Getting Started with Sustainable Landscaping:
- Find your ecoregion and USDA hardiness zone.
Plant Maps - Indiana Ecoregions
Pollinator.org Planting Guides
USDA Plant Hardiness Zones
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
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,
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