Native Landscaping Tips for 2021


Native Landscaping Tips for 2021

Over the past decade, there has been a considerable shift toward using native plants and sustainable features. This broad movement—the Native Landscaping Movement—has helped cause us to reevaluate the ways in which we design outdoor space and, consequently, reevaluate the ongoing relationship that exists between nature and humankind.


There are many benefits of native landscaping. By choosing to engage in apply native landscaping to your yard, you can save considerable amounts of time and resources (such as water, soil, etc.). Furthermore, native landscaping is much more environmentally sustainable. With native features, your yard can peacefully coexist within the broader ecosystem and create a healthier community to live in.

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As you might expect, the best native landscaping projects will typically be much different than projects using more traditional methods. Native landscapers need to pay closer attention to how their choices affect the entire ecosystem and, furthermore, native landscape architects will also need to understand the unique dynamics that exist within their specific environment.


If you are considering redoing your yard in the upcoming year, it might be time to consider what it’d be like to “go native” and create an environment that is more natural and more sustainable. In this article, we will discuss six useful tips to keep in mind when creating an authentic native landscape. By keeping these useful tips in mind, you’ll be one step closer to creating the outdoor space you’ve always dreamed of.

1. Hire a Landscape Architect that’s Familiar with your Region

As you’ll quickly discover, there are likely many different landscape architects in Denver or in your area. However, rather than working with someone who is affiliated with a national brand—and might be unfamiliar with your terrain—it is a good idea to choose a local landscape architect that has completed projects in your area.


Being familiar with the region will help make it easier to select the soils, plants, and other features that are most likely to fare well in your yard. Selecting plants while landscaping requires you to not only consider what might do well over the course of the upcoming year but also—in the spirit of landscape architecture—will do well for many years to come.


2. Take Note of What has Been Able to Grow on its Own

One thing many people don’t realize as they begin a landscaping project is that there is an almost limitless wealth of knowledge being provided to you by your very own yard. Your yard is constantly communicating new information, but it will be up to you—the landscaper—to figure out what exactly it is saying.


Which types of plants have been able to sustain themselves in your yard? Which types of plants have struggled to survive without help? Taking careful note of how various plants have been able to live will make it much easier to begin the process of redesigning a sustainable landscape. Furthermore, in addition to looking at the various types of plants, you should also take note of the volume of new plants that have been able to independently make it.

3. Begin by Removing Non-Native (Invasive) Plants

Plants have a way of “knowing” what is and is not in their own best interest. If a plant is not growing in a particular area, there is likely a reason why. While you could plant a palm tree in Denver, Colorado, getting this tree to survive the winter is going to take a lot of work and (unsustainable) active management.


If you want your landscape to be truly sustainable, you will need to begin by selecting plants that have been proven to survive in the area. Removing plants that are non-native species—even if these plants have fared well in the past—will often be a key component of sustainability. This will also help improve the relationship your yard has with its surrounding environment because non-native species will often negatively impact their ecosystems.

4. Replace Your Grass Lawn with Natural Alternatives

Even though grass might “naturally” grow in your local ecosystem, it is quite likely that your yard simply has too much grass. While useful as a basic outdoor surface, grass can pose several problems for an outdoor space and notably requires significantly more water, soil, and effort to maintain than other possible surfaces.


Fortunately, there are many (surprisingly affordable) alternative surfaces to traditional grass. These surfaces can include rocks, sand, brush, gravel, dirt, woodchips, and other materials that do not require such intensive resource consumption. If you are in a dry climate, such as Colorado, the simple non-grass components of your landscape design in Denver can be used to highlight trees and other native foliage.

5. Minimize the Use of Non-Native Soil, Water, and Manmade Structure

Generally speaking, the more “man-made” features and processes you introduce to your landscape, the less sustainable you can consider that landscape to be. Remember, in this context, “sustainable” means capable of surviving on its own.


Make sure that your soil and plants are properly paired with one another. For example, if your plants need alkaline soil, avoid choosing soils with high levels of acidity. You should also take note of how much water your yard typically receives. Select only plants that can effectively survive with this amount of water. Lastly, to minimize the amount of maintenance your yard will need, avoid (to the greatest extent you can) the use of man-made objects. Of course, don’t be afraid to add a deck or some other type of outdoor space. But adding paths, structures, and other features will inevitably have to do more trimming, sculpting, and priming.

6. Give Your Landscape Time to Grow

One of the most common frustrations held by people attempting to create a natural landscape is that, despite their best wishes and efforts, cultivating a truly natural landscape is something that takes time. Many plants require years in order to fully reach their maturity. Rather than demanding results immediately, give your landscape the time and effort it needs in order to reach fruition. It may take as many as five years for your yard to look absolutely perfect, but by consistently tending your landscape and giving it the care that it needs, your dream outdoor space is still well within reach.


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