If you’ve lived in Indiana for any time, you’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase, “if you don’t like the weather in Indiana, wait a minute.” Landscaping in an area with temperature swings can be challenging. An unexpected frost or hot, dry summer day can quickly damage or kill your favorite plants. And if you’ve come from another part of the country and want to have the same softscaping replicated here, you’ll soon discover why it’s not a good idea. 

However, by choosing native Indiana plants for landscaping and adding wood, stone, and metal elements into your midwest landscape design, you can have an outdoor space that suits your style and endures the Indiana weather. We’ll cover some Indiana landscaping ideas for the back and front yard in this post.

Backyard Landscaping Ideas

Aside from being less fussy, using Indiana native plants supports wildlife and helps stormwater drain properly, so it doesn’t run into our rivers and streams at such a high temperature. The Indiana Native Plant Society recommends choosing a “palette” that falls into four categories: Indiana Woodland, Water’s Edge, Woods’ Edge, and Prairie Grassland.

Indiana Woodland Landscaping Ideas

With the Woodland palette, the tree canopy is your main feature. In the spring, Indiana native woodland plants such as pale pink spring beauties, trillium, Virginia bluebells, yellow celandine poppies, and pale purple Jacob’s ladder give a splash of color. The predominant color for summer is green, and fall leaves give the spectacular yellows, oranges, and reds that people travel to see. 

In addition to native plants, landscape design ideas for the woodland palette include:

  • Creating winding natural stone pathways.
  • Creating quiet seating areas from natural materials such as stone or wood. 
  • Adding water features such as fountains, waterfalls, or ponds.
  • Building a treehouse.

Water’s Edge Landscaping Ideas

The Water’s Edge palette is wetland themed and may consist of a rain garden sectioned from a lawn area. Recommended flowers include queen-of-the-prairie, sedges, cardinal flower, blue flag iris, and swamp hibiscus, adding pops of color in the summer.

In addition to native plants, landscaping ideas for the Water’s Edge palette include:

  • Building a raised deck for a cozy place to look down over and admire the rain garden and other outdoor space features. 
  • Adding large decorative rocks. Aside from their natural beauty, they will prevent heavy rain from washing out plants.
  • Creating retaining walls that separate between lawn and garden.

Woods’ Edge Landscaping Ideas

The Woods’ Edge palette is part sun and part shade so that you can have diversity in spring, summer, and fall colors with a lot of flowers and shrubs to choose from, including dwarf crested iris, garden phlox, goldenrod, wild bergamot, roughleaf dogwood, hydrangea, and nannyberry among others.

In addition to native plants, landscaping ideas for the Woods’ Edge palette include:

  • Building a pavilion from which you can enjoy the rugged outdoors but with the amenities of indoors.
  • Building a firepit conversation area from natural stone that blends in with surrounding nature gives the feeling of camping.

Prairie Grassland Landscaping Ideas

The Prairie Grassland palette consists primarily of perennial grasses and flowering plants that give you color and texture throughout the seasons. Recommended grasses include big and little bluestem, switch grass, Indian grass, and prairie dropseed. Flowers include coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, and blazing stars.

In addition to native plants, landscaping ideas for the Prairie Grassland palette include:

  • Creating water features. The Prairie Grassland palette pairs well with an inground swimming pool, depending on your yard size. However, smaller water features also add ambiance to the grassland setting.  
  • Building natural structures. Limestone or sandstone seating walls, retaining walls, or bridges provide contrast to the color and texture of the prairie landscape.
  • Lighting up the landscape. Ornamental grasses make stunning night visuals when backlit.

Front Yard Landscaping Ideas

Your front yard is the most seen part of your home, but it’s likely also the part of your home where you spend the least amount of time which is why you may opt for low maintenance front yard landscaping. Here are some ways you can minimize maintenance while enhancing your home’s curb appeal:

  • Lead people to your door by creating large stone pathways lined with boulders and groupings of colorful Indiana-native perennials. 
  • Add dimension and visual interest with raised beds that can be easier to weed and water.
  • Get some super low maintenance coverage using pavers, and add a prominent water feature to prevent a sterile look.
  • Use boulders or stone as borders. They don’t require watering but look natural.
  • Hide undesirable views with privacy trees and structures. 

While Indiana weather may be unpredictable, there are plenty of beautiful days to spend outdoors. Enjoy them more by implementing one or more of these Indiana landscaping ideas that suits your lifestyle. To get started designing your Indiana landscape, contact us today.