There are many benefits to planting native species of trees, shrubs and perennials in the garden. Though all require some maintenance, landscapes which draw inspiration from the natural environment require much less care than more traditional landscapes. Lawns, for instance require frequent fertilization and even more frequent mowing. The more traditional shrub borders or perennial garden also, require a good deal of upkeep. This isn’t the case with garden which utilize native plant species, in fact, the opposite is true, native plants are quite easy to grow. These plants have adapted to certain environments and are generally self sustaining. They’ll need little, if any, fertilizer and no more water than is provided by rain. There also more resistant to insects, and diseases, thus pesticides are unnecessary.
Natural gardens result in a cleaner environment. The constant upkeep required to keep a traditional garden healthy also results in exhaust fumes and noise pollution. Mowers emit 10 times as much exhaust as a car; string trimmers emit 21 times and blowers emit 34 times. Noise pollution is also an issue with traditional garden upkeep.
Though not everyone uses them, traditional gardens and lawns often require a steady application of chemicals in order to remain looking healthy. As a result, these chemicals run-off into our water supply. In a recent watershed study in Mississippi, it was found that nearly one-half of nitrogen fertilizer and nearly one-third of phosphorous fertilizer ran-off from its intended location and into local waterways. Along with emitting fewer pollutants, natural gardens conserve water as they can generally tolerate extreme conditions such as drought.
Cost Savings of the Native Garden
While the average garden requires all kinds of maintenance, the opposite is true for the natural garden. As a result, gardens which utilize native plants cost less over time. Initial installation costs are about the same, the cost savings come over time with less maintenance. Since natural gardens basically take care of themselves, there is little or no maintenance, thus little or no maintenance cost. The U.S.Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the cost of maintaining an average lawn is $700/year. Add shrubs and/or flower beds and the cost goes up. From a time and cost (and pollution) standpoint, our over-abundance of turf lawn, non-native shrub beds and irrigation systems is simply not justified.
The Benefits of Biodiversity
Wildlife benefits from the biodiversity within a garden with native plants. Often gardens are completely cut off from its surrounding natural environment and aren’t welcoming to birds and other wildlife. Planting native shrubs, trees of perennials can make all the difference when trying to attract birds to your garden.
There are many benefits to landscaping with native plants. They cost less and give you more free time. They help protect the environment and they enhance the livability of the place you live. Native plantings also promote bio-diversity and provide a home for wildlife. A natural garden with a wide diversity of plants which resulting in vibrant colors, textures and an increased awareness of seasonal change create a more beautiful and interesting garden.