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Landscaping Guide Features Native Plants

A monarch feeds on goldenrod. The new landscaping design series includes a pollinator-friendly border template. Photo: Sam Bland

Those looking to grow native plants in their coastal gardens and yards can get ideas from a new set of landscaping design templates now online through North Carolina Sea Grant’s Coastal Landscapes Initiative.

The 10 templates feature plants native to the North Carolina coast and are divided into two categories: borders and screens. Borders define edges and organize spaces in a yard but also can work as stand-alone gardens. Screens block unwanted views and increase privacy. The new landscaping design series also includes a pollinator-friendly border template.

The full guide, as well as single pages, can be downloaded at The site also provides a worksheet to get started on a particular property.

“Deciding which plants to use can be a challenging task on any property, and can be even more daunting in harsh coastal environments,” said Gloria Putnam, North Carolina Sea Grant’s coastal resources and communities specialist, who oversaw the project. “These designs will help property owners and landscapers with choosing and arranging native plants suitable for their site conditions and needs.

Each design provides ideal site conditions, a detailed planting guide, seasonal bloom or berry color, an illustration of the plantings at maturity and maintenance tips. Designs can be modified to meet lot configurations, and alternative plant choices are suggested for flexibility.

“Spring and summer are a great time to plan for fall and winter planting,” Putnam said. “Assessing site conditions, choosing designs and locating nurseries that carry the plants you want are fun tasks to focus on now, so you are ready to install new landscaping when cool weather returns.”

Site conditions to consider during the summer include sunny versus shady spots; existing trees and structures; how the soil responds to heavy rain or drought; and soil composition.

This resource was created with input from native plant experts and design professionals associated with the Coastal Landscapes Initiative, or CLI, a collaborative effort to encourage nature-enhancing landscaping.

Partners in the initiative include the North Carolina Aquariums at Pine Knoll Shores and Roanoke Island, and the Coastal Dynamics Design Lab at North Carolina State University, among others.

For additional resources such as webinars offering coastal landscaping tips, visit

About the Author

Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.