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Landscape Theme

Native Garden

Landscape Location


Native/ Woodland Garden


The garden is located on a sloping, pie-shaped suburban lot and composed of different zones around the house. The higher backyard is bordered by a long-narrow natural area with mature hardwoods separating two large South Durham subdivisions governed by Homeowner Associations and the front yard, initially landscaped with typical builder foundation shrubs and ornamental trees like Burford hollies and Bradford pear has a small grass lawn. Over the course of a few weekends from 2018 and 2020, all invasive species were removed by hand or tool and without herbicide use. Native plants were added in the spring and fall or emerged on their own after the invasive plant cover was removed. The lawn area was significantly reduced by planting native trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and vines and enlarging a perennial bed along the front entrance, and the addition of a rain garden. A yard with only 33 native plants and much of it covered by 10 of the 17 most invasive species, was transformed into a more colorful, diverse, busy with wildlife and natural-looking yard with close to 100 native species. Different types of mini-gardens or garden rooms were developed based on nature’s tendencies and their predominant sun exposure in the yard. The result is a woodland/moss garden on the north side with abundant wildflowers; a wildflower meadow-like garden with an adjacent rain garden on the south side; and a drought-tolerant ‘driveway-garden’ in the front yard. Edible plants like tomatoes, peppers, and basil are grown amongst the perennials and shrubs in the foodscape along the south side and front of the house.


Photo A: Plants in South-facing sideboard in full sun (Photograph taken on June 16, 2021):

  • Mountain mint (Pycnanthemum) white flowers, 

  • Purple milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens) is almost done flowering, 

  • Passion flower (Passiflora incarnate) for both a ground cover and trellis vine and currently flowering;

  • Beautyberry hedge in background (Callicarpa americana) flowering but very small flowers, purple berries in the fall;

  • White American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana var. lacteal) not flowering just planted spring 2020, white berries in fall;

  • Yucca (Yucca filamentosa) flowering finished the weekend before this photograph was taken.

  • Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginiana) finished flowering but this plant has attractive green olive-shaped berries this time of year. However, the squirrels ate them.