This Prairie Garden Design Brings the Midwest to Your Backyard

Summer heat and drought won't faze these tough plants. Plus, pollinators love their blossoms.

If the environmental benefits of native plants haven't persuaded you, the ease of caring for naturally occurring species certainly will: Plants that are already locally established are known for being super hardy and easy to grow—and they attract beauty. Their blossoms and nutritious seeds draw pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. Going local in your garden can only bring good things.

If you live in the Midwest, a native garden means prairie-inspired plantings, as in our stunning prairie garden design, which is chockful of blooming perennials and ornamental grasses indigenous to your part of the country. False blue indigo, prairie blazing star, and little bluestem are just a sampling of the gorgeous natives in this colorful design. Like a true prairie, this garden plan needs full sun. And while the plants will require extra water for the first year to help establish them, they'll usually survive on what nature provides after that.

Prairie Garden plan
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Plants for Creating the Prairie Garden Plan

  • 8 Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), Zones 3-7
  • 3 Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Zones 4-8
  • 1 Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), Zones 4-7
  • 5 Pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida), Zones 4-7
  • 5 Prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya), Zones 4-7
  • 5 Downy phlox (Phlox pilosa), Zones 4-7
  • 6 Wild petunia (Ruellia humilis), Zones 4-7
  • 1 False blue indigo (Baptisia australis), Zone 4-8

If you aren't able to find the exact cultivars listed above, substitute with others that have similar colors, shapes, and sizes. Since some plants can become overly aggressive and spread uncontrollably in certain climates, always check which species are considered invasive in your area before planting.

Download the Free Prairie Garden Plan

The garden plan for this design includes an illustrated version of the planted garden, a detailed diagram of the layout, a list of plants for the garden as shown, and complete instructions for installing the garden. Free, one-time registration allows unlimited access to all garden plans, available as printable PDFs.

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