Incorporating native plants in your lawn is a great way to provide crucial habitat for pollinators, cut down on water usage and costs, and promote the health of our community. Since they are perennial and thrive naturally once established in Northern Illinois, you’ll use less water and money on yard maintenance throughout the summer!
You do not need to use fertilizer, as leaf litter fallen from trees naturally provides nutrients to native plants.
Inorganic pesticides are unnecessary: these plants benefit from insects.
Native prairie plants survive with extensive root systems which add organic matter to soils.
Native wetland plants are adapted to frequent flooding: they improve water drainage and filtration of their surrounding environment. This means planting natives result in less water and less pollution running off into streams and waterways during major rain events. Learn more and find resources for planning rain gardens on the Chicago Botanical Garden’s website.
Native Plant Suggestions
Given the hardiness and adaptability of native plants to our area, there’s always a native plant suited to your outdoor space.
View the list of Northbrook-recommended native plants here.
Start small. No needto completely tear out preexisting gardens. Incorporate native species alongside your existing garden for a beautiful and diverse landscape.
Be patient. You may not see blooms within the first year of planting. For native plants, "first they sleep, then they creep, then they leap"! They need time to establish roots, starting with a period of dormancy in their first year, followed by slow expansion the next year, and eventually vigorous growth.
Choose a range of bloom times. Select native plants that bloom at different times throughout the year for a continuous display of colors and to provide food for wildlife. For blooms from early spring to late fall, consider planting Pasqueflower, Golden Alexander, Beebalm, Purple Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan, New England Aster, and Goldenrod.
Plant in threes. Put three plants of the same species together in clumps, this helps create a visual impact and attracts pollinators.
Create a structural mosaic. Incorporating a range of flowers, shrubs, groundcovers, and grasses in your native plant garden provides visual interest and various habitats for wildlife.
Planting in the parkway? Use the following pamphlet to help you choose the right native plant based on specific site conditions.
Village Hall Demonstration Rain Garden
The Village hopes to lead by example in restoring Northbrook's natural landscape qualities to conserve water and promote pollinators. The garden began in 2011 and is currently being revitalized. Fall 2020 updates on this project are provided here. Any time is a great time to begin planning your native garden. Residents are encouraged to use this guide to native garden planning to get started on transforming your outdoor space into a corridor for wildlife! View the 2022 update here.