Past efforts to bring wildlife into my yard have been hit or miss. Then a butterfly landed on my arm, while planting Purple Prairie Clover, and I figured I was onto something.
They seem particularly fond of Goldenrod, Lavender, Salvias and Sedum, though I think it is the accidental water source that keeps them hanging around.
I use rocks in the gardens to create micro-climates. Flat rocks with slight indentations pool with water, making an ideal drinking fountain for little butterflies. (No deeper than an 1/8th of an inch or they'll drown.)
Hummingbird nectar, bird feeders and bird houses will encourage lots of activity in your backyard.
Be patient. It takes time for wild birds to discover what you offer. My yard has finally passed inspection - the Mountain Bluebird has come to call. He's a tough sell. I tried every kind of food the wild bird store sold before I figured out that this little gentleman has a sophisticated palate. He's passed up nuts, berries and seeds but can't resist the flavor of a moldy, English muffin.