How do I start? Remember the ABCs!
Know your site. Is it sunny? Shady? What are your design parameters?
Choose the most wildlife-friendly plants that suit your needs.
Care and Maintenance
Spend time in your garden weeding, adding plants, and making adjustments.
Learn more about the ABCs:
If starting from scratch, assess your soil, sun, and water conditions and plan accordingly. Clear your area and ensure that invasive grasses have been removed completely. Supplement soil with compost if needed. Preparing a design on paper will promote planning and ensure all stakeholders or family members are in agreement. Choose design features to enhance your plantings and promote easier maintenance such as edging, walls, paths, and other landscape architectural elements.
Choose a diverse range of native plants, adapted for our region. Native plants support the insect species that birds need to survive and raise their young. Native nectar and seed plants also provide food for birds. For both aesthetic and wildlife benefits, choose plants in a range of heights, patterns, and thickness. A layered look (ground cover, taller grasses, shrubs, taller trees) is pleasing to the eye, and these plant groupings provide necessary cover and nesting space. Avoid non-native, invasive plants.
Need help choosing native plants to start with? Our partners have done the leg-work for you! Katy Prairie Conservancy has collaborated with the Houston Chapter of the Native Prairie Association of Texas and Clark Condon to create the 9 Natives program! This program has selected 9 native plant species for sunny yards and another 9 for shady yards, with the goal of providing plant diversity while choosing species that are easy to source! See these lists by clicking here.
You can also visit Houston Audubon's Natives Nursery website to see which real-deal native plants we currently have in stock!
Care and MAINTENANCE
Plan to work regularly for the first three years in order to weed, water, and ensure continued health of the wildlife habitat. Have a maintenance plan in place and adjust as needed. Pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides all affect the natural system, so avoid when possible or choose creative natural alternatives (example: orange oil can be used to kill fire ants without destroying the complex soil biome necessary for a healthy landscape).