What is Naturescaping?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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Naturescaping is a type of landscaping which focuses on the use of native plants to create a garden which works in harmony with the natural environment of the region it is planted in. A number of municipalities and local organizations promote naturescaping, for a wide variety of reasons, and some government agencies have even gotten on board. There are a wide variety of looks which can be accomplished with naturescaping, satisfying the aesthetic desires of very diverse people.

One of the primary advantages of naturescaping is that it is much less resource-heavy than a traditional garden, which often integrates a great deal of exotic plants which require a lot of work to thrive. A naturescaped garden typically requires minimal fertilizer, with gardeners being encouraged to use natural fertilizers like compost and techniques such as mulching to keep the soil healthy. The reduction of chemical fertilizers is beneficial for the surrounding environment.

Naturescaping also requires much less water than conventional gardening. This reduces run-off into neighboring rivers and streams, and it conserves water for more important uses. In areas where water usage is an issue, people may even be given vouchers or tax breaks for putting in a naturescaped garden, as an incentive. These gardens also provide a habitat for native birds, butterflies, and other animals, allowing their owners to interact more directly with the natural world.


Many organizations offer naturescaping classes, for people who are interested in learning more about this gardening technique. During such courses, students usually have an opportunity to visit a variety of naturescaped gardens, to get an idea of the diversity of this landscaping technique and to encourage them to come up with ideas for their own gardens. Naturescaped gardens can also be seen on display at botanical gardens and through the agricultural extension programs of some universities.

Naturescaping is sometimes also referred to as "zeroscaping," in a reference to the minimal impact that this type of gardening is supposed to have. That name should not be taken to imply a boring, bland landscape, however. Depending on its location, a naturescaped garden may be lush and colorful with an assortment of native plant varieties, or it can capture the distinctive beauty of desert plants, including a wide range of desert flowers. Above all, a naturescaped garden will capture the unique natural beauty of the area it is grown in, celebrating local foliage rather than attempting to mimic idealized gardens from other climates and regions of the world.


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Post 2

Just a note from an experienced naturescaper; I recommend planting trees and shrubs in the fall. They will need the winter to establish roots, which will help them make it through a hot summer.

Post 1

My favorite thing about naturescaping is attracting wildlife. It's so fun! In my experience, the best way to attract different animals is to plant in layers. For example, tree followed by small shrubs, followed by flowers. This imitates the animals' natural habitat better and makes them feel welcome!

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