It was only natural when living in Iowa and studying landscape design to discover prairie. The idea that the land around me was almost totally tall grass prairie led me to learn as much as I could about that native ecosystem. In many parts of North America and Europe garden designers are creating prairies and meadows with native species with the inspiration of the Midwest prairie plants.
Nearly every landscaping project can include a piece of reconstructed prairie. The first small prairie garden I planted now is alive with a diverse population of insects, butterflies and birds and the occasional mammal. In the winter the cardinals and junkos fly back and forth between the prairie and the bird feeders on our deck. Including even a few native plants in a garden design will add beauty and diversity to the landscape.
Using native plants in a garden also helps keep rainwater on site and replenish the groundwater, and slows or stops erosion. These beautiful plants attract native insects, butterflies, birds and mammals to create a self sustaining diversity. Native plants complement and soften the built landscape of patios, decks, homes, garages, barns and sheds, and they connect these structures to the land.
Native prairie plants can be used in home gardens, alongside roadways and driveways and in many more ways as part of a full landscape design.