Landscaping w/ native Plants

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Whether you are landscaping a newly-built house, or creating new landscape designs, native plants are appropriate and exciting. In choosing plants, Art Gara says "Plant what belongs there, what went before. If you have a bright, sunny area, put in a plant that appreciates it. The plant will develop a comradeship with other plants and the earth. You don't need to amend the soil or add anything. You take it the way it is and re-establish what was there for the last 1,000 years."

The EPA notes that once established, "native plants tend to thrive better and do not require much water, chemicals, or maintenance...Money is saved on water bills, gasoline (for trimmers, mowers, etc) equipment and labor."

So, for poetic or practical reasons, go native! Here are pictures of some of our landscaping ideas for your inspiration and enjoyment. For more information on having Art and Linda's Wildflowers design and/or install your new garden, click here.

The grounds of this Barrington home are planted with large beds of native plants appropriate to their settings. They create lovely wildlife habitats.

Click here to see more about this garden.

path w/ flowers

berwyn bungelow

This bungelow in Berwyn is framed nicely by the tall native prairie plants in the sunny front yard.

Click here to see more photos of this bungelow.

This newly planted, triangular-shaped garden gets open shade, or filtered sunlight. (2002)
LaGrange Corner 1

LaGrange Corner 2
Here is the same garden the following June. Foxglove beardtongue, spiderwort, prairie sundrops, and thimbleweed are all in bloom.

Here is the same garden in August.

The blazing star and spiderwort have finished blooming, the purple coneflower is now in bloom and the goldenrods and asters are in bud.

Corner 8-02

LaGrange garden
Another view: the stiff goldenrod is about to bloom. The delicate grass in the front is side-oats grama.

Here is the same garden 5 years later- in the summer of 2006. See how full, lush and weed-free this well-maintained garden is. Over the course of the year, the garden changes.

The garden is totally different in spring, summer and fall, butthere is interest and beauty all year long.

Striking compass plants, so called because the lanceolate leaves tend to align themselves north to south. The house, built in the 1890's, is seen behind them.

See how the shorter, more well-behaved plants are planted next to the sidewalk.


Beautiful royal catchfly. There are very few red flowers. The most visible examples are cardinal flower and this one.

Back garden
A magnificent native garden in Elmwood Park

Notice that the parkway plants are straight and erect, not sprawling onto the sidewalk.

A mature open-shade front yard, facing east in Oak Park.

Oak Park Garden

Riverside Garden

The ugly shrubs were removed from the front of this Riverside bungelow and native plants planted in beds around the entire property in May, 2001.

This photo was taken in September, 2001. See how quickly it grew in only four months! Click for more about this Riverside landscaping project

An exciting new garden, planted in a previously ratty courtyard located between buildings in Forest Park.

FP Courtyard

Forest Park Garden
A sacred area was created with a statue of the Earth Goddess, in memory of a loved one. The garden was later blessed by a priest in a moving ceremony.

This house had no landscaping, just grass.

Notice the circular bed.

Orland Park 1

Front Walk

The entire front and side were landscaped with all native plants - no shrubs.

The gardens were planted in June, 2002. Here they are just one month later.

This Oak Park house was landscaped with assorted beds of various sizes.
Wisconsin Ave

Wisc. Ave 2
The yard is all in light shade.

Several different grasses mingle with the sweet black-eyed susan and coneflower currently in bloom.
Wisc. Ave 3

Front of house
Here is part of this garden a year later. This patch was originally a raised bed, supported with rail road ties and planted with vinca.

These plants are growing nicely in the
open shade.
front 2


The front yard of this house in LaGrange had terrible soil. The construction crew had scraped off the top-soil, leaving rocky, heavy clay, even after the job was completed!

This is the backyard garden of nature photographer Mike MacDonald. The picture was taken in early fall when asters and goldenrods are in bloom.

Click here for more photos of Mike's prairie garden.

MacDonald Yard

Fall garden
This wildflower garden for birds and butterflies was planted in fall. Return here for updates in the spring!

This wagon of flowers can be seen at The Natural Garden in St. Charles, IL.

A nice display of native plants can be grown in an old wine barrel, a wheel barrow, wagon, etc.

The photo of goldenrods and grasses was taken in September.

Wildflower wagon


This large garden, located in Palos, abuts a forest preserve. It is 42' in diameter and slopes down to a wet area.

This garden in Lincolnshire features a rain garden fed by two down spouts, flagstone walls and interesting features.

For more information on landscaping with natives, or to set up an appointment for a consultation, contact Art at 708-785-2943

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