Great Resources

Useful tools to help you improve the health of your landscape

Kim Eierman

Kim Eierman

Founder of EcoBeneficial!

Available for virtual and in-person landscape consulting, talks and classes.

Buy a copy of
The Pollinator Victory Garden!

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.
Woods in Your Backyard

The Woods in Your Backyard

Wooded areas are not only beautiful, but they can be ecological wonderlands filled with life. Whether you have a wooded area or want to establish one, pick up a copy of the book: The Woods in Your Backyard: Learning to Create and Enhance Natural Areas Around Your Home.

Improving Environmental Quality

Published by the Natural Resource, Agriculture and Engineering Service (NRAES), this useful guide was written by a talented team led by Jonathan Kays, an Extension Specialist in natural resources from Maryland. In the authors’ words, this 138 page book “promotes the stewardship of small parcels of land for personal enjoyment and improved environmental quality.”

By following the case study of the Nelson family, you learn the steps needed to identify and achieve your goals. A workbook section enables you to then establish an action plan.

Denoting Areas for Improvement

The first step is to segment your property according to types of use: 1) intensive use areas like buildings, decks, patios, walkways, etc., 2) intermediate use areas such as lawns and semi-natural areas and 3) natural areas including wooded sections, shrubby areas, water features, etc. The authors make the case that the intermediate-use areas, like lawns, are labor intensive and of little to no use to wildlife. Those areas are ripe for ecological improvement in any landscape.

The book then guides you through the process of inventorying your property and the plants within it.   It even suggests conducting a survey of broken and dead trees – valuable to wildlife and to the soil, explain the authors.

Ecological Principles

A section on ecological principles explains plant succession, water resources and wildlife ecology for small properties.  The goals of providing food, cover, nesting sites, water and space (home range) are all discussed. An appendix specifies the habitat requirements of various common species.

Adding brush piles, dense thickets, and soft edges (gradual transitions from one plant community to another), keeping tree snags and including mast trees, are all ways in which landowners can increase the wildlife value of their property.

Putting It All Together

The book helps you put all this new knowledge into practice, providing details on land management techniques, whether you want to remove invasive species, improve forest regeneration or increase wildlife diversity and improve your ecosystem. The last section of  The Woods in Your Backyard is a workbook that enables you to create a basic land management plan.

Pick up a copy and watch your landscape transform into an EcoBeneficial oasis!

From Kim Eierman at EcoBeneficial!

More Great Resources

The Xerces Society & Attracting Native Pollinators

Honey bees in decline, Monarch Butterflies in crisis, major threats to certain species of native bees – these are the stories we frequently see in the news these days. Wouldn’t it be great to support an organization whose mission it is to protect creatures like bees, butterflies, dragonflies, and other…

Read More

Backyard Foraging

In the past decade we have been inspired to  “grow local – eat local.”   Why not take this idea a step further and eat even more of Mother Nature’s Bounty?   If you have been reading this blog, you know that I enthusiastically recommend a number of edible native plants.  In…

Read More

Lasagna Gardening

There are a number of classic gardening books that have helped changed they way we garden.  One such book is Lasagna Gardening by Patricia Lanza, that explains a simple, yet powerful way to prepare plant beds organically.  The book’s title borrows from the way lasagna is made – using a…

Read More