What does the new perennial movement entail? And how to implement this naturalistic planting style in your own backyard?

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plante vivace

The new perennial movement is reshaping the way we think about gardening and landscaping, blending sustainability with aesthetic appeal. This approach emphasizes the use of long-living perennials which not only thrive year after year but also contribute to a biodiverse ecosystem right in your backyard.

If you’re curious about what this movement entails and eager to embrace a more naturalistic planting style, you’re in the right place. This introduction will explore the fundamentals of the new perennial movement and provide practical tips on how you can adopt this environmentally friendly and visually stunning gardening practice at home.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a novice looking to make a positive impact on your local environment, the insights offered here will help you transform your outdoor space into a thriving, sustainable haven.

1/The historical roots and key influencers

The style gained popularity in the 1990s, largely thanks to influential figures such as Noel Kingsbury, who wrote ‘The New Perennial Garden’. Additionally, notable contributors to this gardening method include Roy Diblik from Wisconsin and Dutch designer Piet Oudolf.

These pioneers emphasized perennial plants’ role in evoking natural scenery and cycles within managed landscapes.

What is new perennial movement?

The new perennial movement seeks to celebrate the ephemeral beauty of perennials. It integrates these plants into designs that highlight their lifecycle from spring growth to autumn decline, showcasing seasonal changes rather than static displays.

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2/Defining characteristics of naturalistic planting

Naturalistic planting is distinguished by minimal structural elements and an emphasis on the inherent charm of perennials. This design philosophy involves careful selection of species that thrive in local conditions and arranging them to maximize visual impact over changing seasons.

Key design considerations

To successfully adopt this style, gardeners should consider soil quality, native plant species, and the overall environmental context. The aim is to create a self-sustaining ecosystem that requires minimal intervention once established.

3/Implementing naturalistic planting in your garden

Creating a garden that reflects naturalistic planting principles can be both rewarding and environmentally beneficial. Here’s how you can start:

Choosing the right plants

Select varieties that are well-adapted to your local climate and soil conditions. Opt for native species when possible, as they are more likely to prosper without extensive care.

Arranging the plants

Arrange your selections loosely to mimic natural growth patterns. Clustering similar types can enhance the garden’s overall cohesion and appeal through repeating color and texture themes.

Maintaining the garden

Although designed to be low-maintenance, naturalistic gardens still benefit from some care. Seasonal pruning and occasional weeding will help maintain the intended aesthetic without compromising the wild look.

plantation naturaliste

4/Advantages of embracing a naturalistic style

  • Environmental Sustainability: Using native plants reduces the need for water, fertilizers, and pesticides.
  • Wildlife Benefits: These gardens attract and support local wildlife, promoting biodiversity.
  • Year-Round Interest: Careful plant selection ensures visual interest across all seasons.
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Embracing naturalistic planting not only enhances the beauty of your home environment but also contributes to local ecology. By understanding its origins, key characteristics, and implementation strategies, you can transform your garden into a dynamic and sustainable retreat that celebrates the simple elegance of nature.

Whether you’re an avid gardener or a newcomer looking to make a positive environmental impact, naturalistic planting offers a fulfilling way to connect with the natural world right at your doorstep.


Justin, an avid writer, is equally passionate about gardening, especially cultivating beautiful flowers and productive vegetable patches. His writing skillfully intertwines his gardening experiences with vivid descriptions and keen insights, inspiring readers to appreciate nature's beauty and consider their own gardening adventures.