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How to Design a Native Plant Garden

Native plants matter. Native plant gardens support local wildlife and are more well-adjusted to the local environment. They often require less water and fertilizers while significantly reducing water runoff.


Many gardeners complain that natives often look wild, messy, and unkempt. With proper planning and selection, you can create a beautiful native garden that also supports the native ecosystem. Consider these fundamentals as you design your garden using native plants with the help of expert Healdsburg landscapers, Gardenworks.

Choose the Right Plants

Look for plants that will thrive in the microclimates of your garden. If your garden receives ample amounts of sunlight, use sun-loving natives. If you have a smaller garden, use plants that grow taller than wide. Always use the mature size of a plant when deciding where to place it. Hiring a landscape designer to create a master plan may be a great benefit, especially if you are going to do the work yourself. Remember that different types of plants thrive in different types of soil. If your soil is acidic (low pH), use plants that will grow well in acidic soils and vice-versa if your soil is more basic. To attract wildlife to your garden, look for plants that provide food sources. To ensure you don’t face any problems keeping your plants to scale, choose ones that don’t grow taller than half the bed width. So, if your display bed is five feet wide, choose plants that are not more than 2.5 feet tall. It is important to install the right plant in the right place to reduce maintenance.

Group the Plants

To create a stunning visual effect, group similar plants together. Even when planting foundation shrubs, plant similar shrubs together in groups of 3 to 5. Vary plant texture and form within the same border. Juxtaposing plants with contrasting textures is a surefire way to create fascinating contrasts. Choosing different foliage colors between plants can also create dynamic effects. If you want to create a low-maintenance yard, group plants with similar growing requirements together. Use grass sparingly as a backdrop for some of the wildflowers in your yard to simplify maintenance.

Define the Space

A well-designed border will give your landscaping a clean look and do wonders for its aesthetic.  Create a border edged with brick, limestone, or other natural material to define the area in a visually appealing way.

Control Perennial Weeds

To avoid headaches down the road, eliminate troublesome weeds such as Bermuda grass and bindweed before starting to plant. Plant only after these weeds have been completely eliminated eradicated as this will not only help maximize your watering efficiency and improve aesthetic design, but also help with reducing maintenance. Need help creating a low-maintenance native garden? Gardenworks has you covered. We are committed to helping homeowners identify ways to save water in their yards and use the native, natural beauty of Sonoma County in their gardens. We strive to combine the best of both worlds in our designs: aesthetics and functionality. To consult with our Healdsburg landscapers, call us at (707) 857-2050.

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