4 Reasons You Need Native Plants in Your Landscape
Native plant species are the perfect addition to a beautiful, eco-friendly landscape.
Native plants are a buzzword in sustainable landscaping. But what defines a native plant and why would you want them in your garden or landscape? If a plant blooms naturally in a particular region, ecosystem or habitat without human interference, then it is considered native. Besides their natural good looks, native plants can help improve the environment and make your landscape or garden an eco-friendly oasis.
In Northern Virginia and Maryland, examples of tried and true native, sustainable landscaping plants include showy coreopsis, vibrant cinnamon fern and crimson winterberry. There are many more to choose from, and there are native plants in all colors, sure to suit any design preferences.
The best part? They’re beneficial, too. Read on to learn more about what native grasses, perennials, shrubs and trees can do to elevate your landscape.
Native plants are great for the environment
Native plants typically require less upkeep than nonnative plants because they compliment their surroundings. They thrive in the local soil, moisture levels and weather conditions, requiring less watering and experiencing fewer pest problems than other species.
Are you a bird enthusiast or butterfly lover? Native plants also serve as food sources and habitats for native insects, pollinators, animals and other wildlife vital to our ecosystem. So not only will you get the colorful blooms, but you’ll also get an eyeful of beautiful, friendly critters that they attract.
Another sustainability bonus: Native plants often require fewer fertilizers and pesticides to thrive. They are more resistant to diseases, insects and weeds because of their natural defense mechanisms, so you can decrease pesticide exposure for pets, children and wildlife.
These sustainable landscaping plants also may help reduce air pollution because they don’t require equipment-heavy maintenance activities. Plus, native plants sequester or remove carbon from the air. So with native plants in your garden, you just may get a better view of the stars!
They’re functional, too
Ask any landscape designer: Native plants are a great addition to any yard because they solve common requests like improving privacy and cutting down on neighborhood noise.
For example, strategically placed native plants can create a sight and noise buffer between your home and your neighbors during a late-night bonfire. Anything from ferns to black tupelo and pine trees can be used to ornament your yard and create screening for a sense of privacy.
They preserve local water sources
Because they’re designed for the local area, native plants’ roots typically run deeper than the roots of nonnative plants. Why is this a good thing? Because they assist in maintaining healthy soil, preventing erosion, managing rainwater runoff and keeping soil from becoming compacted — all important components of a sustainable landscape.
Soil erosion is a particular threat to areas like ours that rely on well water and take pride in beautiful waterways like the Potomac River, Scott's Run, and Great Falls. Erosion can increase pollution and sediment in rivers and streams, worsen flooding, and even desertify land.
By adding native perennials, trees and shrubs to your yard, you can help do your part to protect our region’s groundwater quality. Plus, experts say native plants need up to one-third less water than nonnative plants.
Native plants are beautiful!
When some people think of native plants, they imagine a simple wildflower garden, but that’s not the only look you can achieve. Native flowers, shrubs and trees offer a diverse selection of colors, textures and patterns that can ensure a beautiful garden or landscape, no matter your design aesthetic.
You can mix and match colors, textures and species, or go with a sleek, monochromatic look. Or perhaps your landscape designer can come up with a theme that leverages the many plants native to the Chesapeake Bay area for a splash of personality that matches your own.
As you can see, sustainable landscaping plants can serve a vital role in your yard and garden. Our expert team of landscape professionals is here to help. We have extensive knowledge of installing and maintaining plants native to the Washington D.C. area, and we love doing it. Learn more about gardens we’ve designed here or contact us for a consultation about adding native plants to your landscape.