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Natural landscaping is a minimalist strategy for beatifying the grounds of homes or professional buildings. The basic technique of natural landscaping is not to simply allow a space to return to its natural state, but instead to design a garden, yard, or grounds so that it is in harmony with nature. The design of natural landscapes is one that imitates areas found in nature such as meadows, wildflowers, trees, plants, and native grasses. This design technique creates environments that are easy to maintain and have economic and environmental benefits. Among these is a marked reduction in mowing of traditional lawns, water consumption, and fertilizer use and the restoration of habitat.
The use of xeriscaping (landscaping that maximizes water conservation) as a form of natural landscaping can reduce water use by two-thirds. It also means that in times of drought the natural landscape area will be more drought resistant than landscapes that use plants that require much more care and water.
Professional landscapers who seek to achieve a natural look will use native species to hide utility buildings or other work areas. They will also work with holes or other unsightly areas to fashion them into an area that looks like a natural park. If the area to be landscaped is small, then the design will use borders that create a natural feel to the landscape area. In addition using plants native to the area can create privacy screens that give the feeling that the home or residence is sheltered in a remote wooded area when it is actually in a suburban or urban area.
Natural landscaping design techniques create shady, hidden places that add not only interest to small areas but also habitat for birds and other small mammals such as chipmunks and squirrels.
With planting of perennial native grasses and flowers, these animals will find abundant feed. Natural rocks from the property or imported from close by can also beautify islands of trees or the borders of plantings.
- Mark Benedict and Edward T. McMahon. Green Infrastructure: Linking Landscapes and Communities (Island Press, 2006);
- Kathleen Norris Brenzel, , Western Landscaping (Sunset Books, Incorporated, 2006);
- Paul Hellmund and Daniel Smith, Designing Greenways: Sustainable Landscapes for Nature and People (Island Press, 2006).