While butterfly gardens can certainly be stunning to look at, we think it’s time to turn our attention to beautiful dragonfly gardens. Not only do these flying creatures add a magical element to any backyard with their otherworldly beauty, but they also kill pesky mosquitoes. And fortunately for you, building an enchanting dragonfly garden doesn’t require much effort: All you need to do is plan smartly.
Dragonflies are attracted to water, so your backyard dragonfly garden needs to include a small body of water. Adding a small pond for the dragonflies can create a focal point around which you build the rest of your garden. Just make sure you don’t add fish to the pond because they may feed on young dragonflies, making it difficult to build up the dragonfly population. If you don’t have the space or patience to start digging up your backyard, opt for a fountain or birdbath instead.
But wait, won’t adding a source of water increase the number of mosquitoes? The answer is yes, but there’s an easy way to get rid of them before they become a nuisance. John Abbot, the director of museum research and collections at the University of Alabama and a dragonfly expert, recommends dropping a mosquito dunk containing Bt israelensis (this type of bacteria produces toxins that will kill mosquito larvae) in your pond. A mosquito dunk ($10.99, Amazon) is basically just a tablet that allows you to easily add Bt israelensis to your water.
The next thing your dragonfly garden will need are lots of different flower species. “Almost any kind of water source or a diversity of plants both in the water and landscape will do,” Abbot says. Dragonflies need to eat, and a rich variety of flowers will attract different bugs the dragonflies feed on. (Say goodbye to annoying mosquitoes and gnats!) Plus, the rainbow of blossoms in your backyard will instantly brighten your mood and give you access to dozens of blooms, should you decide to try crafting with flowers.
Now, sit back and wait for the dragonflies to come. Pretty easy, right?