As an New York Ecological Landscaper and Contractor, we understand there are ways to plant a garden “smarter” and “greener.”  While looking for new evergreen species for the green show house garden at Home Depot, we came across a long list of possibilities, only some of which met our criteria of being native North American plant species.

They stocked: Emerald Green Arborvitae, Dwarf Alberta Spruce, Green Velvet Boxwood, Rheingold Arborvitae, Colorado Blue Spruce, Wiltoni Juniper, Ramapo Rhododendron, Standard Rhododendron and the English Roseum Rhododendron

We want evergreens to add aesthetic value with year-round foliage and provide a protective habitat for birds and other animals without negatively impacting our solar heat gain, hopefully Home Depot and other stores begin to carry more native varieties to choose from.

It is important to use native species as much as possible for a variety of reasons.  Nonnative species can become invasive, and spread to the surrounding areas on shoes, animals and in bird droppings.  These can squeeze out native species and cause a loss of natural ecological diversity, species extinction, and general harm to the environment if mismanaged.  Furthermore, native plants are easier to grow because they are well-adapted to the climate, look naturally pleasing and protect the environment.


A second consideration is whether the plant will impact the structure at all.  The positioning, type and quantity of a particular plant can impact the home’s ability to gain solar heat.  If an evergreen is planted near a south-facing window for example, it can block the sun year round, limiting the winter solar heat gain and therefore increasing the home’s dependence on energy to heat it.

Contrasting that would be a deciduous tree planted near a south-facing window, it will shade the home in the summer heat and (by losing its leaves) open the window up to absorb the solar heat as much as possible in the winter.  This is not as much of an issue in non-southerly facing windows, but interior light should always be considered when planting near buildings, specially for evergreen varieties.For an ecological landscaper like Eco Brookyln, planting the showhouse garden requires care and planning, but will result in a much more environmentally responsible and efficient landscape, that is beautiful as well.
Check out the USDA PLANTS database website for information on native plants
and to research more possibilities.