How to Naturalize a Large Property? Several Tips Worth Considering

meadow with poppies - how to naturalize a large property - 6 tips

The land that you buy and what you do with it can significantly impact the environment. Buying land is not just about what your large property looks like but how well it sustains life in general.

If you are thinking of buying a large tract of land, there are several things that you should consider. Prior to purchasing land and naturalizing it you need to explore what to look for when buying land, as well as how to manage your new property such that you can maintain or restore the ecosystems that thrive on it.

There are a lot of factors to consider before buying land, such as: what your long-term plans for it are, the location, your budget, current market trends, how much acreage you want and of course, the type of zoning. Let’s focus on how to naturalize a large property.

Signs of a Healthy Ecosystem

If you are a nature enthusiast looking to buy land, what is important about this property should be how well it sustains life.

Many things that will ensure your property supports a healthy ecosystem. Diverse local plant and animal life, local landforms (like rocks or water sources) and thriving communities of microorganisms are just a few indicators of an ecosystem in balance.

If the land you end up purchasing lacks balance and you want to naturalize it, here are some tips you can try to bring it back into harmony. 

6 Tips for Naturalizing a Large Property

Naturalizing your property is what you do when you want to make it more habitable for plants and animals, as well as people.

Here are six ways to naturalize a parcel of land.

Improve the Soil with Compost or Cover Crops

Rather than using fertilizers on your land, why not go the organic way to make it more fertile and nutrient? Soil is the foundation of a garden, and if you want to give your plants and crops the nutrients they need, composting can be an excellent way to do so. 

Composting is a more natural way to improve your garden’s fertility and strengthen plant roots by holding in moisture while adding nutrients to supplement what’s already in the soil.

Cover crops are also a good option for improving your soil quality and helping in erosion control by adding organic material to what would otherwise be bare ground year-round. Think about what kinds of plants will work best on your property based on what you’re growing there now or the type that does well in the area.

Planting Native Trees, Shrubs and Vines

Planting native trees, shrubs, and vines is another way to improve the balance of your land. These plants will help integrate themselves into local ecosystems while providing a healthy living space for wildlife such as birds.

Weeding out Invasive Species

wild garlic mustard - how to naturalize a large property - 6 tips

Do you ever feel like your garden is in a state of constant war? Well, now there’s hope for finding peace once again.

Invasive weeds are the most common problem that many plants face. English ivy and other invasive species can choke out native plant life with their fast-growing vines or steal nutrients from an area through efficient root systems—which may also mean fewer food sources for animals. 

You can get rid of weeds naturally by removing weed roots by hand, pulling them up, or applying organic herbicides to kill the weeds without harming desirable vegetation.

Practicing Good Water Quality Management Techniques

Everyone knows that a major problem with flooding is when rainwater from streets and roofs flows into waterways.

One way to make your land more water-savvy is to install rain barrels and berms. This will help you reduce surface runoff, which in turn helps maintain the water quality levels of nearby bodies of water such as streams or lakes. You’ll also prevent soil erosion on your property.

Planting Hedgerows Along Borders

Planting hedgerows is one way to make your land look naturally landscaped. These “walls of trees” are a traditional European practice that can be easily incorporated into the landscape for both privacy and protection from wind, wild animals or insects.

Planting evergreen hedges in areas near property lines will add height as well as length, visually increasing containment while blocking views into private spaces. 

The key is to find local specimens that will do the job you need them to do. Plenty of native shrubs offer seasonal color and are resistant to pests and wildlife.

If you’re more concerned about having beautiful flowers, plant non-seeding annuals alongside your native perennial plants—they’ll pop out beautifully without taking root in a permanent way.

Get Rid of the Grass

A simple way to naturalize your land is to ditch the turf grass. Turf grass is a monocrop that depletes your land of its natural range of life forms. Research native plant species that thrive in your area and use those as groundcovers instead.

If you want to keep your large property natural but not untidy, use grass in strategic areas (like children’s play areas) only.

Important Tip: The key thing about naturalizing your property is being patient. It can take up to ten years before a new planting becomes fully established, so you needn’t expect any drastic change in what your landscape looks like after only one or two seasons.

Feature image: Kristina Paukshtite; Image 1: Agata Sochalska

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