Everyone enjoys a beautiful yard. Not everyone enjoys working in it. For those who would like to attract birds and butterflies with as little effort as possible, there are some simple solutions.
It is a lot less work to plant a few larger plants than a whole lot of small ones. Adding a few native shrubs or trees to your landscaping is easily accomplished, and weeding will be a straightforward affair. Make sure that your plant choices are native, because plants that evolved here are adapted for survival and require no fertilizers, pesticides, or additional watering once established. (They are also the plants that most benefit the ecosystem.) Avoid the need for pruning by choosing shrubs that naturally grow to the right size. Leave fallen leaves in place to create a natural mulch.
Flower gardens will typically require more weeding, but there are ways to minimize work there as well. Almost all of our native garden plants are perennial, meaning you only need to plant them once to achieve years of seasonal blooms. It is much easier to decide what is a weed and what is not if you plant just a few species in well-defined blocks, using plants that have strong and distinctive architecture. Find details and more tips on the Plant NOVA Natives website.
Of course, the ultimate way to save yourself work is to get someone else to do it for you! A landscape design company with expertise in native plants can accomplish in a day what might take you years to get around to on your own. In addition, many landscape designers have been through the Chesapeake Bay Professional Landscaping training program and can help you with erosion and stormwater control. Now is a good time to get on their schedule for a spring planting. You can find a list here.