Step 1: Consultation
The first step in the process of creating a beautiful, high-functioning garden ecosystem with native plants is a visit to your property. I will meet with you to tour your yard and discuss your goals and interests for your new garden. Observing all of the conditions (sunlight exposure, soil type, grade, micro-climates, moisture, space utility and if possible, pre-European settlement clues) that factor into restoration and plant selection will be noted and discussed. A preparation of the beds, including any potential problems like invasive species removal will be discussed. I will take measurements of the proposed beds and document the area with photography.
Step 2: Design
Using the photographs that I took during the consultation visit I begin laying out a general plan based on your preferences and plants that would be appropriate for the conditions specific to your yard. In addition to the factors observed during the consultation I also consider the architecture on the property, the contours of the space and your living use of the area. I strive to create gardens with multi-seasonal interest, successional blooming periods as well as being highly functional habitats for pollinators, birds and beneficial micro-organisms.
Step 3: Proposal
When the design is completed I will send it to you and we will then meet to discuss the plan and make any edits or changes. I will then provide an estimate timeline of the work to be performed.
Step 4: Site Preparation and Installation
This is an exciting day! Breaking ground on the creation of a beautiful garden that increases habitat, oxygen and soil health; controls erosion, conserves natural resources, sequesters carbon, and closes the gap on ecosystem fragmentation! I begin this stage of the process by laying out the shape of the beds, removing existing vegetation, creating paths, adding mulch, laying out the plants and finally putting them in the ground.
Step 5: Stewardship
Enjoying your ecological garden goes beyond aesthetics. Every moment there’s dynamic change that occurs inside this plant community that inspires awe and wonder. You will be amazed by the visitors that your garden attracts. From birds, butterflies and other pollinating species that depend on these plants for survival to curious neighbors that want to learn more. The other great thing about using native plants for gardens is that once they are established they require far less maintenance than a conventional garden or lawn. Native garden beds do not need fertilizers or herbicides and once they are established these plants don’t even need to be watered.
But as Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki says, “A garden is never finished.” The first year toward the establishment of your garden is when maintenance is most required. Plants are filling in as best as they can but it takes time to do so and this is when weeds seize upon this opportunity of open ground space. I like to make monthly visits during the growing seasons to monitor plant and weed growth as well as any other maintenance that the site may require like pruning, deadheading, and possibly adding or moving plants. I also provide Spring and Fall clean-up.