Here’s the quick and simple plan I drew up for our front yard. The yard has a slight slope to it and faces north. It’s composed of around 150 native prairie plants, almost all drought tolerant. Probably around 60 percent of the plants are grasses, including sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), which provide the bones and backdrop. Wildflowers include purple and pale purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea and E. pallida), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), white and purple prairie clover (Dalea candida and D. purpurea), sky blue aster (Symphyotrichum oolentangiensis), smooth aster (Symphyotrichum laeve), aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium), pasque flower (Pulsatilla patens), rough and meadow blazingstar (Liatris aspera and Liatris ligulistylis) and roundhead lespedeza
Two key aspects of the design:
- No plant should grow much taller than 3 feet. The hope here is that this will appeal to neighbors, keeping the garden from looking “messy” or overgrown.
- No plant taller than 2 feet is within 6 feet of the sidewalk. Again, the purpose here is to negate the idea of “weedy” by not overwhelming with taller plants near pedestrians.