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Planned Natural Landscaping

Native Plantings

Our residents and business owners recognize that abundant natural plant life is crucial to maintaining a healthy, beautiful, and balanced environment. Because of this, the City of Ferndale has embraced native natural landscaping.  

Mayor Melanie Piana aided this initiative with the Ferndale Environmental Sustainability Commission, a volunteer-led City commission, in urging the City to amend the previous vegetation ordinance and introduce the idea of Planned Natural Landscaping.

What is Planned Natural Landscaping?  

This is a form of landscaping that is comprised of native vegetation found in Michigan.  

Ferndale House with Planned Natural Landscaping

Benefits

Reduces Cost & Maintenance

Native plant landscapes are resilient and self-sufficient. Once established, native plant landscapes need little watering. As a result, these plantings can save up to 90% of the costs of conventional landscaping maintenance by requiring less labor, water, fertilizer, pesticides, and mowing. Traditional, non-native turf grasses to survive within Michigan climates.

Supports Wildlife

Native plant landscapes provide habitats for pollinators, including butterflies, bees, and birds.  

Manages Stormwater

Native landscapes provide better water infiltration by preventing stormwater from entering the City’s combined water system. During heavy rains, stormwater enters the water system and can combine with sanitary waste, which results in combined sewer water that can overflow downstream. This contaminates the water system, resulting in health risks to residents, infrastructure, and natural habitats.

Green stormwater infrastructure provides better water infiltration, helping to prevent water from entering our combined water system. In times of heavy rains, stormwater enters the system combined with the sanitary waste, which can result in combined sewer water that overflows downstream. This contaminates our waterways, making it harder to maintain a healthy water system. 

You can improve your stormwater management by integrating a planned natural landscape, such as a bioswale or rain garden, or installing a rain barrel.

In addition, consider what you use on your lawn. Herbicides and fertilizers, if used improperly, can enter our waterways and contaminate our drinking water. Make sure you follow the instructions on the label to ensure proper application. Interested in more eco-friendly herbicides and fertilizers? Consider organic herbicides and pesticides, or compost instead of chemical fertilizers.

Improves our City

Native landscapes benefit the City, particularly homeowners, by improving water quality, reducing pollution, and conserving water.

Are you interested in installing your own Planned Natural Landscape? Just register your property through this short online form or contact the City's Code Enforcement Department at 248-336-4117.  

FAQs

What is native natural landscaping?

Natural landscaping is the planned planting of native prairie, woodland, and wetland plants as an alternative to turf grass. It incorporates plant life native to our area, plants and flowers that existed here before turf grass lawns were introduced, that thrive with less traditional upkeep than is required of traditional lawns.  

What are the benefits?

There are many benefits to planned natural landscaping. Once established, native plants require little watering and upkeep and tend to resist insects. Homeowners can expect to save on costs associated with traditional lawns—watering, fertilizing, mowing, etc.

Natural landscaping helps control soil erosion, which in turn reduces the cost of stormwater management. Lush native plant life also reduces air, noise, and water pollution, and provides a distinctive and beautiful appearance.

It’s also important to note that native plants benefit and support local birds and wildlife. Natural landscaping creates ideal conditions for hummingbirds, honeybees, and butterflies—all of which are extremely beneficial to our ecosystem and are currently in decline nationwide.  

Does this mean my neighbors can let their lawns fill up with weeds?

No. A weed is any type of plant in the wrong place, such as grass in a flower bed. Dandelions, crabgrass, and other common garden and lawn weeds are actually invasive plants. As has always been the case, the City will not permit random, untended yards or weed overgrowth. Residents who choose to incorporate planned natural landscaping to their yards are required to register with the City. There is no cost, and doing so will allow staff to educate people concerned about ordinance violations.

I'm interested in incorporating native landscaping into my yard—how do I get started?

If you decide that planned natural landscaping is right for you and your yard, start by registering your property with the City. There is no cost, and doing so helps staff to educate people concerned about ordinance violations.

It’s important to do your research and consult a nursery or native landscaping expert before planting. You’ll want to make sure you’re choosing the right plants for your yard and conditions. The Michigan Native Plant Producers organization has a database of area landscapers and nurseries who can help you locate native plants. 

What are some plants native to our area?

Won’t this type of landscaping attract rats?

No. Rats require a food and water source, neither of which native grasses or flowers offer. They tend to be drawn to man-made structures, like sheds, woodpiles, and open-air compost. Keep all pet feed, scraps, compost, and garbage in tightly closed containers.

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