Wildlife-Friendly Yards & Weed Ordinances: Finding the Balance

Many people who want to create wildlife-friendly landscapes often run into the frustrating hurdle of municipal weed ordinances.

Although created with good intentions, these restrictions can make it difficult to use the plants that are best adapted for the local soils and climate and that provide food and shelter for wildlife. That being said, there are ways that you can manage your native plants and have a beautiful, sustainable yard that supports the local ecosystem without violating ordinances.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind for your yard:
  • Remove any invasive plants or (verified) noxious weeds
  • Use design standards like scale, variety, emphasis, balance, sequence, etc., to create an aesthetically-pleasing and intentional look
  • Tout the benefits of natives—cost savings, lower maintenance, food and shelter sources for wildlife, erosion prevention, runoff control, water conservation, and so on
  • Add borders or trims
  • Use common sense regarding a plant’s height and width (in other words, don’t relinquish all control and DO maintain your natives)
  • Be respectful of your neighbors’ rights
  • Take a 360-degree view so you can envision how plants will look from others’ perspectives
  • Use pervious materials to create defined paths
  • Plan ahead, start small, and notify your neighbors about your intentions
  • Get your yard certified as a Wildlife-Friendly Habitat through our joint program with NWF and post your certification sign!


For more information on managing your natural landscape and weed ordinances, visit the Wild Ones website.