Native Garden Design

Once gardeners get interested in native plants, the first question that comes up is “How do I design my garden?” What a good question. Here are some ways to start.

Let the pros do the work: buy a pre-planned garden

Prairie Moon Nursery (Minnesota)—Find “Garden Kits” on their website or in the catalog. Suggested planting plans are downloadable from their website.

Prairie Nursery (Wisconsin)—Has LOTS of pre-planned gardens geared toward site conditions and wildlife. Plans are available on their website.

Minnesota Native Landscapes—A selection of gardens, including some for the endangered rusty-patched bumblebee, and the uber-cute “My Pocket Prairie.”

Free plans, BYO plants

Grow Native!—This Missouri Prairie Foundation site has several garden designs. Though for the central Midwest, many species are native to the Great Lakes, so these designs provide a good starting point.

If you want to garden for birds, this is the place. The Michigan chapter of Audubon has published this 16-page booklet chock full of garden designs with birds in mind. Wish I’d known about this a long time ago.

Butterfly Garden—Presented at the 2015 North Stars Garden Conference in Florence, Wis.

Minnesota DNR butterfly, moth, and bee designs

Native Plants for the Small Yard—Authored by Kate Brandes and published by Lehigh Gap Nature Center, in Pennsylvania, this 60-page book has several designs for small gardens. Her plans are also posted here.

 

Dig deeper into design principles

Ten Elements of Natural Design, by Larry Weaner—First published in 1996, this article by the award-winning landscaper advises on landscaping with nature in mind.

Planting: A New Perspective—Piet Oudolf designed gardens in Chicago’s Millennium Park and the world-famous High Line in New York, shattering norms and establishing himself as the planting prophet for the twenty-first century. Lots of good direction, but the photos alone are worth the price of admission.

Designing with Colorful Native Plants handout—This pdf lists lots of midwestern natives by color and bloom time. Ania Wiar, senior horticulturalist at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Okla., shows how she plans a native garden: first with a chart showing the bloom times and colors of each plant, second by applying those colors to a four-season design, so you can visualize how the garden will look throughout the year.

 

 

Our Mission

Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes
. . . promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities.

Contact Us

Our chapter is based in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, a finger of land extending from the Upper Peninsula into Lake Superior. Our current members hail from Houghton, Ontonagon, and Keweenaw counties. To reach us, email [email protected] or phone 906.231.5521

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