Small Space, Big Impact: Native Prairie Yards

MNL (Minnesota Native Landscapes) Restoration Ecologist Dan Tix shares the multifaceted benefits of bringing prairie habitat into small spaces. MNL is a Blue Thumb partner and sponsor.

Planting a native garden is good for the earth, good for you, and easier to take care of than a lawn. 

There are many good reasons to convert your turf lawn into a native prairie or native wildflower garden. First, small native gardens are more interesting and diverse than a lawn or formal landscaping. Urban and suburban residential areas are inhospitable habitats for wildlife, pollinators, and birds. Native plants provide the best benefits for native wildlife, pollinators, birds, and soil biology.  Even a small patch of native wildflowers and grasses can provide a lot of life to a lifeless landscape. The more people that do this, the greater impact it will have, benefiting pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. 


Photo Credit: Minnesota Native Landscapes

Taking care of a small native prairie gives you a good reason to get outside, learn about nature, and enjoy your yard. Call it a prairie, a pollinator planting, a native shade garden or whatever you like—now is a great time to plant a wild native garden. Do it for yourself, for the earth, or just because you are tired of mowing and raking.

When mature, native prairies and gardens do not require watering, fertilizer, or regular mowing; compared to lawns, they use less energy to maintain. Every season and every year, native gardens change a little as they grow more robust, become more diverse, and support more life that you didn’t even know existed in your area. You will see plants you have never seen before, insects (mostly harmless) that are surprisingly colorful, and birds you would never see in a mown lawn.

— Dan Tix, Restoration Ecologist, MNL


About Minnesota Native Landscapes:

Photo Credit: Minnesota Native Landscapes

For over 20 years, MNL (Minnesota Native Landscapes) has been creating and restoring habitat across the upper Midwest. As a leading grower, installer, and manager of native plant ecosystems, MNL offers plenty of options for habitat creation projects. They include native seed mixes like the Pollinator Dry Mesic Seed Mix, packed full of flowers for a variety of blooms in the spring, summer, and fall time. They have a bee lawn, rusty patched bumble bee, and even a songbird mix to attract wildlife to your backyard.

They also offer native live plant kits. These trays of 36 local origin native plants include 6 species carefully curated by the experts in their greenhouse. They also have a build-a-kit option for people to select their own combination of plants. Everything is available at, with free ask-an-expert help during business hours.

MNL (Minnesota Native Landscapes) is a Blue Thumb Partner and sponsor.

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