Landscaping is a diverse process that can transform your garden, increase your property value, and even your quality of life. There’s something special about taking on an outdoor space and altering its design to suit your taste. From landscaping around trees to DIY landscaping for your yard, there are many landscaping ideas to choose from, but the most rewarding is naturalized landscaping ideas and designs. These types of designs focus on using natural materials or naturally occurring elements in a garden to minimize harmful environmental practices and ensure long-lived, healthy, and sustainable landscapes.
8 Naturalized Landscaping Ideas
1. Indigenous Flora
To truly naturalize your landscape, you can start embracing wildflowers and native shrubs. Indigenous flora has the right attributes to survive in their local conditions, making them low maintenance. By incorporating them into your landscape design, you are keeping their unique species, relative to the area, alive.
2. Slate and Stone Pathways
Stone pathways have a sentimental quality about them and it’s all in their jagged, puzzle-like composition. Commonly used stones are brick, bluestone paver stones, and limestone. Limestone is considered the best choice for a stone walkway because it is durable and versatile. In some cases, limestone can absorb water and since it is a carbonated rock, it becomes highly reactive when exposed to acidic and even mildly acidic elements like rainwater.
This can cause long-term deterioration. Alternatively, slate is a credible outdoor tile and has a natural non-slip property. Ultimately, when considering a type of stone for naturalized landscaping, keep environmental factors in mind and match that up with the look you are going for. Stone pathways are perfect for arid, sandy landscapes and make splendid flagstone walkways for more fertile landscapes. If you need more inspiration, here are some of the best DIY garden path ideas.
3. Raised Garden Beds
For more growing space and less natural and human hindrance to your plants, consider adding raised garden beds to your landscaping design. Raised garden beds have better water retention and warm up much quicker in spring. Not only does a raised bed fend off creatures, but it also adds visual intrigue to the landscape by having dazzling plants or crops elevated above the ground.
For a naturalistic raised bed stick with wood, ideally any type of cedar because of its rot-resistant properties, treated lumber and redwood are also great choices. Another option is reusing cinder blocks for a more industrious look. Recycled concrete blocks are both environmentally friendly and great value for money. If you’d like to DIY it your way, here’s how to build and care for a raised garden bed.
4. An Invitation for Birds and Bees
Have your landscape be a haven for all living things. For all creatures tailed, winged, and pollinating, depending on which you prefer, you can design your outdoor space with them in mind.
- For birds you can hang bird feeder muffins, pine cone feeders, or bird seed wreath feeders – all of which are eco-friendly. Be sure to squirrel-proof your bird feeder by spicing the food with capsaicin and offering foods they don’t like such as white proso millet, safflower, and nyjer seed. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, here are some awesome DIY bird feeder ideas. Alternatively, you can learn how to attract birds to your backyard and ways to keep squirrels out of your garden!
- For pollinators, cultivate a garden for indigenous plants as the local butterflies and bees would be more familiar with them. Here are some flowering plants that attract pollinators to your garden.
- For furry friends and pets, landscaping with mulch is a safe and inexpensive option that is easy on their paws.
5. Go Bigger, Go Boulder
Boulders are a timeless natural element, and they make quite the statement with their imposing size. Granite boulders are most commonly used in both green and arid landscaping. They are usually arranged in groups and can be used to form retaining walls, which adds height to the landscape. Plants also tend to grow on the edges of boulders, which prevents the boulders from awkwardly sticking out and creates a naturalistic scene. If this inspires you, here are some incredible ideas to landscape with boulders.
6. Rain-Friendly Garden
Master the ebb and flow of water by making your landscape rain-friendly. Rain gardens are gardens consisting of native plants, perennials, and flowers that are planted along with a depression. When it rains, the depressed area collects the water, which flows down a rain gutter, from the roof. These gardens are designed to increase the reabsorption of rain by the soil, so the slope and size of the landscape matter. Another important job rain gardens perform is channeling rainwater and filtering runoff from gutters. A popular element in a rain garden is a pebbled path which is used to perform these functions, resulting in a calmer and clearer flow of water.
7. Propping Up Plant Stands
Plant stands are holders for potted plants. They are normally used for houseplants and are made of many materials, namely; plaster, plastic, wood, or metal. Despite their use indoors being the norm, you can prop up some plant stands as part of your landscape design. While you can elevate your potted plants on metal, plaster, or plastic plant stands, a gabion plant stand is a more sustainable outdoor plant stand.
A gabion is a cage, usually a cylinder or a box, filled with rocks or sand. They are designed to be permanent structures and last anywhere between 10 to 75 years. For cylindrical gabions, you’d need galvanized tomato cages and any type of stone you prefer. The most common stones used are granite, sandstone, and quartzite. However, you can use old bricks or natural elements like pine cones. Here are some fantastic DIY outdoor plant stand ideas to inspire your project!
Other outdoor plant stands are often out in nature waiting to be repurposed. Sizeable tree stumps make neat plant stands and can last up to ten years if preserved properly. You can preserve a tree stump by applying two to three coats of polyurethane wood sealant on the sides and top of the stump. It takes 48 hours for it to dry completely, thereafter you’ve got a quaint stand for your potted plants.
8. Bodies of Water Big and Small
What better way to naturalize your landscape than by including a water feature? Water features impart the sound, look and feel of nature, and they can be stylized in a variety of ways. Next to swimming pools, ponds are the second most popular water feature. Small ponds in particular are simple to fill and less of a hassle to decorate. Pond edging is what usually sets the tone for this water feature and you can use anything from pebbles, stones, and hardwood to plants.
To further customize a pond, you can include a mini fountain or a waterfall that cascades down ornaments. If you’re looking for garden pond ideas, here are some fantastic ones to inspire from. Alternatively, you can learn how to make a mini garden pond, or check out some beautiful pond waterfall ideas for your naturalized landscaping project.
Naturalized landscaping makes the most of what each environment has to offer. It embraces the elements and sees potential in native flora. You can seize the greenery, planking, and cobble around you and transform them into decorative features that distinguish and impart the essence of nature all the same!