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Native Garden Designs

Native Garden Designs

Native Garden Designs to Attract Specialist Bees of the Northeast

Landscape Interactions located in Western Massachusetts works with Pollinator Pathway organizers (individuals, communities, and municipalities) to design restoration plantings and pollinator action plans with a focus on planting for specialist bees and. Below are project designs and plant lists done for projects in CT & MA that are available for download, use and sharing.  Learn more at this recorded webinar about the McKeon Farm project in Ridgefield, CT.


Planting toolkits from projects commissioned from Landscape Interactions along the Pollinator Pathway:

The Green Corridor  (Westport, CT)

McKeon Farm  (Ridgefield, CT)

Pollinate Northampton (Northampton, MA)

Egremont Pollinator Pathway (the Berkshires, MA)

Lincoln Pollinator Action Plan (Lincoln, MA)

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For Small Yards

Native Garden Designs for Small  Yards

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Container Plantings 

These containers were used by the Ridgefield CT Pollinator Pathway along Main Street, but they would work for apartment owners, on patios, or even as window boxes. 


The 2'x2'x4' containers came from Walpole Outdoors 

They are in part sun and are out all year.  Most perennials come back each year without any problems. 


These boxes have succession planting, so there is something blooming all 3 seasons—plus a small red cedar tree and Christmas fern in winter. 


Plantings should be tailored to the site conditions, but Ridgefield uses:

  • asters

  • phlox (early blooming)

  • euphorbia

  • agastache

  • allium

  • silvery sedge

  • purple love grass 

  • slender goldentop (Euthamia) (early blooming)

  • coreopsis 

  • annual flowering herbs as fillers

  • spring bulbs are an option for early spring


Additional Container Plants

Recommended by the Audubon Society for Birds and Butterflies:

  • blue-eyed grass

  • Canadian ginger

  • little bluestem

  • switchgrass

  • dicentra

  • trumpet honeysuckle

  • three-toothed cinquefoil

  • cardinal flower (both colors but the red needs more moisture)

  • lyre-leafed sage (salvia lyrata)

  • dwarf joe-pye weed

  • low bush blueberry 

  • mountain mint (muticum)


Recommended by Greenwich Botanical Center (click on the images below for more information)


Tips for Success: 

Line the bottom of the container with weed fabric--this keeps the soil from leaking out of the bottom and making a mess.  You can use large pine bark nuggets in the bottom (if the containers are deep) instead of soil.  They are lighter and cheaper. On top of the nuggets, use a good quality organic planting mix and fill it to about 1 1/2"-2" from the top (including plantings).  Add some Plant Tone fertilizer and a little light mulch on the top.  Mulching over the winter is a good idea.  

Wild Ones Native Garden Designs

This site provides practical, educationally-sound information on native landscaping developed specifically for first-time native plant gardeners looking for help getting started.

The site also features a growing number of free, downloadable native garden designs created by professional landscape designers for multiple ecoregions in the United States, taking into account various light, soil and moisture conditions.

The Great Barrington Pollinator Action Plan is an educational toolkit that could be picked up by anyone in the northeast region of the United States, and likely provide enough information to identify and prioritize sites, and implement pollinator habitat in those areas. Anyone with access to a piece of land or sidewalk strip can use this plan. Click on the image below for more information.

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Water Conservation and Xeriscaping


Xeriscape design is water efficient landscaping that relies on native plants that are drought tolerant. In Connecticut and New York, water has always been plentiful, but climate change and development are putting new pressure on water supplies. We are taking more and more water from our rivers and streams to water our lawns and gardens.  40% of the water we use in Southwest CT is used outdoors--in the summer that number jumps to 70%. 

More information on xeriscape landscaping.

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Norwalk Pollinator Pathway partners, the Rowayton Gardeners, have planted a model xeriscape garden at Bayley Beach in Rowayton, CT, pictured here.

Here is the plant list they used.

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