DO-It-Yourself Garden Design

Do you want to transition your yard to more native plants and less lawn? Make it healthier for the planet and your family, and more wildlife friendly? Do you enjoy the process of figuring things out yourself, or don’t have the funds to hire a garden designer to prepare a plan for you? Here are some DIY resources that can help.

Design Templates

A number of organizations have created guides and design templates for people deciding what to plant and how to arrange plantings.

  • Pollinate Northampton, a project of the Western Mass. Pollinator Network, landscape designer Evan Abramson produced guides and toolkits with several garden designs for different conditions.

  • Lehigh Gap Nature Center in Pennsylvania produced a wonderful little book titled “Native Plants for the Small Yard” with lots of information, ideas, and garden templates. Download a pdf here.

  • Town of Concord, with the help of local landscape professionals, developed simple water-smart garden designs for different conditions.

  • Wild Ones, a national organization headquartered in Wisconsin that focuses on native plants and natural landscapes, and which has a chapter on the South Shore, has produced a garden design for the Boston area.

Other Places to Ask Questions and Learn More

  • The Native Plant Trust is offering an online, self-paced course on “Designing with Native Plantsin fall 2021-winter 2022. Take a look at their other course offerings too.

  • There are a number of Facebook groups that can be great places to ask questions and learn from others. Some to consider are Gardening in Lexington, Mystic Charles Pollinator Pathways, Native Plant Gardens of Southborough, Mass Wild Ones South Shore, Native Plants of New England, and Native Plants of the Northeast

  • The Wild Seed Project in Maine has a monthly Q-and-A for members native plant experts Heather McCargo and Anna Fialkoff.

Please write to us with any other suggestions you have for fellow native plant gardeners! (email:

Professional Design Assistance

If you’d like some professional help, our list of local landscape designers indicates (with an *) those willing to come walk your property with you for an hour, offering advice and answering questions without expectation of further work, for a flat fee of $100.