Home owners should be concerned not only about the aesthetics of their landscapes, but also about the content.
I am going to go ahead and say this in spite of my friends in the landscape industry who think otherwise:
All landscaping should be done using only plants native to the area.
I trust that they will forgive me for swimming against the tide. Many of them are coming to agree, and I suspect that many more will follow as the weight of science and public opinion come to bare.
There are at least 3 very good reasons why:
Native landscapes help the homeowner
Native plants do well in landscapes because they are native. It is really that simple. Because natives have become established over hundreds of years, they have adapted to the conditions in which they grow, and are therefore resistant to native pests, acclimated to local weather patterns, including rainfall, and are comfortable with the fertility levels of their native soils. This means little expense in the areas of irrigation, labor, pest control, and fertilizer.
By contrast, non native plants are generally ill suited to one or more of those climatic factors. They may flounder and require much more of one element or other, requiring more time, effort, and expense than their native counterparts. On the other hand, they may flourish in the new environment to the point of dominating it. Expenses rise in relation to the difficulty of keeping such plants alive, or keeping them from taking over the landscape.
Native landscapes help the environment
Because native plants in the home landscape require little beyond what nature affords them, the elements which are typically thought to be damaging to our environment are needed less often, if at all. The impact of introducing fewer pesticides, less fertilizer, and less wasted water spread out over millions of home lawns throughout the country would be a positive step toward easing the strain on our planet.
Introduced plants may not only add more of a strain to resources that can be ecologically damaging, but they may also escape into the wild and cause problems with the environmental ballance in an area. There are many cases where they have done so. Invasive species have developed near mono-cultures in many areas, removing both native plant life and the animals that depended on them for survival.
Native landscapes do both at the same time
Native landscaping saves money and help the environment simultaneously. There are few examples of such synergy in most fields It is the perfect marriage of good economic and environmental policy for the home owner.