So I cruised www.nwf.org and found it's not really all that difficult, to wit:
All you need to do is provide elements from each of the following areas:
- Food Sources. For example: Native plants, seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, nectar
- Water Sources. For example: Birdbath, pond, water garden, stream
- Places for Cover. For example: Thicket, rockpile, birdhouse
- Places to Raise Young. For example: Dense shrubs, vegetation, nesting box, pond
- Sustainable Gardening. For example: Mulch, compost, rain garden, chemical-free fertilizer
(link to it from title of this post)
Some of the steps I've already put into practice. I've done my hippie best to avoid all chemical additives, to the point that our lawns were more like weed-patches--and not that kind of weed, either. I've used compost and mulched like crazy. Last summer, we nuked our front lawn by sheet mulching it, letting it RIP under thick layers of newspapers and wood chips. I don't intend to reseed with water-greedy grasses. To encourage bird and butterfly life, I've planted a few sorts of bushes and flowers they like (mallow, penstamen, lavender, salvias) and kept two bird feeders going. Newts and salamanders have benefited by my lax and lazy gardening; I spy them under damp leaves and overgrown bushes.
So I really only need to provide a water source, some shelters and more places to raise young. And up my use of native plant species. I can probably do all that this spring. Then we'll see how many creatures take me up on my welcome mat. I'll even leave the porch light on--for the bugs.