And what the heck is Ecosystem Gardening Anyway?

If you Build it, they will come

Birds benefit by Ecosystem Gardening

You may be wondering just what the heck I mean by “Ecosystem Gardening,” and I can answer that here. As you read through these articles, please be aware that I have grown in my thinking on this subject and I changed the name. In the beginning I was using the term “Conservation Gardening.” But for a variety of reasons, mostly because “Ecosystem” better illustrates what I’m talking about, I made that change. At some point, those beginning articles will be re-written, but the fairy godmother of time management hasn’t visited me lately, so for now know that I mean the same thing when using either term.

The 5 Pillars of Ecosystem Gardening — when you apply these 5 easy steps, you will automatically begin to attract more birds, butterflies, pollinators, and other wildlife to your garden.

What does Ecosystem Gardening Mean?–covers the pillars of Ecosystem Gardening: sustainability, soil conservation, water conservation, the importance of native plants, the  dangers of invasive plants, the essential role of insects, pollinator conservation, butterfly conservation, bird conservation, amphibian conservation, and mammal conservation.

The Language of Ecosystem Gardening–looks at organic gardening, xeriscaping, natural landscaping, sustainable gardening, habitat gardening for wildlife, and ecological gardening, defines them, and illustrates their influence on the concept of Ecosystem Gardening.

Defining the “Garden” in Ecosystem Gardening–the garden includes all areas of your property that can be planted: the lawn, the front yard, backyard, etc, areas in your neighborhood, around your business, around your childs school and in your community. How can we give a little back to wildlife in these places?

Conservation Gardening or Ecosystem Gardening?–explains why I decided to change the name

Is Ecosystem Gardening too hard to learn? Yes, we do have to do a bit of homework to find which plants are the most appropriate for the conditions in our garden. But this is absolutely NOT too much to learn!

In What I’m Doing Here, I describe my goals in sharing Ecosystem Gardening with you, and How I Got Here describes my personal journey of developing this concept and my passion for sharing it with a community of people.

I’m going to be adding articles to this page on a regular basis, so you may want to bookmark it to come back and see what’s new. And I’d love to hear what you think, what you’re looking for, and what you’ve done in your garden. Let’s talk in the comments below.

Check out my new free online course Ecosystem Gardening Essentials, 15 free lessons delivered to your inbox every week, teaching you to garden sustainably, conserve natural resources, and create welcoming habitat for wildlife in your garden.

© 2009 – 2013, Carole Sevilla Brown. All rights reserved. This article is the property of If you are reading this at another site, please report that to us

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About Carole Sevilla Brown

Carole Sevilla Brown is a Conservation Biologist who firmly believes that wildlife conservation begins in your own back yard. Carole is an author, educator, speaker, and passionate birder, butterfly watcher,  and naturalist who travels around the country teaching people to garden sustainably, conserve natural resources, and create welcoming habitat for wildlife so that you will attract more birds, butterflies, pollinators and other wildlife. She gardens for wildlife in Philadelphia, zone 6b, and created the philosophy of Ecosystem Gardening. Watch for her book Ecosystem Gardening, due out soon. Carole is managing editor of  Beautiful Wildlife Garden, and also  Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens. Follow Carole on Facebook and also @CB4wildlife and on Google+


  1. How about permaculture? It’s pretty much the definition of ecosystem gardening.

  2. Thanks for putting all of these posts in one place. That was helpful.
    .-= Alison Kerr´s last post ..Sixteen Things You Should Know About Life =-.

  3. DeAnna says:

    I’m enjoying your online classes. I have a butterfly garden, it’s a work in progress. Once the butterflies came, they stole my heart. The non native plants were evicted & replaced by native plants. I have my own receipe using composted manure, coffee grounds from the local coffee shop, peat moss, earth worms from the bait shop, & mulch on top.
    I’m always educating myself. I’ve researched the butterflies that have visited & learned lots about native plants. I’ve planted many nectar plants, & I’m adding more host plants this year. I have to add 1 more host plant to be a certified butterfly garden. I’ll be adding Swamp Milkweed & a few others to attract Swallowtail.
    The butterfly garden is life! I was so excited when we got our first cats! Soon after, there were Monarchs that came everyday, I believe these were our cats, born into buttterflies coming home. We had 5 Painted Lady butterflies cats that became butterflies, my son released them ito the garden.
    I’m now encouraging others to plant native, I have several projects lined up for this summer, getting gardens featuring native plants started for others. I have an eye for design & plant arragement, which will be useful when planning the gardens for others.
    I have a facebook page showing the plants & other critters that have visited. I would be so honored if you would visit my page & give me feedback on what you think!


  1. [...] It has been my mission for almost 20 years to answer those deeper questions and to share those answers with you, whether as a garden consultant or here on these pages. Answering these questions and more is what led me to the concept of Ecosystem Gardening. [...]

  2. [...] already talked about why your garden is so important and what Ecosystem Gardening means, but in the spirit of fun, let’s take a look at the best reasons NOT to be an Ecosystem [...]

  3. [...] Ecosystem Gardening is about choices. We can choose to manage our properties in a way that benefits the environment or we can continue to choose otherwise. Our goal is to teach people to make positive choices that will conserve natural resources, create healthy ecosystems, and benefit the wildlife around us. [...]

  4. [...] on my reading of many scientific papers that the use of toxic chemicals is not in keeping with the principles of Conservation Gardening. Our goal is always on wildlife conservation in our gardens. All actions have consequences, and [...]

  5. [...] this concept here, but this debate gives us some wonderful language from which to illustrate the concepts of Ecosystem Gardening and how your actions can really make a difference. I’ve put together a list of terms being [...]

  6. [...] We must move beyond the self-centered view that “It’s my property and I can plant or do whatever the heck I want, and don’t you dare tell me otherwise,” to a broader view that recognizes that we are all connected. The decisions we make in our gardens have consequences and implications far beyond our garden gate. [...]

  7. [...] are many similar or related terms to Conservation Gardening being used which may be causing some confusion. These terms include: organic gardening, habitat [...]

  8. [...] you haven’t noticed, but there’s a beautiful logo that greets all visitors to Ecosystem Gardening.  And if you have, I urge you to take another [...]

  9. [...] Brown gardens for wildlife in Philadelphia, [...]

  10. [...] by Carole Brown of EcoSystem Gardening and John Black, Master Naturalist of Forsythe National Wildlife [...]

  11. [...] of Ecosystem Gardening, Carole Brown gardens for wildlife at her zone 6 Philadelphia [...]

  12. [...] Brown lives in Philadelphia, where she writes about wildlife gardening at her blog, Ecosystem [...]

  13. [...] several years now I’ve been writing about Ecosystem Gardening, but there seems to still be some confusion as to what I mean by this term. So let’s step [...]

  14. [...] And finally, Carole Brown’s Choosing the Best Plants for Your Ecosystem Garden. Ecosystem Garden is a garden that supports the entire ecosystem, sustainably, rather than just us, or one type of animal or crop. You can read the full explanation here. [...]

  15. [...] Brown gardens in Philadelphia, zone 6b, and writes at Ecosystem Gardening, teaching you to garden sustainably, conserve natural resources, and create welcoming habitat for [...]

  16. [...] at Ecosystem Gardening we’ve been discussing the goal of adding more native plants to our gardens to increase the [...]

  17. [...] this is the whole point of Ecosystem Gardening: the simple actions we take have enormous value to all kinds of [...]

  18. Raptors in the Wildlife Garden says:

    [...] always been fascinated by food webs, the cycle of life, and the ecosystem of a garden and how the different species fit [...]

  19. [...] I believe we ought to aim to re-create in our domestic landscapes some of the magnificent complexity of functioning ecosystems. Even a little bit of ecosystem – a patch, a corner, a piece along the boundary – will be [...]

  20. [...] Relying on insect predators and other eco-friendly strategies to control your pests is not a matter of sitting back and doing nothing. As with any other effective gardening method, it requires awareness, education, experimentation, effort, and patience. While it’s easy to recognize the larger pest predators, identifying the good, the bad and the bugly bugs is more challenging, but it’s a vital step for ecosystem gardening. [...]

  21. [...] belief in garden mindfulness is expressed in my philosophy of Ecosystem Gardening: conserve natural resources, create healthy soil, garden sustainably, and create welcoming habitats [...]

  22. [...] always been fascinated by food webs, the cycle of life, and the ecosystem of a garden and how the different species fit [...]

  23. [...] Gardening and Sustainable Landscaping,” which became the basis of my philosophy of Ecosystem Gardening, and my book of the same name will be out soon. I am so honored to have him as a [...]

  24. [...] most of it outside on the deck. I was supposed to be writing, to finish the one chapter of my book Ecosystem Gardening that had been holding me back in getting it finally sent off to the [...]

  25. [...] we start thinking of our garden as an ecosystem, we understand that we need to work with nature. Our job is really just to provide little tweaks to [...]

  26. [...] thank Damon for her support of Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens, Beautiful Wildlife Garden, and Ecosystem Gardening, and our weekly newsletter Wren Song (which you can receive every week by entering your email in [...]

  27. [...] What the heck is Ecosystem Gardening? [...]

  28. [...] I travel around the country speaking to various groups about Ecosystem Gardening, and how people can garden sustainably, conserve natural resources, and create welcoming habitat [...]

  29. [...] Brown is the creator of Ecosystem Gardening, and author of the upcoming book of the same name. Her beautiful wildlife garden is located in [...]

  30. […] And just what the heck is Ecosystem Gardening, anyway? […]

  31. […] idea of the developed garden/landscape being aligned with the ecosystem it was to be implemented within made perfect sense to […]

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