There’s little that irritates me more than going to the garden center and seeing an array of gorgeous, well-made bird baths that are all completely and utterly useless. It seems that the manufacturers of such things have never really researched or even given the most cursory amount of thought to what qualities a bird might actually like to see in a birdbath. It’s the same with ponds. Most commercially-available ponds have steep, slick sides which make the water tough to access and limit the pond’s value to wildlife. Since providing water is one of the easiest ways that you can not only benefit wildlife but attract them into your garden, it seems a no-brainer to take the time to get it right. After all, water isn’t just for drinking. Butterflies get valuable minerals and salts from puddling about in shallow, slightly muddy sections of water. Salamanders and newts, frogs and toads, and even dragonflies use water as shelter and breeding grounds during different parts of their life cycles. Here’s what you need to know to provide the best benefits to wildlife with your water sources.