LANDSCAPING WITH NATIVE PLANTS
Whether you are in the process of landscaping a new home site or interested in renovating an existing yard, consider native plantings. Native landscaping is the practice of cultivating plants indigenous to our area with the goal of harmonizing the landscape ith nature. Before European settlement, around 150 years ago pristine prairies, woodlands and savannas covered our landscape.
Nearly all has been altered or replaced by farming, urbanization, and the interruption of natural processes such as fire. The return of native plants to the urban, suburban or rural landscape brings back our natural heritage, enriches the human spirit, and restores the ecology of our local environment.
Why consider native landscaping?
  • Butterflies and songbirds benefit from the diversity of food, cover, and space in a natural planting, and add to the pleasure your home provides.
  • Native landscaping saves precious time and expense and lessens our dependence on chemicals and non-renewable resources. It is unnecessary to resort to artificial methods of maintenance such as adding fertilizers and pesticides, mowing and irrigating.
  • Native plants are well adapted and can survive bitter, cold winters and hot, dry summers.
  • Native landscaping soaks up rainfall and consequently reduces runoff of nutrients and chemicals into our lakes.
  • A native landscape is dynamic. Interesting flowers, shapes, colors, and textures vary from week to week, season to season, year to year. The splendid diversity favorably contracts to a traditional landscape.
  • Discovering the wonders of nature is an exciting reward.

Ecological and environmental considerations:

  • In the United States, lawns occupy more land than any single crop, including wheat, corn or tobacco. (Newsweek June 21, 1993)
  • Ten times more chemical pesticides are applied to lawns than farm crops. (Newsweek June 21, 1993)
  • Of the 34 major lawn care pesticides, 32 have not been tested for their long-term effects on humans and the environment.

Native plants and design choices.

A well planned landscape that includes native plants to accent each season is a valuable asset to your property. Your site characteristics will determine the type of planting for successful results.

You can employ different degrees of native plantings on your property.

  • Incorporate native trees and shrubs into a traditional landscape.
  • Replace a high maintenance annual garden with a butterfly or prairie garden.
  • Design small islands of plant communities.
  • Naturalize an entire yard, include a border, (lawn, shrub,fence, between your yard and your neighbor's property.
  • Cooperate with your neighbors to integrate native landscapes or to create a natural corridor through your yards.

Whatever option you choose, a native landscape will benefit or land, restore a home for wildlife, and provide a satisfying experience for all.