We are building our home and have disturbed the natural area in order to do so. We want to landscape as natural as possible with native species and would like to know where to find assistance in plant selections and correct locations. We are at 500' elevation in forested area NW of Hagg Lake in Gaston, Oregon. We removed fir, scrub oak, and plants on the forest floor in order to build. We have a small creek and pond on property. Any help is greatly appreciated. There is time, we only have our foundation in.
Kudos for you for wanting to restore the natural landscape around your home. One of the best places to go for advice and support is your local Soil and Water Conservation District.
If there are still native plants around your home site, you can start by conserving as much as possible during construction. Fence off areas you want to protect to keep worker's boots and heavy equipment out of them. It is especially important to keep heavy equipment off of the roots of trees (at least out to the drip line, if not further) to avoid compacting the soil. And of course, avoid causing mud to run off into the creek on your site.
If it is not too late in your planning process, it is particularly beneficial to take the local landscape into account before and during construction. Once native plants are gone, they can be hard to re-establish, and sometimes preserving them is not difficult, it just needs forethought and a firm hand with contractors.
You may want to find a landscape designer who specializes in Northwest native landscapes to help re-design your site sensitively once construction is complete.
Here are some Extension publications you may find helpful:
- Gardening with Oregon Native Plants West of the Cascades
- Selecting Native Plant Materials for Restoration Projects
- Ecological Design of Urban Landscapes: Economic, Social and Ecological Benefits
Good luck and have fun restoring your native landscape!