The Best Bees Checklist for a Bee-Friendly Garden

February 12, 2021


Did you know that bees are nature’s best pollinators? As bees cross-pollinate and get their nutrition, your garden will produce more flowers and plants. And guess what? Spring is just around the corner. 

If you’re a professional landscape designer or a DIY gardener, you probably can’t wait to be knee-deep in soil prepping your seasonal plants and flowers. Our expert beekeepers have created a guide to design a bee-friendly garden regardless of climate. When your garden begins to bloom, it’ll be sure to attract bees and the attention of any bee-curious neighbors.


Honeybee foraging on a purple lilac.


A Bee-Friendly Space

  1. Variety (flowering plants) – Bees love many different types of flowering plants and flowers. They’re especially fond of native wildflowers and flowering herbs. It is important to have a variety of flowering plants including types and bloom cycles. If your plants have successive blooms, honey bees are more likely to return to collect nectar and pollinate your garden. Our HoneyDNA research helps us to understand where bees forage and which plants best feed pollinators. For your particular gardens, The BBC reports, that” researchers findings show that insect-friendly plants are just as pretty, cheap and easy to grow as less pollinator-friendly varieties.

  2. Garden ponds (water source) – Like every hard worker, bees need access to food and fresh water to survive. When providing a water source for your bees to drink from, it is important to know that bees are much better fliers than they are swimmers. Therefore, bees need a dry place to stand while drinking. The Spruce includes 13 Garden Pond Building Tips for those brave enough to create your own. Shallow dishes, bird baths, and a few rocks can also be used as water sources if your space doesn’t allow for a garden pond.
    Illustration of Water Lily, by Best Bees Creative Direction, Paige Mulhern


  3. Untreated Soil – Cornell University’s Department of Entomology states “Not all bees live in hives like honey bees do. In fact, 70% of all the 20,000 species of bees nest under ground.” Some bees prefer patches of undisturbed soil for nesting. Be cautious of any treatments and chemicals that are used throughout your home and garden area since this can affect the health of the bees.

  4. Non-chemical fertilizers – Most sustainable gardeners already refrain from using chemical pesticides, herbicides, and weed killers. If pests are found in your gardens, consider using natural pest controls such as mulch. Pesticides are extremely harmful to your bees. The use of eco-friendly options greatly reduces the honey bee mortality rate. According to The Ecologist, kelp and limestone are two of the top 5 natural and organic fertilizers that will cause your garden to thrive and bloom.

  5. Bee Hotels (shelter) – These bee hotels are created from wood and other nesting materials for bees. The purpose of the bee hotels is to increase the pollination of your garden by attracting extremely docile solitary bees. For tips on managing a Bee House, Farmer’s Almanac  provides 6 tips on managing a native bee hotel.


honeybee pollinating a flower in an urban garden
Honeybee foraging on an eco-roof in Boston, MA


Garden Like a Professional

In our latest webinar we talked to Melissa Reavis, PLA, ASLA at Hollander Design about how to incorporate pollinator plants into your home landscape. As dedicated advocates of pollinators in gardens for ecological health, we’ll be exploring the science behind how bees contribute to our nutritional, economical, and emotional well-being.

Hollander Design Landscape Architects works with homeowners, architects, developers and institutions to design finely-crafted landscapes. Hollander Design recently won the Arthur Ross Award from the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art for their “Forest Retreat” project. 

Also winners of Veranda’s Best Of Outdoor Living award and Architectural Digest’s Top Designers list, one of their core values is creating beautiful places that come with fulfilling expressions of home. Their holistic approach to landscape design highlights how pollinator habits and gardens make an impact on biodiversity. 

Click here to watch the recording of the webinar and learn how the heroes at Hollander Design Landscape Architects are helping to save the bees.


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