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Backyard Habitats



Bring nature into your yard by creating a Backyard Habitat.  Native plant gardens provide food for

native animals and reduce stormwater runoff better than traditional lawns do.



Restore Natural Habitat

Habitat loss is the largest threat to plants and animals throughout the world.  You can restore some of that lost habitat by creating a sanctuary for local animals and yourself!  Native plants provide valuable resources for animals, such as food, shelter, and a place to raise their young.  You can attract birds, butterflies and other animals to your yard by planting a variety of native flowers, trees, and shrubs.


Protect the Streams

Traditional lawns of shallow-rooted grass cannot absorb excess water from rain storms. Stormwater washes into storm drains, then into local streams carrying soil, fertilizers, and other pollutants with it.  Native grasses and flowers have much deeper roots that can hold more stormwater in the soil, limiting runoff.  Native plants are also adapted to local soil and weather conditions, so they require little watering and fertilizer. 




Backyard Habitat Workshops

Come learn about the benefits of native plants and rain gardens from Rock Creek Conservancy. Attend a short course (approximately one hour) on the many benefits of native plants for local animals, stream health, and your wallet!  Immediately following the course, gain hands-on experience by planting a demonstration garden completely with native plants. Check our events page for upcoming workshops. 


If you would like to learn more about creating your own Backyard Habitat,

come to one of our workshops and also check out these resources:


Backyard Habitat Resources

Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection: Rainscapes 

     Rebate program in Montgomery Co., MD for landscaping that reduces stormwater runoff

District Department of the Environment: Riversmart Homes

     Rebate program for Washington, DC for landscaping that reduces stormwater runoff

Maryland Department of Natural Resources: Wild Acres

     Program from Maryland Department of Natural Resources with instructional factsheets

Audubon at Home: Conservation Gardening 

     Instructions for conservation gardening

National Wildlife Federation: Garden for Wildlife

     Instructions and certification program for conservation gardens, schoolyards, and communities

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service: Backyard Conservation

     Tip sheets that adapt agricultural conservation practices for your home

USFWS Chesapeake Bay Field Office: Bayscapes

     Instructions for conservation landscaping

EPA Mid-Atlantic Region: Green Landscaping

     Instructions for environmentally friendly landscaping

Native Plant Center: Plant List

     Searchable list of native plants divided by plant type, sun exposure, soil, and rainfall