Considerations for Your Garden When Living Next to Nature


Living next to a natural area offers a unique opportunity to blend your garden seamlessly with the surrounding environment. This assimilation not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your space but also promotes ecological harmony. Here’s how to effectively design your garden and boundaries when living next to nature:

1. Understanding the Environment

Study the Ecosystem:

  • Native Flora and Fauna:Identify the native plants, trees, and wildlife that inhabit the adjacent natural area. Understanding the local ecosystem helps in selecting compatible plants for your garden.
  • Soil and Climate:Analyze the soil type and microclimate conditions. This knowledge guides you in choosing plants that will thrive in your garden and complement the natural surroundings.

Preserving the Natural Landscape:

  • Minimal Disturbance:Plan your garden layout to minimize disruption to the natural habitat. Preserve existing trees, shrubs, and other vegetation as much as possible.
  • Buffer Zones:Create buffer zones with native plants between your garden and the natural area. These zones provide a transition space that supports wildlife and maintains ecological balance.

2. Designing with Natural Boundaries

Living Boundaries:

  • Hedges and Trees:Use native trees and shrubs to form natural boundaries. Species like hawthorn, elderberry, or hazel provide privacy and support local wildlife.
  • Wildflower Meadows:Plant wildflower meadows at the edges of your garden. These meadows attract pollinators and enhance biodiversity.

Water Features:

  • Ponds and Streams:If feasible, incorporate natural water features like ponds or streams into your garden. They provide habitat for aquatic life and add a soothing element to your landscape.
  • Rain Gardens:Design rain gardens to manage runoff and support native wetland plants. This sustainable practice enhances your garden’s ecological value.

Natural Fencing:

  • Brushwood Fences:Use brushwood or woven willow fences to create boundaries that blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings. These fences are eco-friendly and visually appealing.
  • Stone Walls:Build low stone walls using local materials. Stone walls offer durability and provide habitats for small animals and insects.
  • Deer Fencing:In areas with high deer populations, consider installing deer fencing to protect your garden. Opt for deer fencing installation that is at least 8 feet high to deter deer.

3. Plant Selection and Landscaping

Native Plants:

  • Diversity:Select a diverse range of native plants to create a resilient and low-maintenance garden. Native plants are adapted to local conditions and support local wildlife.
  • Seasonal Interest:Choose plants that provide attraction throughout the seasons. Consider spring blooms, summer foliage, autumn colors, and winter structures.

Wildlife-Friendly Features:

  • Birdhouses and Feeders:Install birdhouses and feeders to attract and support bird populations. Place them in locations that offer safety from predators.
  • Insect Hotels:Create insect hotels using natural materials like wood, straw, and stones. These structures provide shelter for beneficial insects.

4. Sustainable Practices

Organic Gardening:

  • No Chemicals:Avoid chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Use organic alternatives and compost to enrich the soil naturally.
  • Mulching:Apply mulch to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and improve soil health.

Water Conservation:

  • Rainwater Harvesting:Install rain barrels to collect and use rainwater for irrigation. This practice conserves water and reduces reliance on municipal sources.
  • Drip Irrigation:Use drip irrigation systems to supply water directly to plant roots, minimizing waste and promoting efficient water use.

5. Creating Harmony with Wildlife

Habitat Enhancement:

  • Nesting Sites:Provide nesting boxes for birds and bats. Ensure they are placed at appropriate heights and locations.
  • Shelter:Create piles of logs or rocks to offer shelter for small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

Pollinator Support:

  • Pollinator Gardens:Plant flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Species like lavender, coneflower, and milkweed are excellent choices.
  • Avoid Disturbance:Limit disturbances during nesting and breeding seasons. Respect the natural rhythms of wildlife in your area.

6. Aesthetic Integration

Blending Design Elements:

  • Color Palette:Use a natural color palette that reflects the hues of the surrounding landscape. Earth tones, greens, and subtle floral colors create a cohesive look.
  • Natural Materials:Integrate natural materials like wood, stone, and gravel in your garden design. These materials harmonize with the natural environment.

Viewpoints and Pathways:

  • Scenic Views:Design your garden to highlight scenic views of the natural area. Create seating areas or viewpoints where you can enjoy the beauty of nature.
  • Natural Pathways:Use natural materials like wood chips, gravel, or stepping stones for pathways. These materials blend with the environment and provide easy access.


Living next to nature offers a unique opportunity to create a garden that seamlessly combines with the surrounding environment. By understanding the local ecosystem, using natural boundaries, selecting native plants, and adopting sustainable practices, you can design a garden that enhances biodiversity and supports wildlife. Incorporating deer fencing and other protective measures ensures your garden remains vibrant and undisturbed. This harmonious approach not only beautifies your space but also fosters a deeper connection with nature, making your garden a serene and sustainable sanctuary.