The Beauty and Benefits of Landscaping with Native Plants
By Harley Grandone
Landscaping with native plants not only adds local beauty to your yard but also brings along a bouquet of benefits. These hardy, local flora have naturally adapted to the area’s climate and soil, making them an eco-friendly, sustainable, and low-maintenance choice for landscaping.
The Beauty of Native Plants
Plants naturally found in a specific area (indigenous) have a regional beauty that blends seamlessly with their surroundings, making them visually attractive. From vibrant wildflowers that add splashes of color to towering trees with their majestic canopies, native plants offer a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors that can make your landscaping pop! Plus, they provide seasonal interest, offering a dynamic array of blossoms, berries, and foliage throughout the year.
The Benefits of Native Plants
So, why would a homeowner want to use native plants in their landscaping? Check out some of the benefits to help you understand why:
Plants that have adapted to the local climate are known as native plants. These plants are less likely to be affected by diseases, droughts, and storm damage. In New Orleans, where extreme weather conditions like hurricanes are common, it is particularly important to have plant material that has acclimated to the environment incorporated into your hurricane-resistant landscape. Certain species of native trees resist high winds while others are salt-tolerant.
Given their adaptability, native plants require less upkeep, saving time and effort. With less maintenance, think about all that free time you’ll have.
Planting native species reduces the need for water, fertilizers, and pesticides, promoting a healthier environment because they have adapted to the local habitat.
They Reduce Air Pollution
Native plants are great at storing carbon thanks to their deep root systems. This creates a healthier, more fertile soil along with reducing atmospheric carbon.
They Support Biodiversity
Native plants provide habitat and food for local wildlife, supporting biodiversity. Native plants make great additions to pollinator gardens, supporting birds, bees, and butterflies.
They Contribute to Soil and Water Conservation
Native plants possess deep root systems (some reaching as deep as 16 feet) that aid in erosion control and water conservation. They also promote water infiltration better than non-native plants.
They Balance Ecosystems
Certain insects, birds, and mammals rely on specific native plants for food and shelter. If these plants were replaced with non-native species, these animals could struggle to survive. Conversely, native plants depend on these animals for pollination and seed dispersal, creating balanced ecosystems that thrive off one another.
They Reduce the Risk of Invasive Species
Invasive species are non-native plants that outcompete native plants, disrupt local ecosystems, and cause significant environmental damage. Using native plants for landscaping prevents the spread of invasive species and preserves the local environment.
Once established, native plants require minimal maintenance, resulting in long-term cost savings. They typically require little or no pruning, deadheading, watering, or fertilizing, making them easier to care for.
We Can Learn From Them
Planting native plants can be an educational experience, teaching you about local ecology and botany. It’s also a great way to connect with nature. If we are patient and observe, these plants will teach us their habits and characteristics.
Go Native For a Resilient Landscape
Landscaping with native plants not only benefits the environment but also offers many advantages. From cost savings to minimal maintenance and unique beauty, there are countless reasons to consider adding these unique specimens to your landscape.
It is also important to do some research and plan out your landscape before purchasing native plants. Consider the size and layout of your garden, as well as sunlight and soil conditions. If you’re interested in incorporating native plants into your landscape but don’t know where to start, let us help you design the yard of your dreams, so you can start enjoying the beauty and comfort of your backyard.
Harley Grandone, a writer and landscape designer, enjoys writing blogs about everything landscaping. After 20+ years of being a landscape designer, she’s delighted to be able to combine her love of writing with her love of the industry. She has incorporated native plants into many of her landscape designs over the years in commercial and residential settings.