• Common Sense Conservation Since 1938
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To promote the conservation, sound management, and sustainable use of Indiana's wildlife and wildlife habitat through education, advocacy, and action.


Getting Started with Sustainable Landscaping:

  1. Find your ecoregion and USDA hardiness zone.

         Plant Maps - Indiana Ecoregions 

         Pollinator.org Planting Guides 

         USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 

  1. Check your soil. Knowing your soil's physical and chemical composition will help you decide how to keep it healthy and which plants you should use. 

    Purdue Extension Service 

    Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District (soil testing)
  2. Learn about your yard’s features: hydrology, topography, existing plants, climate. Spend some time in your yard and note where water flows, how much sun or shade each area gets, and what kinds of plants are there, etc.

    If you're considering a rain garden, you may want to watch these helpful videos on rain garden installations from Purdue Extension. They also have an instructional video on constructing a rain barrel. Both are effective ways to control runoff and erosion and to cut down on artificial watering via hoses and sprinkler systems. 
  3. Get some advice.  Your local soil and water conservation district is a great place to get started. They offer technical assistance, detailed tips, and in some cases, cost-share programs to help cover the costs of transforming to a natural landscape.

    Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservatoin District (backyard conservation) 

    Marion County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (lawn and garden) 

    Other county districts: http://wordpress.iaswcd.org/?p=290

     5.   Find inspiration!  Use examples of other natural, sustainable landscaping projects for              inspiration.

           Lawn Reform 

           ASLA Sustainable Landscapes 

           Native Landscapes by Prairie Restorations Inc. 

           Yard Map Featured Sites 

Want to see native plants at work in the Indianapolis area? Check out these sites: 

  • Central Park, West Park, Founder's Park (Carmel-Clay)
  • Butler University's Cloewes Hall rain garden
  • Geist Christian Church North (Fishers)

     6.  Create a site plan

           Cornell Lab of Ornithology YardMap - This online map maker is useful for everyone, not            just birders.

     7.  Do it!  Put your new plan into action and watch your yard transform into a beautiful,
          healthy habitat. 

Other Resources:

Indiana Wildlife Federation
A Private Landowner’s Guide to Indiana’s Comprehensive Wildlife Strategy

Natural Resources Conservation Service
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) 
Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)
Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP)
Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP)
Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG)

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program

DNR, Division of Fish & Wildlife
Pheasant Habitat Incentive Program
Quail Habitat Incentive Program
Classified Forest and Wildlands Program
Game Bird Habitat Development Program
Wildlife Habitat Cost-Share Program