Sustainable Landscaping with Natives
Once considered a burdensome array of wild weeds, native plants are finally coming back into the scenery. Rightly so, for these plants hold the key to true environmental sustainability. To foster native plants in the landscape is to support a beautiful diversity of life that reaches far beyond what the eye can see.
At its best, sustainable landscaping is a low-maintenance job. By creating self-sustaining ecosystems, nature practically does the bulk of the work. Most native plants act as if they had never left once they are re-introduced back into their natural habitat. Generally drought-resistant, pest-hardy, and frost-proof, many of them will continue to come back year after year.
Since most of the life on this planet has evolved around the genetic diversity of plants, a garden of this caliber creates an ideal niche for various bugs, birds, and other animals. Don't worry! This should be encouraged. We share this planet with hundreds of thousands of other living things, and the more we have, the healthier and more sustainable our own home will be.
For instance, butterflies, honeybees, and birds are typically the more attractive garden guests we can expect to see—plant milkweed for the monarch butterflies, asters for the bees, and evergreen trees for the birds. There is a good chance you already have these growing in your yard. A straightforward way to find these plants is to limit lawn mowing. As these plants grow tall, they will naturally create a source of food and shelter for these garden invitees.
At the heart of sustainable landscaping is a self-regenerating habitat that continues to renew itself indefinitely. Nevertheless, this is not to say that this kind of landscaping is work-free. These types of environments are typically very delicate, which is why so many pristine areas no longer exist. There are always challenges, such as invasive plants, introduced pests, and unpredictable weather trying to tip the scales way or another. The landscaper must aid the natural order of things, helping to maintain the sensitive balance.
The absolute best way to do this is to bring in as many different native species of plants as possible. Start researching your particular bio-region to find out which plants are the most common. Some nurseries even specialize in rare or at-risk plants that are well-adapted to shade or sun. This new era of sustainable landscaping will benefit both man and the planet.