3 Ways to Incorporate Native Meadows Into Your Landscape Design

Written By: Andrew Blanchford

May 3, 2023 7:51:34 AM

Meadows are a naturally occurring element of the Montana landscape. You’ll often see them while driving around the region. They’re one of many things that make our local landscape so special.

But Bozeman, MT homeowners who want backyard meadows will need to ensure some forethought and planning is put into a meadow garden design. Even though you want your meadow to look natural, it could easily become an unruly mess and not the beautiful garden you had in mind, if you don’t plan appropriately.

That’s why we are talking about ways to incorporate a native meadow garden into your landscape design.

#1: Think About the Location

The location of your native meadow garden is a key consideration. Meadows are often used as a way to naturalize a property’s perimeter. This is something that is important to do so that the naturally-occurring landscape blends harmoniously with your designed landscape. The goal is to blend local nature into the new landscape in a seamless fashion.

That being said, a perimeter meadow garden can also pose some challenges. When a wildflower meadow borders the natural landscape, it is more prone to being overrun with weeds. This makes ongoing meadow maintenance really important

firepit and patio surrounded by native plantings and mountain viewA big part of meadow maintenance is knocking back invasive weeds and preventing overgrowth within your meadow. Unwanted and noxious weeds can quickly take over if they aren’t well-controlled. 

Meadow maintenance also involves selective fertilization, similar to what a plant bed would receive. The idea is not to fertilize the weeds, though! You can’t just go out and fertilize the entire garden. It must be a delicate balance of weed control and selective fertilization. 

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Of course, many people want a meadow close enough to their home so that they can enjoy its beauty. Meadows are known to attract local wildlife and you might want to view them at a close but safe distance. All of this can be taken into consideration when planning your meadow garden design.

#2: Choosing the Right Flowers

It’s important that whoever is creating your meadow garden design is carefully selecting the flowers to include. Some species of wildflowers can be invasive and quickly take over the entire meadow. For instance, the Shasta Daisy tends to outcompete other flowers. If you allow it, your meadow could soon be filled with only Shasta Daisies. 

But for many people, the joy of a meadow is the variety! 

walkway surrounded by native meadowAnother problematic scenario we’ve seen in meadows is when wild roses are planted within a wildflower field but in time, rose suckers start to take over. Rose suckers are shoots that “suck” the needed nutrients away from the main rose bush and weaken the plant. This can cause the main part of the rose bush to die and the suckers to completely invade the landscape.

These are reasons why a key aspect of meadow creation is carefully selecting the right flowers and then maintaining what you have. You can certainly have certain invasive varieties of flowers within your meadow, but they’ll need to be carefully controlled.

This means potential problems should be addressed early on. You can’t just let your meadow “go” as it will take on a life of its own.

#3: Plan Ahead for Maintenance

We’ve already hinted at this point a few times in this article, but we really can’t stress enough how important meadow maintenance is. It’s so important, that it’s something you should be considering as early as the design stage. That’s because it’s not worth investing in a meadow garden if you aren’t going to plan to maintain it. It will quickly get overrun with weeds and look messy and unkempt.

We understand that homeowners are interested in low-maintenance landscapes and meadow gardens might seem like they fit the bill. Meadows are low maintenance in the sense that they are made up of native plants that don’t require a lot of care to live and grow. Native plants are drought-resistant and hardy. 

But that’s also why they can often grow out of control. Cutbacks are absolutely necessary for meadows…plus ongoing fertilization and weed control.

Targeting weeds within meadows comes down to knowing what you’re dealing with and addressing it early. This takes quite a bit of horticultural knowledge. While some landscaping companies utilize a blanket weed control spray and just try to knock everything back, this can harm your wildflowers. 

How to approach weeds needs to be a case-by-case decision. If it’s an area that is prone to noxious weeds, getting the most invasive species out first will be key.

Meadows also require reseeding on an annual basis to ensure the constant growth of flowers. You will always naturally lose some flowers to both competition from other plants (wanted and unwanted) and to the local conditions (weather, wildlife, etc.). 

But reseeding every year will ensure that your meadow continues to look healthy and vibrant.


Choosing a Landscape Company Familiar with Meadow Landscape Design (and Maintenance)

If you are seriously interested in a backyard meadow, you want to find a company that not only understands meadow design but can also transition into caring for it. As we have mentioned, the care can sometimes be more complex than the installation.

At Blanchford Landscape Group, we have experience working with wildflower meadows from all angles. We have built them from scratch on a new landscape and then transitioned into maintaining them.

We have also come in to work on an existing wildflower field and help get it back into shape. If it is too far gone, it sometimes makes sense to start over. Sometimes a property had some wildflowers, but it went completely to grass. In time, even ordinary grass plants can outcompete the wildflowers if not dug up to let the wildflowers spread and thrive.

We have many clients who are very happy with their meadows thanks to making smart decisions every step of the way.

A key truly is working with a company that can stick with you, even after your meadow grows and blooms.

At Blanchford Landscape Group, we believe not only in designing and installing beautiful landscapes but in sustaining them, too. That is certainly true for wildflower meadows. We want you to have the peace of mind that your wildflower meadow will continue to offer you the beauty and enjoyment that you wanted from it when you chose to have it installed.

Are you ready to begin the process of creating a landscape with a wildflower meadow that you’ll adore at your Bozeman or Big Sky, MT home? Let’s connect and talk about your project. Then, we can meet and begin talking about your ideas. We can’t wait for you to enjoy your beautiful outdoor space!

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Topics: Landscape Design

Posted by Andrew Blanchford

Andy grew up in southeast Pennsylvania. He holds a Bachelors of Science Degree from Pennsylvania State University in Landscape Contracting. He is a Certified Plant Professional and is the only Certified Landscape Industry Manager in Montana. When not at work he has fun with his family. He also enjoys travel, trail running, skiing, and the great Montana outdoors.