Our residents and business owners recognize that abundant natural plant life is crucial to maintaining a healthy, beautiful, and balanced environment. It is because of this that the City of Ferndale has embraced native natural landscaping.
Councilmember Melanie Piana aided the Ferndale Environmental Sustainability Commission, comprised of resident volunteers, in urging the City to amend the noxious vegetation ordinance, and introduce the idea of Planned Natural Landscaping.
Now, what is Planned Natural Landscaping?
This form of landscaping is comprised of native vegetation found in Michigan. It provides habitat for our pollinators— butterflies, bees, and birds— while also helping reduce stormwater runoff.
Planned natural landscapes can provide better water infiltration, helping to prevent it from entering our combined water system. During heavy rains, stormwater enters the City’s water system combining with the sanitary waste, resulting in combined sewer-water that can overflow downstream. This contaminates our waterways, affecting the health of the water system, residents, infrastructure, and natural habitats.
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.
Check out our FAQ section below for common questions about sustainable landscaping.
New this year, the City has been working on creating yard signs for residents and businesses who elect to have a planned natural landscape. Check out the new design below. If you have registered a planned natural landscape in the past and are interested in a sign, contact the City's Environmental Sustainability Planner Erin Quetell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-336-4361.
Below are a variety of helpful links when considering installing your planned natural landscape.
Developed by the University of Michigan, this guide provides some alternatives to turf grass lawn.
This EPA resource provides a host of information regarding planned natural landscape design.
This resource offers a variety of green stormwater infrastructure designs and installations.
A collaboration of five independently owned nurseries throughout Michigan that grow and sell over 400 species of Michigan native plants and seeds.
Looking for a good plant list? Check out the link above.
Michigan State University has a variety of resources. This link specifically encourages native plantings, and the ecosystem services associated with this type of landscaping, as well as a wonderful plant selection list.
A partnership between I Love Great Lakes, the Sierra Club, and Friends of the Rouge, developed this guide to help Detroit residents install their own raingardens.
This EPA WaterSense guide provides information on how to design your landscape that considers water conservation practices.
The City of Ferndale performs regular water sampling and testing in accordance with the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act, and we continue to surpass water quality standards as mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The City provides comprehensive information about lead, chemicals, and other contaminants. For more information, see below.
Surpasses EPA water quality standards, per GLWA testing
The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) oversees mandatory annual testing of each of their community water suppliers. Most recent testing, courtesy of the 2018 Consumers Annual Water Quality Report, shows levels that once again exceed regulation requirements and standards. To learn more about lead testing and water safety, view Lead and Your Water Supply: An Informational Guide.
Not detected in any water supply, per GLWA testing
The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) oversees mandatory testing of their water supply to ensure that PFAS, or chemical perfluoroalkyl substances, are not present in community drinking water supplies. Most recent testing of water in five sources (Detroit-based Water Works Park, Springwells, and Northeast water treatment plants, Allen Park-based Southwest Water Treatment Plant, and Lake Huron), performed 2222, confirmed that PFAS was not detected at any level/in any water source. You can view the report for more information.
February 2019: The City of Ferndale learned from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (now EGLE) of the discovery of PFAS at the privately owned business property located at 1221 Farrow Street, Ferndale, identified as MacDermid, Inc.—a small chemical manufacturing and warehouse facility. Monitoring occurred at the bases of two former waste lagoons, and contamination appears limited to a small, perched zone of groundwater. The designation of this groundwater prevents it from being used as a drinking water source, and stormwater runoff from the contaminated area is captured and treated before discharge to the GLWA. Because this is a reportedly contained issue on private property, EGLE is working directly with the business/property owner(s) to excavate and re-sample. MDEQ recommended no community outreach at this time; the City has elected to publish this information in an effort to maintain transparency and information.
For more information, view the MDEQ report or contact the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Native plants can include trees, shrubs, grasses, sedges, and flowering plants. Here is a helpful link from Michigan State University Regional Plant List. There are also some species listed below:
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.
View a comprehensive list of the permits you can apply for in Ferndale.