Growing Native Plants in Small Yards

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Show notes:

I am frequently asked about growing native plants in small spaces or in typical suburban yards with HOA or city ordnances. And I’m not the only one who’s getting those questions. I hear and see those same questions being asked throughout the native plant and pollinator communities. That’s why I was so excited to talk to this week’s guest on the Backyard Ecology podcast.

In this week’s episode of the Backyard Ecology podcast, we are talking with Kate Brandes. Kate has worked as a geologist, environmental scientist, native plant program manager, and professor. She has also written the book, Native Plants for the Small Yard: Easy, Beautiful Home Gardens that Support Local Ecology.

Several years ago, Kate worked at the Lehigh Gap Nature Center in Slatington, PA. While there, she oversaw the grant-funded Landscaping for Communities and Wildlife Program. This program was designed to get native plants into the Lehigh Valley community. Their approach drew, not only on gardening and native plants expertise, but also on sociological research on why we make the choices that we make with our yards and gardens. This was a brilliant approach which helped contribute to the program’s success.

During out discussion, Kate and I talk about the program she oversaw, the native plant gardens that were established in public spaces throughout the community, and the book that resulted from the program. The book, Native Plants for the Small Yard, is a valuable, free resource for anyone who is struggling with the questions of how to use native plants in small yards or in a way that is consistent with HOA and other ordinances or guidelines. The approach they took with the Landscaping for Communities and Wildlife Program can also serve as a valuable model for those interested in creating similar initiatives in their own communities.


Episode image:

  • Cover of the book, Native Plants for the Small Yard: Easy, Beautiful Home Gardens that Support Local Ecology
  • Photo credit: Lehigh Gap Nature Center

Backyard Ecology: Exploring Nature in Your Backyard
Nature isn’t just “out there.” It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Hi, my name is Shannon Trimboli, and I am the host of Backyard Ecology. I live in southcentral Kentucky and am a wildlife biologist, educator, author, beekeeper, and owner of a nursery specializing in plants for pollinators and wildlife conservation. I invite you to join me as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. Learn more or subscribe to my email list at

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