1. Find the right plant
Guide to Native Plants for Northern Virginia
Of course, the very best place to start your native garden is the official Native Plants for Northern Virginia guide. These plants are naturally beautiful, enhancing your property and requiring less care while benefiting birds, butterflies and pollinators. The guide also includes a quick reference section on best planting conditions. You can also order a print copy from our store.
Native Plant App
Find the perfect Northern Virginia native for your planting needs.
2. Get Help – Consult Audubon at Home
If you are interested in creating a wildlife sanctuary on your own land, volunteers from Audubon at Home will consult with you for no charge at your house, business, faith community or other property. Once you have documented visits by wildlife, your property will be added to the growing list of certified sanctuaries.
3. Get started with these plants
Add valuable natural habitat with these beautiful additions to your yard!
4. Design Inspiration
Pollinator Garden for Sun
Larger Pollinator Garden for Sun
Click on the gallery below to expand the image.
Mailbox Garden Plan by Elisa Meara, President, Native Plant Landscape Design
The Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources has published a Green Book of the (Chesapeake Bay Watershed) Buffer, aka the GBB. Follow the link for a variety of garden plans.
5. Deer: a common problem
Protect your plants! Here are seven ways to keep deer away from your plants.
1. Fencing. The only completely reliable protection is a fence. Six feet might do, eight feet is safer. Home supply stores sell a tough black plastic mesh in rolls for this purpose which is nearly invisible when seen from a distance and which can be attached to trees or posts.
2. Temporary enclosures. Newly planted trees and shrubs may be protected by cages made out of wire fence cloth.
3. Netting. Netting over the garden bed is relatively effective, but can be a nuisance. Birds and other animals may get caught in it.
4. Repellants. It works best to use multiple strategies at once and to rotate products periodically.
5. Smelly sprays. Usually based on "putrescent egg solids," sometimes mixed with other oils such as rosemary or lavender, and a spreader sticker. Must be re-applied periodically, usually every 30 days.
6. Granules such as Deer Scram. These are applied to the ground monthly.
7. Capsaican tablets. These are put into the ground in spring. As the plant grows, the roots take up the capsaicin, which makes the leaves less palatable.
Search for plants that are relatively deer-resistant with our Native Plant Finder App.
This book includes:
A description of the connection between native plants and local ecology;
Guidance on flower garden designs for your yard, including nine different design templates you can use and/or modify as you wish;
Advice on installing and maintaining a flower garden; and
Information on the best native plants for small spaces, as well as visual guides for common yard weeds and invasive plants.
Use this book if you’re interested in beautiful gardens that are easy to manage and beneficial to the health and well being of your family, community, and local environment.