Butterflies are not only beautiful, they’re one of nature’s top pollinators (after bees, of course). That being the case, they’re usually welcome in any garden — and you can attract them to yours by creating a specialized butterfly garden.
Your first task is to find out which species of butterflies are local, and then plant the various herbs, flowers, and veggies they prefer. If you’d like to go a bit further and actually provide places where they’ll be willing to lay their eggs — and you don’t mind having a lot of caterpillars around — then plant the species that their larvae prefer to eat. For example, if you’re a fan of the monarch butterfly, you’ll need to plant milkweed.
The garden itself should be in an area that gets at least six hours of sunlight per day, since butterflies are cold-blooded and need the warmth to remain active. They’ll also need protection from the wind, as they’re also rather poor fliers. A good solution would be to surround your butterfly garden with tall hedges or a stone wall, or to place it on the sunny side of your house out of the wind — or both, if possible. Don’t forget to situate it near a window, so you can enjoy the view without disturbing the inhabitants.
One final point: if you want your butterfly garden to thrive, it’s imperative that you NOT make use of Bacillus thuringiensis, that natural pesticide much beloved of organic gardeners, anywhere within its boundaries. You should also limit its use elsewhere in your yard and garden. This is especially true if you want your garden to be a place where butterflies can happily reproduce. While it’s very effective on unwanted bugs, Bt is also toxic to some caterpillars, including those of the monarch butterfly.