How to Start a Garden for Nature

Gardening Hand Tools

The first thing to consider on how to start a garden for nature is location.

After this, start planning a garden considering the resources around you.


Your location in North America

  • Consider climate, terrain and local plant life.  If you live in a dry, southwestern environment considering a tropical garden would be ludicrous.  Prairie gardens would be better suited for these areas.

Are you in a rural area or in a more populated area

  • Starting a garden takes time and there is always more work in the beginning.  Consider any local city ordinances and concerned neighbors.  Natural gardening may or may not be acceptable in your area.

Considering the location on your property

  • Don't place any garden where you want to attract wildlife too close to the house.  Consider these more a backyard garden.  Also, if considering a forest garden where there are plenty of trees use caution with placing them.  Damage could occur as roots begin to develop and trees can topple with inclement weather.

Resources around you:

Consider terrain and local plant life that will work for your space. 

  • Some weeds help in difficult soils and terrain areas helping avoid run-off.

  • Native weeds require less maintenance so it benefits you to learn the 'safer' weeds.

  • Native plants require less water. Any weed garden, prairie or meadow gardens have adapted to be drought resistant and survive in almost all soil types.

  • Native plants have adapted to the soil so require no fertilizer.

  • Native plants attract native pollinators.

  • Native plants are less likely to become invasive.

  • Well manicured areas promote natural garden pesticides.

  • The above saves money.

Once deciding where and which of the types of gardens to use for garden area more planning is required. 

  • Be flexible with your garden layouts.

  • Assess the common garden weeds within that area.  Some may be kept, others weeds should not.  One may opt to remove all weeds from the area but remember, native gardening provides local plant resources for native wildlife - consider this while planning.  For example, Butterfly Meadows.

  • When removing weeds from there are different routes available:

      *Click how to kill weeds with or without chemicals. 

      *There is also garden tilling.

  • Wildlife ponds are necessary.  It could be a small hole to something more elaborate depending on your garden designs.

  • When understanding how to start a garden different types of soil and pH of soil is important.  Too often gardeners focus on what is above the soil line first.  Focus on what is beneath first.  This saves headaches and money down the road.  Learn how to test your soil without spending money to.

Overlooking soil quality will take longer to grow any garden and can also bring in more unwanted guests.  Weeds happen.  Too many different types of weeds are a symptom of a problem - soil quality.

FYI tidbits on how to start a garden:

  • Introduced species of different types of wildflowers and ornamental plants will come into picture later.  Don't pick anything plants and flowers from your local forest reserve.  See bottom of Natural Gardening page for details.

  • When introducing wildflowers and other ornamental plants understand not to put exotic ones in.  These have serious consequences.

  • In time as area develops placing various decorations such as a butterfly house, bird boxes or a feeding table where fruit may be left out for butterfly food.

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