Residential Design

5 Reasons Native Plants Help You Save Money and the Planet

5 Reasons Header
 2008 ASLA Honor Award, Residential Design Category, Beach House, Dirtworks / image: Dirtworks

1. Native plants are healthier and stronger.
Plants native to an area are more likely to establish quickly and will naturally be hardy and healthy. Native plants have evolved over thousands of years, learning to thrive in particular areas—they grow in harmony with the environment, the soil, the water supply, the varying weather throughout all the seasons, and other native companions. Their root systems are deep, sometimes up to 15 feet, and acclimated to the soil, be it clay or sand, and average precipitation, whether it is high or low. Their stems and leaves can handle harsh sun or buffeting winds, for example, if that is the nature of the local environment. They are also part of a larger natural ecosystem.

Native Plants
2014 ASLA Honor Award, Residential Design Category, Hill Country Prospect, Studio Outside Landscape Architects / image: Arlen Kennedy Photography and Robert Reck Photography

2. Native plants create wildlife habitat in your backyard.
When native plants thrive in their original environment, they create a natural habitat for wildlife that is both beneficial to the environment and adds life to your outdoor space. We think of the obvious pollinators, like bees, birds, and butterflies, but these plants can also help create homes for small animals, warm and cold-blooded, and microscopic organisms in the soil. All these living things have jobs to do; the natural environment promotes a symbiotic relationship.

2013 ASLA Honor Award, Residential Design Category, Maple Hill Residence by Stephen Stimson Associates Landscape Architects / image: Charles Mayer Photography

3. Native plants help the environment.
Native plants also have other benefits. They require much less watering, fertilizer, and pesticides. In fact, they can prevent water run-off and improve air quality. Native plants can help decrease pollution because they eliminate the need for mowers and other equipment. Native plants have the ability to pull and store excess carbon.

2013 ASLA Honor Award, Residential Design Category, Sonoma Retreat by Aidlin Darling / image: Bruce Damonte

4. Native plants are low maintenance.
The long-term upkeep of native plants can be dramatically less costly than turf grass, as well as take less time. The EPA cites a study of larger properties that estimates that over a 20-year period, the cumulative cost of maintaining a prairie or a wetland totals $3,000 per acre versus $20,000 per acre for non-native turf grasses.

Low Maintenance
2013 ASLA Honor Award, Residential Design Category, Recovered Modernism: A Landscape Matrix Enriches a Dallas Hacienda by Reed Hilderbrand LLC / image: Alan Ward

5. Native plants add splendor to your landscape.
Your native garden can be a sculpted formal space designed with harmony, unity, and interest. Native plants provide a wealth of colors, textures, varying heights, and bloom times, resulting in a stunning display over multiple seasons.

ASLA 2011 Honor Award, Residential Design Category, Carnegie Hill House by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects / image: Eric Piasecki





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