“I’m looking for design tips to make my landlord less interested in [weed-whacking] my native plant garden,” the Redditor said in their post on r/NativePlantGardening. “This is my first project as a native plant gardener so my knowledge of how to do ‘landscaping’ with these plants is limited.”
The Redditor shared two photos: one of the left side of their porch steps and one of the right side. Each has a garden bed marked out with a wooden border, but where the right side is lush and full of white and orange flowers, the left side is sparse, with only one mature plant blooming.
“You can guess which one my landlord has gotten to with the [weed whacker] the last two times he’s come around to do lawn care,” said the original poster. “I have all the same plants on each side, but the left hasn’t been able to grow since the only thing tall enough not to get whacked has been the milkweed.”
Milkweed is a great start for a native plant garden since it gives endangered monarch butterflies a place to lay their eggs and their caterpillars food to eat. Also, like other native plants, it’s easy and cheap to grow since it doesn’t need much extra water.
But the original poster wanted the freedom to fill in the second garden bed with violets, yarrow, bluestem, phlox, and other natives. Sadly, landlords and HOAs often stand in the way of such money-saving and eco-friendly plans. It takes dedicated effort to change an HOA’s established rules.
Commenters offered some great advice for making the bed look intentional, instead. “Impress him with ‘less is more’: fewer plants, greater separation, and a mulch for contrast,” said one user. “Add ID tags for each plant if you want to take it a step further.”
“You can have a very dense planting that looks very clean and intentional just by giving it the contrast of a good border,” suggested another Redditor.
“Plus-one to making it inconvenient to weed whack/mow,” said a third user. “I threw in a gnome, shepherds hook with a feeder, some rocks, seed trays with labels, potted plants, and plant stakes.”
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