1. Active gardeners with no time. A native garden is much easier to maintain. Normal maintenance of a native garden after the third year is about 2 hours per acre per month.
When older gardeners with the will but with physical limitations change to native backyard gardening they're shocked to find they can garden again! Natives can be maintained by professionals with a commercial schedule of once every month or two. The homeowner can help with 1 hour of dead-heading or minor weeding a week.
2. Fire. In many fire prone areas a minimal landscape with site specific natives is the best defense against wild fires.
3. Deer and other wildlife are generally a plus in native gardens, not a problem. You can watch them cruise through your front door, down the side walk to the backyard and hop the fence into the neighbors yard, never eating a plant in your garden.
4. Water. Many of our jobs have had no water on site. Many of our plantings have never been watered, ever. Other native gardens are being watered once a week. A native garden can be designed to be either totally drought tolerant or very similar to a conventional garden. California is very diverse, and a native garden can be really wild if you wish it.
5. The environmental pluses include:
a. Native Wildlife can live in the garden, backyard, patio and you can enjoy them!
b. Non-native wildlife go and bother the neighbors. (Rats come to mind.)
c. Much lower inputs. The landscape becomes self
tolerant and easy care maintenance.
d. In many areas the only sites left for the rare insects (notably butterflies) are the backyard native landscapes. In some areas of California there are no 'wild' native sites within 5-10 miles of the native landscaping. We have seen hundreds of butterflies in small backyards or even busy street corners. The butterflies and hummingbirds don't care much. At dusk one planting of manzanitas was alive with moths of all things. What was really cool was that they all moved in unison as I moved. I couldn't figure it out for a while as there were at least a thousand or more, all the moths moved 1-2 feet over every time I stepped forward. The illusion was the 50 foot hedge moved 2-3 feet. If you experience this once, life changes.
Although we are still landscape contractors(#345678), we went inactive a few years ago. Sorry, the last job we actually install was more than 20 years ago. Our residential jobs ranged from 20-30 ft. to 2 acres. Our first native landscaping job was in 1974 in a backyard in San Luis Obispo.Residential Landscaping
More examples see our Native Garden Examples.
The native garden plant selector