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Native Plants

Whether you have a shady, dry yard with sparse grass growth or heavy clay soil in full sun, there are a variety of native plants that will thrive in the conditions of your yard.

Why choose natives?

Natives are adapted to the local environment.  They don’t need special attention to thrive. A properly installed native plant garden needs:

  • Infrequent weeding
  • Watering only during prolonged dry spells
  • Cutting back once a year, in late fall or early spring

Compared to a lawn which needs regular fertilizing, watering, and mowing to stay healthy, a native plant garden saves time, money, and impact on the environment.  Native plant gardens:

  • are excellent for controlling erosion because of their deep roots and can serve to eliminate mowing on steep slopes.
  • increase water infiltration, thereby reducing storm water runoff from your property and ultimately improving the water quality of our lakes and rivers.
  • create a wildlife sanctuary in your yard by providing food and refuge for birds, bees, butterflies and more.  Some species, such as the monarch butterfly, are completely dependent on one species of native plant to complete their life cycle.

Our Native Plant Communities

Drawing inspiration from Nature, our garden designs integrate local prairie, savanna, woodland, and wet meadow plant communities into low maintenance outdoor spaces.

Prairies create an ever-changing landscape that holds interest in all seasons, from the blooming of the pasque flower in April through to the russets and golds of autumn grasses. Our native prairie grasses and flowers are deep-rooted and long-lived. They thrive in sunny, dry, nutrient poor conditions, producing lush green growth and flowers without watering or fertilizing. 

Oak Savannas were once one of the most common landscapes in the Midwest, and are characterized by open-grown oaks and high plant diversity at the prairie-forest border.  The widely spaced oaks in an oak savannah create a “park-like” feel, and host an understory of native grasses and wildflowers which tolerate more shade than open prairie species.

Woodlands are characterized by a closed canopy of mature trees, such as maple, basswood, and oak, with an understory of spring ephemeral wildflowers and ferns.

Ephemeral wildflowers emerge in spring before the trees fully leaf out, blanketing the forest floor with blooms. Many city lots are blessed with mature trees, making them good candidates for woodland gardens.

Wet Meadows are transient prairie wetlands that hold standing water in the spring or after heavy rainfall, and are dry at other times of the year. Wet meadow species can be used to create rain gardens that capture roof or sidewalk run-off, as they are adapted to periodic flooding and dry spells. They can also be planted in naturally occurring wet spots and include shrubs, grasses, and some of our most spectacular wildflowers.