Prairie Gardens as an Alternative to Turfgrass

Prairie gardens are a great alternative to turfgrass. Depending on species, prairie plants can use less water and can provide a long display of color. Prairie gardens can provide habitat for wildlife as well. The following steps can help start the process of designing the prairie garden. Prairie gardens consist of grasses as well as flowering perennial plants.

  • Site selection – Prairie plants prefer full sun and fairly large open spaces
  • Site preparation – Remove weeds and other existing

Naturalized Garden Areas

A naturalized garden area in the yard can satisfy a variety of goals, but it often takes a different way of thinking about a yard. Border areas make good naturalized areas, and can provide a backdrop for other plants and can reduce overall yard maintenance.

Developing a naturalized area can be difficult. Care must be taken to maintain the area so that weedy species do not become problematic.  It may take several years for a naturalized area to become established …

Making an Entryway Water-Wise

Designing the Entryway

Entryways into buildings make a statement about a building’s use.  It can convey a sense of care or of neglect.  Think of the space between the sidewalk or driveway and the building as a sequence of spaces.  Access can be direct and quick or slow and deliberate.

In general, the main entrance should be easy to locate. Paving, plants, lighting, and other objects can be used to enhance or as a guide leading toward the entryway. Designs …

Alpine Gardens

Alpine gardens are designed with plants that grow in high mountain elevations around the world. Due to harsh growing conditions and a short growing season,  these plants are slow growing,  and have a low and compact growth habit.  Most alpine plants are suitable for rock gardens and can be planted at lower elevations.

Tips for Designing an Alpine Garden

  • Group plants in patches to create a more natural look
  • Repeat color, texture, or form throughout the garden to create unity

Water Conserving Rock Gardens

Water conserving rock gardens can take many different forms and can be a great way to showcase different or unique  plants.  There are many plant choices available that tolerate rocky sites.  Rock gardens can be designed with shade or sun tolerant plants.


Closely observing  natural rocky sites is a great way to get inspiration for ideas on how to design your rock garden.

When selecting plants for the rock garden consider choosing plants with the same sun, water, and soil …

Accessible Gardens for Persons with Disabilities

Accessible gardens for persons with disabilities are designed to provide access to gardening activities or simply provide a garden experience for persons of all ages and abilities allowing full participation in the pleasurable activity of growing plants.

Sensory components of gardens are also an important factor in designing for persons with a variety of abilities. Fragrant flowers or herbs and large areas of bright color can be strategically planted for people who are sight impaired. Water features can also provide …

Water Conservation Practices for Vegetable Gardens

Ornamental plant varieties can be chosen based upon water use. Grass can be allowed to go dormant during dry seasons. However, choices for low water vegetable plants are limited. Thankfully, there are some water conservation practices that can increase water efficiency.

  • Adding organic matter in the form of compost, animal manure, grass clippings, and leaf mould are ways to improve the soil by increasing water holding capacity and improving soil structure.
  • Planting in blocks instead of rows creates

Ornamental Grasses for Water-Wise Landscapes

Ornamental grasses are becoming increasingly popular for use in water-wise landscape designs. Combined with drought tolerant perennials, ornamental grasses can create a strong visual impact from summer through the winter season.

Characteristics of Ornamental Grasses

  • Most ornamental grasses require full sun
  • Many species of ornamental grasses are drought tolerant
  • Different ornamental grass species bloom either in summer or fall  depending if they are cool or warm season plants
  • Are available in a wide array of sizes, forms, leaf colors,

Water Conservation for Container Gardens

Water conservation for container gardens can be achieved through plant choice, efficient irrigation, and pot choice.

Containers offer many advantages and alternatives to traditional gardens grown in the ground.

Benefits of Container Gardening

  • Provides a gardening opportunity for space constrained landscapes
  • Allows for tender plants to be moved and grown inside
  • Easier, more effective soil structure (drainage) manipulation
  • Soil pH manipulation
  • Easier pest management
  • Greater ability to group plants with similar growing needs together in the correct microclimate
  • Can use

Water-Wise Herb Gardening

Water-wise herb gardening begins with an understanding of which commonly planted herbs are drought tolerant. Many water wise herbs commonly used in the United States originated from Europe, the Mediterranean region, and Asia.

Herbs have had a place in the garden for centuries. They have been used for medicine, dye for fabric, seasoning and flavorings for food and drink, and fragrance.

In medieval European gardens, perennial flowering plants and herbs were planted together near the kitchen for easy access. These …