Plant Something Native
Its just that simple. Add some native plants to your yard and watch your effort combine with your neighbors to produce something larger then the sum of its parts.
Step out into your yard and survey your space. Where would you like to see some wildflowers or grasses? Look for some unused space that gets a good dose of sunlight. Or maybe you have some existing landscaping that you want to change up. Pick your spot and daydream a bit. What do you want to see there? A wildflower or two being visited by butterflies and bees is awesome. A micro habitat of various grasses and wildflowers spilling around rocks and bird baths is equally awesome.
Gather Your Plants
Start getting excited. Native plants come in a wide variety of colors and shapes so you have quite the pallet to choose from. Go for the mega mono blast and plant all of one type. Or get complimentary and pick different colors and sizes. Native wildflowers have a wide range of bloom periods so consider picking from different types so you have a dynamic experience throughout the year. If it gets too hard to decide go back to step one and look around again. Maybe you want a few more plants. Go visit your FLN - Friendly Local Nursery - and see what you can get your hands on. There are some great regional nurseries specializing in natives that can fill the gaps and ship them straight to your front door. Don't forget the weed barrier and mulch while you are there.
Get Your Hands Dirty
The fun begins. Grab some tools and get to work. Look around your garage for the following:
- Spade - Great for removing turf
- Trowel - Commonly known as "the little mini shovel"
- Scissors or Utility Knife - Makes quick work of the weed barrier
Did you pick up your weed barrier and mulch at the nursery?
Removing some turf? Grab your spade and outline your work area. Then start at one edge and peel back the turf with the spade. Two foot wide strips work great if you are removing a larger area. Roll it up and repurpose it or make a trip to the lawn waste dumpster.
Lay out your weed barrier and trim it to fit. Stones are great for keeping the barrier from blowing away on larger areas. Then you can place them throughout your planting when you are finished. Tent stakes will keep the barrier in place if you are doing a mega area.
Place your plants where you want them to go - or draw it out for larger efforts. Take a look at the spacing requirements that are often listed right there on the pot. Crowded plants won't be as happy. Slice a small X into the weed barrier and dig a hole with your trowel. Loosen up the soil a bit at the bottom. Gently remove the plant from its pot and place it in the hole. Fill the remaining space with loose dirt and water it thoroughly.
Spread your mulch a couple inches deep and take care not to pile up around your plants.
Well done. Native plants are perfectly adapted to your climate so once established they need minimum attention. Give them a hand while they are young and water them if it hasn't rained. While you are getting a closer look at all the new butterfly visitors to your yard go back to step one and take a look around Maybe you will find another space perfect for some natives.