Save the Bees!

A border of wildflowers exists between the lawn and barn at The Finger lakes Museum. Photo by Helen Sullivan Heizyk

Protect our water! Promote pollinators! Plant trees for clean air!

All these mantras are important for us to survive. So how do we design our landscapes with a purpose? Do less. Reduce your lawn. Create a border that transitions from a formal lawn to naturalized meadows. Use native plants that host a variety of beneficial insects that are necessary for the birds’ survival.

Design with what you have. Expand the beds around trees and plant layers. Add a few shrubs and perennials that spread to reduce the maintenance. There are many assertive, colorful, native plants to choose from. They will crowd out weeds, filling the new bed, which requires less mulch. Don’t deadhead the flowers. Leave them for the birds. A quick spring pruning is all that is needed for the garden to look maintained.

Connect the trees and shrubs for less mowing. Large mowed areas can be converted into a meadow by just not mowing. The design of the border is critical, so it looks intentional vs. unkempt.

Cut pathways through the gardens and meadows, which give you a sense of welcoming and connection to nature.

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