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If you do not want to spend your weekends maintaining a yard, turn part of it into a wildflower garden. Depending on where you live, this could be a prairie, desert landscape, or alpine garden. Check on local zoning ordinances. Some communities have not yet recognized value of "native landscaping" and may consider this a nuisance area. If you want a more maintained yard, consider ground covers instead of grass and use mulch to control weeds in foundation plantings and flower beds.
When selecting plants, make sure they are adapted to your area. Consider both minimum and maximum temperatures, amount of moisture, amount of sunlight, and soil characteristics. Ask yourself: Do you want an annual that will need replanting every year or a perennial that comes up year after year? Do you want cut flowers for inside your home or to give to friends?
Consider native plants. They are usually better adapted to local conditions and need little maintenance. Be cautious about introducing exotic species such as purple loosestrife that will become invasive and is prohibited in many states.
Above all, choose what you like. There is an enormous variety of plants that will provide food and shelter to a wide variety of wildlife. With a little planning, you and local wildlife can both enjoy yard of your dreams.
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