Native Plants Series: Garden Design

So now you're excited about planting natives in your landscape! What do you need to do?

Here are some native garden design considerations: Whether you're revamping an existing landscape or planning a new garden from scratch, you will NOT need to use a lot of soil amendments for natives. Appropriately chosen natives should be able to grow in the natural soil. When gardening with any plants, but especially natives, plant densly. We're not going for the traditional "look" of shrubs and perennials with space inbetween for plenty of mulch that needs to be replaced each year. Part of creating an ecosystem or habitat for wildlife is making places for creatures to hang out. They need places to hide from predators and rest. Dense plantings also discourage weeds. When you start out, the new plants will be small and need room to grow. This means there will be bare spots. Cover these with a ground-cover plant, or a bit of mulch, preferably leaves. It's actually better to put in too many plants, and then remove some as they start to get crowded. Choose a variety of plants to create diversity. If possible, use a combination of trees, shrubs, and perennials. The more diverse the plants, the greater the range of wildlife that will be supported. And eliminate as much lawn as possible (more on that in a future post). Consult great resources like Doug Tallamy's "Bringing Nature Home" and "Planting in a Post-Wild World" by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West. If it all seems a bit too overwhelming, you can always talk to your friendly neighborhood landscape designer / garden coach!

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