In early 2021, Wild Ones began our Native Garden Design program by publishing free, professional garden designs for the public with the premise that using native plants in landscaping can not only be beautiful, but also promote pollinators and wildlife, slow stormwater runoff and be achievable for gardeners of all skillsets in terms of scope and budget. By the end of the year, the program produced nine ecoregion-specific designs for Boston, Chattanooga, Chicago, Denver/Front Range, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Tallahassee and Toledo.
The designs can be downloaded from the Wild Ones website: nativegardendesigns.wildones.org. Each design includes a digital plant list featuring color photos of each native plant incorporated in the design. The design .pdfs and accompanying plant lists are easy to print for quick reference while selecting plants at a local native plant nursery and planning a yard layout.
Another component of the program was the creation of a print resource geared toward those new to native gardening titled, “Creating Your Own Native Garden Design: A Guide to Creating Beautiful Home Landscapes.” Copies of this informative and colorful guide were provided to Wild Ones chapters to share with Wild Ones members and the public. The digital content of the guide is available at nativegardendesigns.wildones.org under the “Get Started” section.
Both the designs and the guide were generously supported by a grant from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust (SSHT).
The positive feedback we received after releasing these resources made it clear we needed to continue growing the Native Garden Design program as an effective way to fulfill Wild Ones’ mission. We applied for and were granted additional funding from SSHT to increase the number of native garden designs we provide in 2022 and develop a new print guide focused on landscape resilience in wildly shifting climates.
Wild Ones has several new designs currently in the works that will focus on areas of the country that have been most affected by climate change damage and drought. These areas are challenged to alter landscape practices and need inspiration and new channels for education on how to restore and beautify the land. Regions being considered for new garden designs include the Gulf Coast, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic/ Southeastern, Midsouth, Northeast Metropolitan, Southwest/Arid Desert or Canyonland, and the Pacific Northwest. Rain garden designs are also being considered.
Along with the designs, Wild Ones is creating a new printed guide, “Benefits of Landscaping with Climate Resilient Native Plants: A Guide to Environmentally Conscious Home Landscapes.” The guide will cover the topics of carbon sequestration, water management, temperature extremes, flooding and drought. Copies of this guide will also be provided to chapters along with additional copies of the “Creating Your Own Native Garden Design: A Guide to Creating Beautiful Home Landscapes.”
We look forward to sharing these resources and hosting conversations with the new designers we are partnering with on the designs later this year.