"A society grows great when old [wo/]men plant trees
 whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
    — Greek Proverb.

Native species are plants, 🍄︎ fungi or 🐟︎ 🐢︎🐇︎ animals that have been in that location for a while, presumably are part of the local ecosystem, and do not damage the environment, economy or human health.

The alternatives to natives are exotic/​introduced/​alien/​non-indigenous/​non-native and invasive species.

The effects of replacing exotic landscaping with natives is dramatic.  For a few years, I had seen an increase in the number of butterflies and birds in our yard.  I expected that—my wife (with some muscle from me) had been slowly replacing some of our plants with natives.  Nothing radical, but if a non-native died or was doing poorly, we replaced it with a native.  Part of our lawn had morphed into a small prairie.  Some plants got moved.  One day, I realized it had been three years since we had put out the traps for those big green bugs.  Weird.  I looked around, and saw that we had crossed some threshold, maybe from 30% natives to 50% natives, and we no longer had any issues with the annoying green bug?  Apparently, you don't need perfection to restore some balance to your local ecosystem.  Extraordinary!

To learn more about using native plants in your landscaping
To plan your landscape layers
To hire a native-friendly landscaper
To buy or trade native plants or seeds

Site preparation, construction, planting and maintenance

To plan your landscape layers

Some people plan their landscaping to attract local charismatic megafauna and songbirds, by using native plants that will feed them directly (via their fruit, flowers or leaves) or indirectly (by feeding local insects, that will then feed your desired animals or their young).

Some people plan their landscaping to enhance ecosystem diversity and complexity.

"Begin with as much biodiversity as you can fit or afford."
    — Steve Keto.

website of Van Kal Permaculture dot org Both groups may plan out their landscaping using several layers:

website of Washington State living with wildlife

To buy or trade native plants or seeds

This author recommends you get plants and seeds that are truly native to your region/​ecosystem/​habitat, and avoid nativar cultivated varieties.  Nativars generally do not share the same genetics, reproduction nor ecological functions as their parent stock.  For example, if red maple Acer rubrum is native to your region, get this instead of 'Drummond's' red maple Acer rubrum var. drummondii .

Sources of information, plants and seeds:

To buy or trade native plants or seeds in Michigan near Kent County and Grand Rapids

Native Plant Guild

Resources for Native Plants

These native plant sales of which we are aware (please verify dates with applicable organization!):

Learn more about landscaping with native plants

Encyclopedia of Life Google Google images USFS Wikipedia