Professional Practice

Applying Ecological Design: Supporting Pollinators

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Perennial garden by Thomas Rainer, ASLA / Pollinator Paradise Project

Plants play a crucial role in creating wildlife habitat for a range of birds, insects, and herbivores. Honey bees are an essential pollinator and have faced precipitous decline due in part to colony collapse disorder. Bats, another important pollinator, have also faced critical population declines in recent years due to the disease White Nose Syndrome. Pollinators are at further risk with the continued use of pesticides and other chemicals, as well as habitat loss.

Bees, bats, and a number of other animals, including birds, beetles, and butterflies, play an important role in keeping ecosystems functioning, and provide vital services such as pollination. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, these cross-pollinating animals help support 30 percent of the world’s crops and enable 90 percent of wild plants to thrive.  

There are several simple and cost-effective ways to support pollinator population growth. Homeowners can grow plants that attract pollinators through their nectar and pollen. Homeowners can stop using pesticides and herbicides. Homeowners can also support habitats through urban and residential beekeeping systems and by building bat houses.


American Beekeeping Federation

Back Yard Beekeepers Association

Pollinator Partnership


Planting Guides, Pollinator Partnership

Planting Guides, Bee City USA

Bee Culture: The Magazine of American Beekeeping

The Incredible Value of Honey Bees, The Dirt, American Society of Landscape Architects

Place-making for Bees, The Dirt, American Society of Landscape Architects
Design with Every Bee in Mind, The Dirt, American Society of Landscape Architects

Are Urban Bats the Future?, The Dirt, American Society of Landscape Architects

21 Best Plants for Pollinators, Sunset

Policies to Protect Pollinators, Berkeley Food Institute

Pollinator Friendly Practices, North American Pollinator Protection Campaign

Factsheet: Chesapeake Bay Watershed: Native Herbs & Vines, North American Pollinator Protection Campaign

Factsheet: Chesapeake Bay Watershed: Native Shrubs & Trees, North American Pollinator Protection Campaign

A Tower Made for Bats, The Dirt, American Society of Landscape Architects

Pollinators in the City, The Field, American Society of Landscape Architects


The Bee-Friendly Garden: Design an Abundant, Flower-Filled Yard that Nurtures Bees and Supports Biodiversity,” Kate Frey, Gretchen LeBuhn, Leslie Lindell, Ten Speed Press, 2016

"Insects and Gardens: In Pursuit of a Garden Ecology," Eric Grissell and Carl Goodpasture. Timber Press, 2006

"Pollinator Conservation Handbook: A Guide to Understanding, Protecting, and Providing Habitat for Native Pollinator Insects," Matthew Shephard, Stephen L. Buchmann, Mace Vaughan, and Scott Hoffman Black. Xerxes Society, 2003

The Beekeeper’s Handbook,” Diana Sammataro, Alphonse Avitabile, Dewey M. Caron, Comstock Publishing Associates, 2011

Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees,” Joseph S. Wilson, Olivia J. Messinger Carril, Princeton University Press, 2015

Gardening for Birds: Create a Bird-Friendly Habitat in Your Backyard,” Julie Zickefoose, Skyhorse Publishing, 2016

Government Resources

Pollinators and Ecosystem Services, National Biological Information Infrastructure, U.S. Geological Survey

Trees, Pollinators and Responsible Pesticide Use for Minnesota’s Woodlands, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Pollinators, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, Pollinator Health Task Force, The White House

Using Native Plants to Attract Butterflies and Clearwing Moths in the Washington, D.C. Area and Virginia, Fairfax County Park Authority


Kronish House, Beverly Hills, California
Marmol Radziner

Private Residence/Landscape Restoration, Rowena, Oregon
Koch Landscape Architecture  

The Restoring of a Montane Landscape, Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Design Workshop, Inc.





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