Garden Design Tips For The Birds

With summer in full swing and your summer garden design coming along nicely. Let’s think about the birds that are attracted to your garden!

Birds are on a mission to fatten up before the cold of winter and can be seen looking for food. In the past, most of our indigenous birds survived well during our Cape Winters and found enough food. However, their available habitats are now being more and more encroached upon by new houses and developments. With their food sources dwindling, it is nice to give them a helping hand at this time of the year through some clever landscaping and garden design. Their primary diet of seeding grasses and weeds,  flowering and fruiting trees and insects only provides flushes of food during the year, and there are inevitably lean times when handouts, from those wanting to attract them to their garden, are welcome.


Common nectar drinkers in the Cape garden are the cute white-eyes, and the beautiful sunbirds. You can easily make a DIY nectar feeder from an old cool drink bottle or from a modified drip-water bottle usually used for caged hamsters and rodents. Most nurseries also stock ‘hummingbird’ feeders. To help nectar drinkers recognize their new food source, the spout should be painted bright red (and the solution-dyed red) and hung in an open spot near a red-flowered bush or tree that is already being used as a food station. Fill the feeder with a sugary solution (white sugar only), about 20% sugar with water.


Seeds of grasses and other cereals are easiest to provide and literally any type will do. Generally the smaller the grain, the more popular it will be with a variety of birds. Lawn seed is often very popular! Millet often sold in a mixture with other grains called ‘wild bird seed’ is also an easily available source. Feeding on the ground won’t necessarily bring the best results as the doves and pigeons will move in quickly denying the smaller birds a chance. Elevate the food table or use a swinging tray from a tree branch (better as the doves can’t land on it), the higher the better, so the birds can keep a good lookout for cats and other predators.


Fruit offerings shouldn’t be left on the ground, as generally the birds familiar with fruit are used to it being up in the trees. While some species are used to eating ripe fruit off the ground, generally it is better to put whole fruits (not cut up pieces as they dry out) onto a nail, spike or thorny branch to prevent the fruits from being knocked off onto the ground. Apple and pears are good but don’t forget the soft fruits as well such as avo, pawpaw, orange and banana which the white-eyes love. Apples are particularly loved by black collared and crested barbets.


The meat-eaters would be happy for an offering of suet or bonemeal. Common fiscals, bokmakierie and tits, as well as white eyes, will be attracted. The suet and bonemeal can be hung in separate bags from tree branches in netting bags. A small branch next to it will help other species of birds who can’t hang from the bag itself. A suet cake can easily be made, using broken peanuts, raisins, honey, bran or pronutro and dried powdered peas, beans or lentils and melted suet. Mix this all up together after the suet has melted and while cooling. Allow the mixture to set in chunks or press into the spaces on a pinecone for convenient bird take-aways!

Happy bird watching!

Landscaping Mastery: From Basics to Beautiful Gardens

Welcome to the World of Landscaping Landscaping transforms outdoor spaces into functional, aesthetic, and sustainable environments. It goes beyond just planting trees and flowers; it integrates hardscaping elements like pathways and patios with...

Gabions Are Way More Than Just Simple Rocks In A Box!

Do you want to add some drama and raw appeal to your garden? Gabions can do just that. Stone and rock have long been part of our human experience and the natural language of the earth. When you add them to your outdoor living space, they not only...

Leucospermum Pincushion – All you need to know

In this blog, we at Contours Landscapes will discuss the striking Leucospermum. It is more commonly known as the Pincushion or Sugarbush. This fynbos plant, which is part of the Proteaceae family, is in full flower from the end of winter right...

How To Select Fantastic Fynbos Showstoppers For Your Garden

Fynbos, often perceived as rugged and dull by casual observers, is, in fact, a realm of remarkable diversity. This is especially true regarding colour, shapes, and textures, surpassing many other plant kingdoms. A Unique World of Flora The Fynbos...

Spring has Sprung

Spring has officially sprung, and now is the time of the year to get stuck into your garden, particularly in adding new flora to your garden. This article will cover what you should be doing in your garden over the next two months as well as some...

How To Build A Fire Pit In Your Garden

KEEP WARM AND COSY THIS WINTER with your own fire pit With all the cold, rain and freezing temperatures of winter, you might find it challenging to stay warm. This is especially true if you still want to use and enjoy your garden space. A fire pit...

Thorny Bougainvillea: The One & Only Climbing Beauty

Bougainvillea, the flowering vine of colourful beauty! Did you know that the French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville discovered this bright plant, now called the Bougainvillea, during his voyages in South America in 1768? Excerpt: One of the...

Shrubs as architectural focus points in the garden

This blog lists shrubs, small trees, and other shrub-like plants that you can use as architectural form plants to create an eye-catching piece in your garden. When you add a couple of carefully chosen trees and shrubs and other shrub-like plants,...

Butterflies in the Garden: Some very Interesting Facts

Butterflies charm everyone! They represent metamorphosis and hope through change and symbolise the life cycle of all living things. Some have brilliant patterns and colours with kaleidoscopic markings. Others are a little more subdued, and in this...

Lights in the Garden: How To Let Your Garden Shine!

Who wouldn’t want to follow the path of lights in the garden into the cool night air? So you’ve spent hours perfecting your garden. Perhaps you had help from a professional garden design company to create the perfect garden. You considered the most...

Let’s plan your project together!

We plan, install and maintain award-winning landscapes for our commercial clients and project partners. Clients who wish to add function, value and inspiration to their outdoor spaces and properties.

Our roots are in Cape Town, but our footprint stretches deep into southern Africa.


+27 (0) 21 788 1202


Unit 2 Lakeside Place Capricorn Business Park, Muizenberg, Cape Town, 7945

Let’s plan your landscaping project together!

We plan, install and maintain award-winning landscapes for our commercial clients and project partners. Clients who wish to add function, value and inspiration to their outdoor spaces and properties.

Our roots are in Cape Town, but our footprint stretches deep into southern Africa.

Seraphinite AcceleratorOptimized by Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.