Healthy Yards and Healthy Communities

To provide a beautiful place for our friends and family to gather and keep our neighborhoods looking good, we spend time and resources on yard maintenance – which helps make Naperville a great place to live!  The actions we take to maintain our yards can have direct consequences for the health of our community and our rivers.

Rivers can be wonderful assets for communities and we can all do our part to protect them. The health of our rivers dictates to what extent we can enjoy them. Find the riverside trail to stroll along; take a float down the river in a kayak or grab your fishing gear and go fish! None of these activities would be enjoyable if the river smelled bad, looked gross or was full of litter.

Much of the rain water that falls on your property runs off into our stormwater sewer system. The stormwater sewer system transports polluted stormwater that contains lawn chemicals, litter and other debris, then discharges it without treatment into nearby rivers, streams or ponds. Naperville encourages homeowners to incorporate native plants in their landscapes because they help catch, keep and clean rainwater where it falls, reducing the amount of polluted stormwater that reaches our rivers.

Join the thousands of homeowners who have incorporated native plants into their landscapes to create beautiful outdoor spaces, invite birds and butterflies to their yards, reduce their use of water, fertilizers and pesticides and protect our rivers. 

Creating a beautiful outdoor landscape with native plants can be easy with a little know-how.


Native Plantings infographic

Why Native Plants?

More and more, savvy gardeners are incorporating plants that are native to Illinois into their plans. These plants improve soil and water quality and foster healthy ecosystems.

  • Native plants evolved to thrive in our area! Unlike ornamental plants, once native plants are established, they require less water and do not require fertilizers or pesticides to thrive. This makes it easy to save money in the long-term and protect the environment immediately.
  • Native plants are deep-rooted, and help increase the soil’s capacity to store water. This makes them effective at catching, keeping and cleaning stormwater where it falls.
  • Native plants are local, rooting your yard in natural history and providing food and shelter for animals and pollinators. When you incorporate native plants into your landscaping, you’re making the healthy choice.
  • Native plants are beautiful and can offer a variety of colorful blooms throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons.

Healthy Gardens at Home Protect Our Rivers

This spring, incorporate native plants in your landscaping. A variety of native trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses can easily be incorporated into any existing garden design, from formal to casual. If this is your first time using native plants in your yard’s landscaping, here are four easy tips to remember when making the switch:

  1. Go local. Visit your local plant nursery for the best selection of native plants.
  2. Save water. Once established, native plants do not need to be watered every day like most ornamental plants. Check the soil before you decide to water. If your plants need water, do so during the cooler part of the day.
  3. Get established. Like any other plant, perennial native plants need care. To ensure new native plants thrive, continue to weed and trim your garden.
  4. Cut the fertilizer. Native plants thrive in our area and don’t need fertilizers or pesticides.

Here is a handy table of some recommended native plants. Ask your local plant nursery experts which plants may be right for you.

 ShrubsGrasses/Grass-like PlantsFlowers
Sunny (4+ hours of sun)

Nannyberry Viburnum
Pagoda Dogwood
New Jersey Tea

Northern Dropseed
Sideoats Grama
Common Rush

Bee Balm
Marsh Milkweed
Smooth Blue Aster
Black-eyed Susan

Shady (less than 4 hours of sun)

Oak-Leaved Hydrangea
Early Witchazel

Pennsylvania Sedge
Woodland Brome Grass
Bottlebrush Grass

Blue Phlox
Wild Geranium
Wild Columbine
Shooting Star
Blue-stemmed Goldenrod