Redesigning landscape with Native Plants

The color scheme for the Sleeping Dog Ranch is based on Feng Shui principles, which are numerous and beyond the scope of this blog. However, the principles I use are:

  1. Connectedness or the Tao
  2. Balance or Yin and Yang
  3. Energy or Chi
  4. Shapes and their meanings
  5. Color and how we respond to it
  6. The Ba-Gua or placement

My two favorite books on the subject are Feng Shui in the Garden by Nancilee Wydra and The Feng Shui Garden by Gill Hale. Feng Shui is a comprehensive study but I selected what I wanted to do: a simplified version.

Beginning with the center of the house, find true north, south, east, and west. Next I followed these points to the ends of the garden. Doing this for all four headings, I laid out my landscape. (Hey, I was a new property owner and enthusiastic about landscaping design! What can I say? Besides, I am a bit anally retentive.) Moving on … .

I did this layout in 2000 when we first moved in and have been planting around the house since then. Ahhh … that’s nineteen years of growth and development.

At the time I hadn’t heard of native plants and was clueless as to their value. But all that changed with I found out about the North Carolina Extension Master Gardener program. I took my first class in 2005 and again in 2017 and am devoted to the  concept and the program. Becoming a Master Gardener is just the beginning of learning about gardening. Native plants was just one chapter but it made a big impact. So much so that my husband and I are willing to redesign our entire landscape; changing it’s existing layout to that of nothing but native plants.


First, I had to let go of my beloved flame bushes. I chose them because of their brilliant red leaves and berries in the fall. But they’re native to central and northern China, Japan, and Korea. Therefore, they do not produce nutritional berries that our native wildlife needs to survive the winter. 

Today , February 3, 2020, I cut them down. Way down.


Next, haul the limbs away, clean up the area, then remove the stumps (that’s gonna take time). I’ll keep you posted on my progress.