a room effect with a living ceiling.

Instead of heading to the Studio but turning left will lead you to the side yard as this view shows. The cluster of plants on the right is a small Herb garden located close to the back door. I also enjoy Gourmet cooking and I’m constantly using these herbs in a variety of dishes. Basil, Oregano, Chives etc. really wake up and make a dish.



Standing in front of the small fountain on the patio in front of my Studio looking down to the rest of the yard. Steps off to the left lead to the deck or making a right leads you to the gravel path to the rest of the yard.



As you continue to the side yard you can follow the path along the front of my Studio finding a variety of plants and flowers or if you made an immediate left turn you’d find yourself on the covered deck.

The end of the path opens to the main area of the side yard with the deck on the left. Most of these plants I started from cuttings and some were bought in small containers. At one time most of my plants were mere twigs ankle high.

Looking back from the far end of the yard towards the deck and my Studio in the background.

A view of our outdoor living room. The ceiling of the deck is painted sky blue with clouds and also sports dimmer controlled track lights and a ceiling fan as well as built in stereo/speakers.  Along one side of the deck is a grill for cookouts.

Play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata with the lights dimmed on a summer evening while sipping a glass of wine is something I always enjoy. Also cutting into the covered deck area is a small Koi pond as well as a fish shaped fire place. Here too , light up a small fire on a fall evening and I’m a happy guy.

And of course everything you see I grew or designed and built myself.  It’s a labor of love that I don’t think will ever be done as it keeps evolving.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Charles Trella
    Sep 13, 2011 @ 23:02:49

    Having been there a few years ago I can personally attest to the beauty of Mark’s handiwork on his home & garden. Not at all surprised at this additional feather in your cap Mark. Congrats!


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