Please don’t hesitate to contact us if your question isn’t answered here.
Native Landscapes FAQ
Native plants work with nature to create eye-catching landscapes and wildlife habitats without all the fuss of adapting a plant to your conditions.
Take azaleas in Dallas. They need the climate and soils of East Texas – more rain and acidic, sandy loam soils. Azaleas can grow in North Texas if you amend the soil with peat moss (harvested from peat bogs in Canada), fertilize with acidic fertilizers, and then water more often than you would a native plant. All this adds up to more impact on ecosystems.
Texas native plants, suited to our soil and climate, need no exotic amendments or special fertilizers. Once established, natives also need little to no municipal water as most can survive on rainfall alone.
Though there’s a great variety of native plant choices, you’re not limited to only native plants if you want a sustainable, water-wise landscape.
Well-adapted plants are not native but have adapted to the area. They do well in the local soil type (clay, sand, silt, loam) and pH level (alkaline or acidic). They do well with the high and low temperatures of our region. Often, they come from the same climate and soil type but from the other side of the world.
Well-adapted plants thrive like natives and are not invasive, so they can have a place in a smart North Texas landscape.
Native plants are naturalized, or adapted to conditions that are present in a geological location. They are suited to the local climate and soil conditions.
In North America, a plant is considered native if it existed in a location pre-colonization. So for hundreds of years, native plants have flourished without help from people; without sprinkler systems, fertilizers, and pesticides. Texas native plants are adapted to our hot, dry summers, so in your landscape they can thrive in these conditions with little input from you.
First will look at your watering habits and those of your neighbors. Then we look to see if we can direct the rainwater to a rain garden and/or put in rain barrels for later use. If you need a French drain, we can design that for you.
Fall is the best time to plant; the next best time is spring. Planning can sometimes take a month or more, so plan to meet well in advance of your installation.
A dry stream bed consists of a meandering channel that is lined with various stones such as moss boulders, river rock and gravel for a naturalistic look. A well-designed stream bed is used to control the flow of rainwater through the garden, typically from a downspout or runoff from an impermeable surface like a patio area. It directs the water to a lower area that can handle the volume, such as a flower bed or sod, allowing it to infiltrate slowly into the soil instead of draining to the street or storm drain. This helps reduce flooding, runoff pollution, and the need for irrigation, while also protecting the foundation of the home. It can also be used as a walkway.
A retaining wall is a structure that provides stability and retains soil behind it, usually built on sloping land. Retaining walls can be constructed out of many types of materials, like poured concrete or blocks, bricks, natural rock or boulders.
Soil management on sloped lots is the primary function of retaining walls. They present a barrier that prevents soil from shifting or sliding down-slope, especially when there is heavy rain or lack of trees or other vegetation to hold soil in place. This in turn provides erosion control, controls the flow of water, and creates usable planting space.
Rain Garden FAQ
Simply put, a rain garden is a depression, or swale, in the landscape that collects and stores rain water, allowing it to infiltrate the soil and not run off your property. Planted with the right plants that can thrive in both wet and dry conditions, a rain garden can add beauty and interest to your landscape year round.
Looking at the bigger picture, rain gardens reduce storm water runoff and allow for groundwater systems to recharge. This also reduces your need to irrigate your garden, saving water, money, and effort.
During drought, a rain garden captures every elusive drop to keep our landscapes lush and green. In periods of heavy rain, rain gardens ease the force of flooding and erosion by allowing storm water to infiltrate slowly into the ground.
In the long run, rain gardens also save money by conserving water, and reducing maintenance and energy use. The reduction in the need for chemical controls makes them a healthier environment for everyone: children, adults, and the native wildlife.
Last but not least, rain gardens add an element of natural beauty without the back-breaking effort of a high-maintenance landscape! This is something you can truly enjoy season after season.
Reducing stormwater runoff means less severe flooding, less erosion, less pollution and sediment entering our rivers and lakes and overall less reliance on water to keep our landscapes lush and colorful.
Urbanization has increased the impervious surfaces (roof-tops, concrete, patios, even lawns) in our environment. Water runs right off impenetrable surfaces and into storm drains, picking up chemicals and waste along the way, ultimately contaminating our streams and lakes.
Runoff prevents the recharge of groundwater, as we also lose water for landscape irrigation. Instead we rely on treated municipal water, adding to the demand on an increasingly stressed water supply.
Rain gardens create a natural process of capturing, absorbing and filtering water, so your landscape can take advantage of precious rainfall, and our impact on our stressed Eco-system is minimized.
Although rain gardens can be relatively costly to construct, they often replace maintenance intensive landscape areas, so net costs over time become considerably less than conventional landscapes. In addition, the use of rain gardens can decrease the cost for stormwater conveyance systems at a site. Costs are estimated at $10 to $12 per square foot to construct [source].