In today’s ever evolving world, our living environments often lack connection to the natural world. Our yards and gardens may look attractive, but they often require constant maintenance and resources to keep them that way. Rewilding your living space is a way to reconnect with nature, create a more sustainable and low-maintenance environment, and promote a healthier ecosystem for both humans and wildlife. This guide will provide you with the steps to create a more ecologically balanced and vibrant living space.
Step 1: Understand Your Current Living Environment
Assess Your Climate
Before you begin rewilding your living space, it’s essential to understand the climate in which you live. Familiarize yourself with your local climate by researching average temperatures and rainfall patterns. Determine your location on the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zones and Köppen Climate Classification maps to help you select appropriate plants for your area.
Explore Your Local Ecosystem
Spend time exploring local nature preserves, demonstration gardens, and attending home tours, walks, and lectures offered by your area’s native plant society. This will help you learn about the plants native to your region and understand how they interact with each other and their environment. Take note of the plants you find appealing, their growing conditions, and any companion plants they may have.
Observe Your Yard
Pay close attention to your yard’s specific characteristics, such as light exposure, airflow, and water movement. This will help you determine the planting zones suitable for different plants. Also, conduct a soil test to better understand the soil composition and structure in your yard. Use this information to develop a planting plan that works with your yard’s unique conditions.
Step 2: Design Your Living Environment
Consider Your Priorities
When designing your rewilding living environment, consider both nature’s needs and your personal preferences. If low maintenance is a priority, select plants with minimal care requirements. If flooding is a concern, consider incorporating a rain garden or trees that thrive in wet conditions. For those interested in attracting wildlife, choose plants that provide food and shelter for various species.
Choose Your Plants
Native perennials are an excellent choice for a more stable, low-maintenance landscape. They are essential for supporting local wildlife, as many insects and animals rely on native plants for sustenance. Additionally, planting a variety of trees can significantly impact local habitat and rainwater absorption.
Source Your Plants Responsibly
When purchasing plants for your rewilding your living environment, be sure to buy from a reputable nursery that takes local eco-types into account. This ensures that the plants you purchase are well-suited for your region’s specific climate and conditions.
Step 3: Prepare the Site and Install
Remove Invasive Species
Before planting, identify and remove any invasive species from your yard. Invasive plants can quickly spread and reduce the ability of your living space to support native wildlife. Hand pulling is the preferred method for removing invasive species, but professional help may be necessary for more established plants.
Begin by focusing on a small area of your yard, no larger than 150 square feet. This will allow you to maintain a manageable project and ensure a well-executed rewilding process.
Work with Existing Soil
Rather than amending your soil to make it more fertile, work with the existing soil and choose plants that are adapted to those conditions. This will result in a more resilient, low-maintenance landscape that suppresses weeds naturally.
Cover the Ground
To establish a low-maintenance landscape, plant your garden densely with desirable plants. This will help to suppress weeds and create a more stable environment. Landscape plugs or seeds are a cost-effective way to achieve this goal, but mulching may be necessary during the establishment phase.
Step 4: Maintain Your Living Environment
Give It Time to Establish
The establishment phase for rewilding a living environment typically takes about two years. During this time, monitor plant growth and make necessary adjustments to help your plants find balance and outcompete weeds.
Once established, your living environment will require seasonal maintenance, such as deadheading shrubs for more blooms or cutting back perennial grasses. Occasional weed control will still be necessary, but the dense ground cover provided by your plants will help suppress weed growth.
Mow Your Lawn Responsibly
When mowing your lawn, learn the appropriate mowing height for your specific grass type and never remove more than one-third of the blade at once. This promotes healthier grass growth and allows for natural nutrient recycling. Consider using a reel or electric mower for a more environmentally friendly option.
Grass typically requires one inch of water per week during the growing season. In many regions, supplemental irrigation may not be necessary if you are willing to accept temporary dormancy during drought periods. Most grass varieties can tolerate drought stress better than commonly thought.
Step 5: Enhance Aesthetics and Functionality
Frame Your Space
Incorporate simple and tidy design elements, such as fences, curbs, or mowed edges, to frame your rewilding. This creates a sense of intention and care, making your yard more visually appealing.
Plan for Seasonal Shifts
When designing your living environment, consider the seasonal changes in plant color and appearance. Create visually striking displays by incorporating plants that bloom at different times throughout the year.
Step 6: Observe and Adapt
As you go through the process of rewilding your living environment, be prepared for some plants to thrive while others may struggle. Embrace the idea that your garden is an ongoing process, not a static installation. Continually observe and adapt your space to better support its evolving ecosystem.
Step 7: Support Wildlife
Provide water sources at varying depths and heights to accommodate different species’ needs. Regularly change the water to keep it fresh and clean for your local wildlife.
Step 8: Create Habitat Layers
Incorporate a variety of plants that provide different habitat layers, such as ground cover, small shrubs, large shrubs, small trees, and large trees. This diversity will attract and support various species of wildlife.
Step 9: Use Native Plants for Erosion Control
Native plants are excellent for erosion control, as their deep root systems help stabilize soil. Incorporate native plants on slopes and other erosion-prone areas to prevent soil loss and improve water absorption.
Step 10: Educate and Inspire Others
Share your rewilding journey with friends, neighbors, and community members to help inspire others to create more sustainable and ecologically balanced living spaces. Offer tours of your rewilding and share your experiences and knowledge to promote a healthier relationship with our natural environment.
In conclusion, rewilding your living environment is an ongoing process that benefits both humans and wildlife. By understanding your land, designing your space with intention, and fostering a thriving ecosystem, you create a sustainable, low-maintenance, and beautiful environment that connects us to nature.
It is our wish that you find this post enlightening and helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions, we love to hear from you in the comments below. Also, kindly accept our invitation to join our group on Facebook to surround yourself with kindred spirits and post your encouraging messages.