203 . 324 . 3817



Native Landscapes

Native plants, long overlooked in the landscape, have been enjoying a renaissance in recent years. These plants have evolved to be well-adapted to the seasonal availability of water in their native landscapes. Even in the heat of summer, they show minimum signs of drought stress or wilting. Savvy property owners can use this to their advantage by planting natives in areas where conventional irrigation systems are not feasible.

No matter where you live, there’s a palette of native plant species able to thrive in the existing conditions. Why spend time amending the soil when you can plant a winning combination right away? In contrast with heavy feeders like roses or hydrangeas, native plants require very little inputs to thrive once established. Many species are highly adaptable and can thrive even in the leanest and infertile of soils. As an added bonus, they need very little attention during the growing season. A single mowing or pruning in the fall or early Spring is usually enough to keep your native landscape looking its best.

Traditional landscapes elements such as lawn areas or boxwoods hedges look great in your landscape, but they don’t offer much to local bird and insect species. Native plants provide valuable nectar, seeds, nesting material, and habitat that helps maintain a healthy, diverse community of species. In return, these species provide many important ecosystem services such as pest management and pollination of crops.

Wildflower Meadows: For lawn areas that are difficult to mow, a wildflower meadow may be the ideal low-maintenance solution. Site Systems can select an appropriate seed mix or mix of plugs to establish the right plant community for the site. Meadows add seasonal color and valuable wildlife habitat with only one or two mowing required per year.

 

Wet Meadows:For parts of your property that are poorly draining or consistently wet, a native wet meadow is a better choice than a traditional lawn. Unlike Kentucky Bluegrass and other turf-type plants, these wetland species such as Cardinal Flower, Joe-pye Weed, and New York Ironweed thrive in the consistently saturated soils. On a smaller scale, these types of native landscape plantings can be used to add interest to drainageways, swales, rain gardens, and other stormwater management solutions.

 

Riparian Edge Buffers: These native plant communities are found along the edge of streams, ponds, and other waterbodies. More than providing habitat and food sources for native species, they also play an integral role in preventing erosion and filtering pollutant-laden storm runoff. Streams, brooks, and ponds that lack this natural vegetative buffer often have significant problems with scouring and algal blooms. Planting a native landscape along the edge of your pond or stream is the best way to conserve this natural resource and the ecosystem services it provides.

 

Woodland Understory: Not all plants need full sun to thrive and make abundant flowers. For shady areas of your landscape, consider using native species that are at home in the woodland understory such as Wild Ginger, Virginia Bluebells, Witch-hazel, and Flowering Dogwood. If deer browsing is an issue, then focus on planting ferns. The pungent taste and feathery texture of the mature fronds are particularly off-putting to deer.

 
© Site Systems - Landscape Architects. All Rights Reserved.