I have always wanted to have a yard that would become a hummingbird and butterfly garden. But for years, we lived with a perfectly suburban yard that we inherited when we moved into our house.
When we finally rehabbed our backyard, I was super excited to be able choose colorful hummingbird flowers and beautiful butterfly garden plants.
Tip: Keep those hummingbirds coming back with a full hummingbird feeder. Check out the free printable hummingbird nectar recipe card at the end of this post!
Hummingbird Habitat and Butterfly Garden Design
We got rid of an old, splintery deck and water-thirsty lawn. Also gone are a bunch of plants that were just plain old, tired and ugly, replaced by plants and flowers that attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.
Since we live in California, we pay more for water in drought years so keeping things simple with the right perennials was important.
Thankfully, all of the hummingbird plants, butterfly garden flowers, and hummingbird vines we planted are drought tolerant which means they are easy to establish without needing a constant supply of water.
Since hummingbirds are territorial, we made sure to plant plenty of different hummingbird bushes, vines and other perennials so they wouldn’t have to share!
Best Plants For a Hummingbird Garden
Our backyard revamp included salvias for hummingbirds and butterflies and other drought-tolerant perennials. I love the mix of vibrant color these low water perennials bring to my garden. Low water, low maintenance and hummingbirds and butterflies…what more could you ask for?
We found many varieties of hummingbird sage (technically called Salvia) at our local nursery. These salvias for hummingbirds grow quickly, have different and interesting blooms and gorgeous colors that attract hummers and butterflies. These three salvia varieties are easy to find and have been super successful:
Hot Lips (vibrant red)
Black & Bloom (dark violet)
Mexican Sage (light purple)
We also planted several varieties of:
Purple Coneflower (echinacea)
Trumpet Vine (often called hummingbird vine)
All of these are drought tolerant perennials so they don’t require much water once established, and the hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees love them! We planted a butterfly bush and honey bees showed up – bonus because I love having bees in my garden!
I also planted some hanging baskets with fuschias, and multiple annuals like impatiens and petunias.
I’m happy to say that the hummingbirds and bees are loving my yard! Salvias for hummingbirds and butterflies are easy to find and easy to grow.
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Hummingbird Garden Must Haves
Every summer my garden comes alive with zooming, twittering, swooping hummingbirds because I plant their favorite nectar-producing hummingbird sage, hummingbird bush, hummingbird vine, and hummingbird flowers. But to make sure I have lots of these little guys I still put out several hummingbird feeders with homemade hummingbird nectar. These are my all time favorite, tried and true feeders that I fill with hummingbird sugar water to keep them coming back year after year.
This is absolutely my favorite feeder and I have been through so many other types. It's super easy to clean, easy to fill, and even has an ant moat you can fill with water. I have two of these and bought my mom and mother in law one too!
This tried and true feeder reminds me of my grandmother. She always had at least two of these hanging outside on her covered porch. I love that these are made with red glass so you can attract the hummers without any artificial color in your hummingbird mixture.
Oh my goodness! How fun are these? I have hummingbirds swooping down and checking me out all the time in my garden, so I know they probably would be happy to come over for a drink of hummingbird nectar! This would be super fun for kids too if they would stay still long enough! If you're trying to figure out how to get hummingbirds to eat from your hand you need these!
No more ants my hummingbird feeder with these little beauties. I even use these to hang my feeders with ant moats because they're so sweet just in case the water dries up before I have a chance to refill them.
If you hang this relatively close to your hummingbird feeder, the little hummers will sit by and rest while they wait for their turn at the feeder. Amazingly, they really do use it. The finches also drop in for a swing now and then.
I have several of these and use them to hang my feeders, hummingbird swings and finch food socks as well. They're great for hanging pretty much anything from bird feeders to lanterns.
Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden Decor
You can bet that we spend a LOT of time out in our yard now!
I have had so much fun looking for cool, interesting and functional garden art to decorate this space. I really feel like our new yard is an extension of our home now.
We put in a firepit, strings of outdoor lights and a bunch of pretty garden decor. Do hummingbirds like mirrors? I’m not sure but I found a super cute garden mirror that I now have hanging on my fence.
I love having friends over for a barbeque or a glass of wine.
Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden Decor
After all your hard work is done part of the fun is being able to decorate your space with both functional and whimsical outdoor decor. I spend so much time in my garden that it's almost like another room in my house - it may as well be comfortable and fun!
These lights have made all the difference in how late we can stay outside to enjoy our yard. We have three strands that we put all around the fence and patio. They cast a warm light that makes for a magical evening. They're also weatherproof and can be strung together if you have a large yard or patio.
This hummingbird wind chime is really well made and sounds pretty without the noise being overpowering. I love that these come in a really nice box too so they make the perfect gift for your favorite hummingbird garden lover.
In the summer we spend a lot of time outside on our patio and these solar powered lights add just a touch of ambiance because they have a flickering candle effect. They're really low maintenance and turn on and off automatically
When we designed our garden, we made sure we had plenty of spaces to sit and enjoy the hummingbirds and butterflies. I love to sit in the twilight with a glass of wine and take in all the beauty of our hummingbird habitat and our butterfly garden plants and flowers.
This butterfly garden bench is pretty and sized just right to fit under a tree or arbor. It's the perfect place to sit and watch the butterflies and hummingbirds zip around the yard.
Gardening is Exhausting but Rewarding
We did most of the work ourselves. But we did hire a local company to come out and put in a paver patio. Whew! I’m glad that we are finally to the point where we can enjoy the yard instead of just toiling in it!
Favorite Gardening Tools
We are really enjoying our hummingbird and butterfly garden. It was a ton of work, but since we planted low maintenance colorful perennials, it doesn't take much work to keep things looking great. Here are a few of my favorite things that I use month in and month out to keep our hummingbird habitat looking great.
I don't actually own these, but I thought they were so interesting I put them here so I could remember them! They have fingertip claws that seem like they would be super useful if you were raking a small area or digging. Plus, if you growl while you use them you might just scare all the squirrels and gophers out of your garden.