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Backyard Resources

Invasive Species | Landscaper Directory| Wildlife Stewardship | Stormwater Management
Naturescaping | Benefits of Program Participation

Invasive Species

English Ivy
English Ivy - Toby Query

Aggressive and noxious weeds threaten the health of our natural areas. Where natural habitats are intact, a diversity of native plants filters water, cleans the air, reduces soil erosion and provides habitat for wild animals. The Backyard Habitat Certification Program will help you learn to identify and remove the most damaging plant species. 

General Invasive Weed Information

City of Portland: Remove Invasive Plants poster
OPB: The Silent Invasion
King County: Noxious Weed Information and Services
Cooperative Weed Management Area: Best management practices

English Ivy

City of Portland - No Ivy League and Wanted: Dead English Ivy


Landscaper Directory

Are you considering hiring a landscape professional to design, install and/or maintain your backyard habitat? The Backyard Habitat Certification Program strongly recommends the professionals in our Landscaper Directory. Each of the professionals in the directory understands our certification criteria, specializes in native landscaping, and will be an excellent resource for your project. As with hiring any professional, we recommend you research the individual’s focus areas and qualifications before making your selection.

Wildlife Stewardship

Rufous Hummingbird 2 - Jim Cruce
Rufous Hummingbird - Jim Cruce

More than 200 species of birds pass through the Portland Metro Area each year.  Habitat loss, invasive plant and animal species, toxic contaminants in our environment, and a variety of man-made hazards can make their journey in Portland a hazardous one.  The Backyard Habitat Certification Program will help you identify and reduce wildlife hazards in your yard and develop advanced strategies help locally imperiled species.

Another great way to help our local wildlife populations is to enhance habitat on your own property. Wildlife need more than dedicated parks and green spaces to survive and flourish – they require continuous corridors of suitable habitat and open space. Backyard habitat enhancement is a great way to help connect isolated pockets of habitat while also improving the value and aesthetics of your property.

Habitat consists of three basic elements: food, water, and shelter. The following pages detail what you can do to provide all three elements for local birds and other wildlife.

Portland Audubon Resources

Animal Habitat

Native Plants for Wildlife

  • Oregon State University Extension: Native Plant Gardening - with information on plants that provide food for wildlife

Stormwater Management

When it rains, water washes over our roofs, driveways, sidewalks and other hard surfaces. Along the way, it can pick up a variety of pollutants, such as pesticides, oil, metals, chemicals and soil. This polluted stormwater eventually drains into our rivers and streams. The pollutants can endanger the water quality of our waterways, making them unhealthy for people, fish, and wildlife. Runoff from our homes and driveways also causes erosion, increases river temperatures and decreases groundwater recharge. Better management of stormwater helps us protect our streams and rivers. The Backyard Habitat Certification Program will help you identify green strategies to address stormwater on your property.

General Stormwater Information

City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES): Sustainable Stormwater Management

Specific Features

*All Bureau of Environmental services (BES) publications are specific to the City of Portland and due to differences in sewer and stormwater infrastructure, they should not be used in other municipalities*

Naturescaping With Native Plants

Maidenhair Fern - tm

Naturescaping with native plants is a wonderful way to integrate nature into your backyard. Native plants are adapted to our climate and are naturally resistant to native pests and diseases. They require less maintenance to succeed and have additional stormwater and wildlife advantages. The Pacific Northwest has a wonderful variety of native plants that can be incorporated into your backyard landscape. The Backyard Certification Program will help you select an appropriate mix of native plants for your yard to achieve your habitat objectives. For the purposes of this program, we encourage property owners to select plants that are native to the lower Willamette Valley. The Portland Plant List is your best resource for learning about and selecting plants specific to our Willamette Valley region. A PDF of this excellent resource is here.

Metro's "Native Plants for Willamette Valley Yards" booklet

Native Plants for Retail

There are a couple great native plant nurseries. Please note, however, that nurseries often label a plant as "native" if it naturally occurs anywhere in the state, or even in neighboring states. In the BHCP, we encourage and consider only Willamette Valley natives for certification. Please consult the Portland Plant List in your plant selections.

Classes and Workshops

  • Metro: Metro offers free natural gardening seminars to help you garden chemical-free. These seminars are held March through July, or you can have a group seminar anytime.

Great Books

  • Encyclopedia of Northwest Native Plants for Gardens and Landscapes by Kathleen Robson, Alice Richter and Marianne Filbert.
  • Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest by Arthur Kruckeberg
  • Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, and Alaska by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon
  • Propagation of Pacific Northwest Native Plants by Robin Rose, Caryn E. C. Chachulski and Diane L. Haase
  • Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens by Douglas W. Tallamy
  • Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest by Russell Link
  • The Ann Lovejoy Handbook of Northwest Gardening: Natural, Sustainable, Organic by Ann Lovejoy and Janet Loughrey

Backyard certification with dogsCertification Benefits

The health of any ecosystem is largely measured by the quality of its biological diversity. Yards play a critical role in the overall health of our region. By linking our many yards together, neighbor to neighbor and community to community, we can all play a role in supporting native plants and wildlife. The benefits below will assist you in the creation and long-term health of your yard. *Check website for new benefits.

Participation in Program

These benefits are offered throughout the year. Please check the Backyard E-newsletters for dates and order details.

  • Participation in our spring and fall Backyard Habitat Native Plant Sales - plants are priced at a steep discount! (for program participants only) Advertised through our monthly E-newletter.
  • Wholesale prices on soil and mulch from ProGro Mixes in Sherwood
  • Boskey Dell 10% off coupon for Native Plants
  • Echo Valley 25% off coupon for Native Plants
  • Timber Press 30% off Bringing Nature Home by Doug Tallamy book (plus free shipping)
  • “Certification in Progress” sign


  • Backyard Habitat Certification sign
  • Gift card of $5 for Backyard Bird Shop
  • 10% off coupon for plants at Bosky Dell Nursery
  • Coupon for $5 off any purchase of $25 or more at One Green World
  • One year membership to Audubon Society of Portland (new members only)
  • One year membership to Columbia Land Trust
  • Timber Press 30% off Bringing Nature Home book  plus free shipping


  • Backyard Habitat Certification sign
  • Two free tickets to the Oregon Zoo
  • Gift card for $10 for Backyard Bird Shop
  • 10% off coupon for plants at Bosky Dell Nursery
  • Coupon for $5 off any purchase of $25 or more at One Green World
  • One year membership to Audubon Society of Portland (new members only)
  • Collection of Columbia Land Trust note cards and one year membership
  • Timber Press 30% off 10 books plus free shipping


  • Backyard Habitat Certification sign
  • Four free tickets to the Oregon Zoo
  • 10% off coupon for plants at Bosky Dell Nursery
  • Coupon for $5 off any purchase of $25 or more at One Green World
  • Gift card for $20 for Backyard Bird Shop
  • One year membership to Audubon Society of Portland (new members only)
  • 50% off one ticket to Columbia Land Trusts Wild Splendor Event & one year membership
  • Timber Press 30% off all books (plus free shipping)
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