Caring for native plants

This page is under development. We have fun and educational native plant gardening tips, tricks, and videos on the way!


Make sure your native plants are placed in an environment that will ensure they flourish. The seven steps outlined below will help you get started with sustainable landscaping.

1. Find your ecoregion and USDA hardiness zone. Based on ecoregions developed by the EPA, this map describes areas of similarity by ecosystems.

2. Check your soil. Knowing your soil’s physical and chemical composition will help you decide how to keep it healthy and which plants you should use.

3. Learn about your yard’s features: hydrology, topography, existing plants, climate. Spend some time in your yard and note where water flows, how much sun or shade each area gets, and what kinds of plants are there.

If you’re considering a rain garden, you may want to watch these helpful videos on rain garden installations from Purdue Extension. They also have an instructional video on constructing a rain barrel. Both are effective ways to control runoff and erosion and to cut down on artificial watering via hoses and sprinkler systems.

4. Get some advice. Your local soil and water conservation district is a great place to get started. They offer technical assistance, detailed tips, and in some cases, cost-share programs to help cover the costs of transforming to a natural landscape.

5. Find inspiration. Use examples of other natural, sustainable landscaping projects for inspiration.

6. Create a site plan. Wild Ones has some garden planning options that may provide a great place to start.

7. Get Started!  Put your new plan into action and watch your yard transform into a beautiful, healthy habitat.

Additional Resources:

Indiana Wildlife Federation
A Private Landowner’s Guide to Indiana’s Comprehensive Wildlife Strategy
Getting Started With Natives
Planting for a Changing Climate

Natural Resources Conservation Service
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) 
Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP)

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program

DNR, Division of Fish & Wildlife
Game Bird Habitat Development Program
Wildlife Habitat Cost-Share Program