We met our new clients and began work on this Lake Michigan cottage in 2017. It was a cold winter day. We sat around the dining room table, overlooking the blank slate before us while sipping coffee and observing what we could of the frozen shoreline. As you can see in the first images, all vegetation had been removed and this view was in need of some enhancement. We spent the morning discussing North By Nature’s mission and methods and learning about our clients’ aesthetic preferences. Over the following weeks, a concept was developed and then presented to our clients along with a draft plant list and accompanying example photos. Images that depicted the sense of what we were trying to envision were also included and showed scenes of native rock gardens and coneflower medleys. (I would include them here, but for copyrights and such.)

The primary goal was to re-vegetate the lake-side landscape with low-growing, native perennials and grasses that would attract pollinators and require little long-term maintenance. After working through the concept phase, we moved on to material selection and plant procurement. Our client was concerned about also attracting nuisance pests like ticks, so finer sedges replaced the proposed grasses and we suggested planting lavender as a deterrent. The woodland fringes were also planted with a few multi-stemmed paper birch, bayberry and nanny berry shrubs to enhance and frame the view. Temporary irrigation was used to establish plants, but there should be little need to water once established. A variety of straight native species were combined with selected cultivars for a broad palette of color displayed from June through October. While we have observed that a one of our coreopsis cultivars has not performed well, but the native sand coreopsis is thriving along with all the rest. Please take a moment to peruse the slideshow. The captions have been written to guide you through the first two growing seasons and help identify these native beauties. If you have any questions about this project, please feel free to call or email Jason or Bret.