This spring, take the “think global, act local” approach to your landscaping, with native plants that offer invaluable environmental benefits—and resale value.
We’ve long chosen energy-saving appliances and electronics throughout our homes, and sustainably sourced ingredients for our kitchens—it’s time to take that same mentality to our yards! Eco-conscious homeowners are giving a big green thumbs up to the many benefits of incorporating native plants into their properties, including reducing pollution, improving the environment, and restoring wildlife habitats. Conservation landscaping may even help property owners command a higher price on the market.
The Chesapeake Bay watershed is rich with hundreds of regional species—from attention-grabbing shrubs like winterberry, Virginia sweetspire, and spicebush to breathtakingly beautiful trees such as Carolina poplar and bald cypress. Not only are these plants pleasing to the eye, they’re easier to maintain than non-native options. “You should have less stress from pests, draught and soil issues,” says Peter White, principal landscape architect at Zen Associates. “They just handle the environmental conditions better.”
These native plants appeal to local wildlife, which add color and activity to a yard, while simultaneously offering them much-needed refuge and bringing balance to the ecosystem. Hummingbirds are particularly attracted to red and yellow flowers, so experts recommend planting coral honeysuckle or eastern rosemallow, while a multitude of Instagrammable butterfly species are drawn to flowering plants, such as wild blue indigo and ten-petaled sunflower. Eco-minded organizations, including the Potomac Conservancy and the US Fish & Wildlife Service, can advise gardeners on what to grow for the best results.
By constructing a rain garden with regional plant species—especially on waterfront properties or those near rivers and streams—homeowners can do their part to help Mother Nature. “It’s a good way to be environmentally sound,” says White. “Water doesn’t flow into drains or rivers without filtration.”
The best part about these improvements? “If you do it well, landscape design adds value,” says White. So you may be earning a higher resale value alongside all that karmic credit. Sounds like a double win to us.