ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — For a long time, your lawn has been seen as a status symbol, of who can grow and maintain it best. But now as concerns about fading ecosystems grow, some like Michael Warren Thomas of Naturally Green think it’s time to use your yard for more than just aesthetics.

“I started quite a few years ago looking for alternatives to pesticides, and doing lawn and landscape design,” said Thomas of Naturally Green’s origins. “Evolved more recently into actually trying to eliminate more lawns not every lawn maybe half the lawn.”

Traditional grasses like rye and Kentucky bluegrass only support a few species, mainly of moths, and contribute little to the rest of nature that shares your yard, like birds, caterpillars, and butterflies.

“A pair of chickadees need 6-9 thousand caterpillars to raise one clutch of eggs,” said Thomas. “They won’t find that on our Norway Maples, our Japanese Maples our Kousa Dogwoods, but they will find it on our native oaks, the Cornus Mas, the Yellow Dogwood that’s starting to bloom now.”

Thomas’ goal isn’t to make you give up your yard to the wild but to allow some of it to be shared with native species alongside your lawn.

“You can extend existing beds and add stuff like purple cone flowers and goldenrod and lots of beautiful astors,” said Thomas. “There’s a ton of native wildflowers in the spring that grow well under other trees.”

As you’re planning Thomas does say to make sure you do your research regarding your soil, and which plants might do well in the sun or shade before planting. Once you do, finding plants native to our area is becoming easier.

“Regular nurseries are carrying more and more native plants, like Bristol’s Garden Center, Sara’s  Garden Center, Broccolo Gardens Genter has a lot of native plants,” said Thomas.

There will also be a sale of native plants by the Genesee Land Trust on May 13 in Brighton where several local nurseries will come together to support the organization.