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How to Design a Garden of Native Plants

Native plants are known to be untidy and unattractive because of their natural state. While grasses flourish, wildflowers often fail to produce the landscape’s desired aesthetic impression in Salt Lake City. What the wild does, the wild will do.

So how can we tame the prairie’s wildness? How can we create a garden with native plants that don’t seem completely untamed? Do we even have a chance? It’s possible, in my opinion.  A well-planned native garden may give you the aesthetics of the prairie while providing all the benefits of a natural environment.

When planning your native plant garden, keep these basics in mind:

Try to choose plants that will thrive in the area you have available.

Take a look at the scenery.  Is it shady or bright outside? Do we have sandy or clay soil?  Consider all of these factors so that you may select plants that will flourish in your backyard.  Native plants that prefer the sun require at least six hours of daily sunshine. Otherwise, you could search for local flora that prefers shadier conditions. Matching plants with climate is the first step toward a maintenance-free landscape.  

If you want a low-maintenance garden, pick plants that thrive in the same or a comparable environment. In my opinion, this is the single most crucial step in creating a flourishing native garden.  If you wander too far from the plot, the plants won’t thrive, and you’ll have to put in extra work.  You can’t expect a swamp milkweed to thrive on a dry hill or a primrose in a bog.

Planned flowering succession design. 

Plants that bloom year-round, like Wave Petunias, don’t grow in the prairie, so it’s best to stick to those that bloom in the spring, summer, and fall.  Wildflowers on the prairie either just started blooming or have finished for the year.  A variation on the prairie is constant.  Plan for the inevitable shifts.  Learn how native plants change throughout the year and how to best showcase seasonal features like seedheads for winter appeal.  Structure, winter texture, and movement may all be added using grasses. In the fall, the seedheads of Missouri black-eyed susans are charmingly complemented by little bluestem.

Align plants of the same kind. 

The summertime blooms of fifteen brilliant stars serve as a visual focal point.  Arrange them next to a wildflower that blooms in the spring and another that blooms in the fall, and you’ll have a display that attracts attention throughout the year.  Plant grasses sparingly so that they just serve as a border or backdrop for your garden or wildflowers.  Because of this, upkeep is simplified because you can easily identify the plants in each section.  When weeding, it’s important to remember that wildflowers can reseed, so you’ll need to get rid of everything else too.

Keep your plants in the right size. 

Pick plants that won’t become much taller than halfway across the bed.  In this case, a display bed six feet broad would call for plants no taller than three feet.  It would be impossible to grow a compass plant there.

Set boundaries. 

A well-planned native garden benefits from a boundary.  Limestone, brick, or any other organic material can be used to outline it.  Just by adding just one thing, your native garden will seem neat, beautiful, and well-planned.  Just trimming the border of the garden may make a big difference.

Get Rid of Those Perennial Weeds! 

You may avoid trouble by clearing off the bindweed and Bermuda grass first.  Trust me; waiting till these weeds are gone before planting a new garden is preferable.

Despite appearances, even the most thoughtfully planned landscapes require human intervention.  Garden design is an art form. They are the result of some thought, work, and time.

Using these fundamentals as a guide, you should be able to improve your landscaping efforts.  Check out our plant collection, landscape Designs, or give us a call if you need help identifying native species.



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