The kids are gone, and you don’t need as much lawn as you used to?  Consider using some native grasses and a simple gravel path to create such an incredible retreat and focal point in your yard.

What to plant - that is the “perennial” question from many of our customers. 

With so many options available these days - and a never-ending list of new plants being introduced by nurseries not only from the US, but from other countries as well - it’s a challenge to know what will grow in your yard.

Trends for planting right now? Plant natives and pollinators to help attract beneficial insects to your yard, and help maintain better health for the bees. It makes good sense to use plants that work in your yard, offering you a good supply of flowers (and pollen) from early in the season until late in the year - and if you live in warmer areas - to offer a source of pollen year-round. 

Maybe you can’t control the way others handle chemical use and adding pollinators, but you can make a difference in your own yard. Cut back on your chemical use especially when it is not needed, or use only as a preventative. There is a better approach using safer alternatives or home remedies that can help solve some simple problems with insects or disease in your own yard. 

Using a grouping of native Birch clumps create a cool and shaded micro-climate beneath so you can include some of your favorite shade loving plants.

Get familiar with native trees, shrubs, roses, vines, and perennials that grow naturally in your area. The native range for plants changes by region and by the climate in a region. Nature Hills offers many natives, all you need to do is find out the natives where you live.

Not only can you ask your local extension office or garden clubs, but you can ask a neighbor or plant lover who might be a good source for what plants perform well in your immediate area.

When you are out doing your daily routine or errands, pay attention to what is growing well in your local area and utilize those plants for the bones of your landscape. What looks healthy and offers color at a time of the year that your yard is lacking color?

Look at how nature arranges plants in undisturbed areas. Watch how those areas change with the seasons offering color, texture, or fruits and berries for attracting wildlife to that area. There is a reason a plant grows where it does in nature. Hot, dry, south facing-sites create a very different microclimate than the north-facing slopes that will have cool soils with plants that will need more moisture. Check out your own yard and see what areas are sunny and dry. Use plants that you are seeing doing well in your area for those hot, dry sites.

Look at how landscapes are being planted for new construction projects. What trends are you seeing that you like? There is no reason you can’t borrow those design ideas for your own yard. 

Native plants are plants that reside in undisturbed sites and have a relationship with the plants and animals in the area over thousands of years. Native plants include selections that some call “nativars” or selections (cultivars) of the native plants that have superior characteristics. Larger flowers, shorter plants, more fruit, better fall color and a whole lot more! All reasons for bringing a new form of the native plant to market.

With a backdrop of natural grown Green Giant Arborvitae shown above, and the introduction of color makes for an incredible and interesting landscape.  Check out the use of cut tree limbs formed into a natural trellis for flowering vines or even climbing veggies.

Remember when introducing new plants to your yard to look at the site where the plant will be installed. Make sure the plant will get the right amount of sun or shade, and the type of soil in that location will best support healthy establishment and growth. 

You can plant native trees in your town or city and they will thrive and live forever, right? Not necessarily. Planting an oak tree in a sidewalk area in a downtown concrete jungle is most likely not going to mimic where that oak tree would grow natively.

It is so important to look at where certain healthy plants are growing because there is a reason it is doing well in that location. 

Be aware of the plants around you, and how they are being used where you live. Watch for interesting design ideas that you too can borrow for your own landscape. Incorporate native and “nativars” and pollinators in your yard. Learn to watch and appreciate the plants in your environment and the wildlife they attract - and most of all…enjoy!