Native gardening has come into vogue in recent years. Native plants, or those that have grown naturally in your geographic area since before European settlement, often outperform imports. That's because they have evolved to withstand climate extremes, pests and diseases that spread in specific locations. You may need to do some research to determine what types of plants fill that bill. But they will save you money in the long run. A yard filled with native plants can cost one-tenth of that of a traditional turf grass lawn [source: Purdue University].
Most natives should be able to survive on their own without much assistance. In addition to growing well, natives eliminate the expenses of fertilizer, pesticides and water. That, in turn, reduces groundwater pollution and lowers your monthly water bill. Native grasses in particular come in a variety of shades, heights, scents and textures to complement any gardening space. To learn about natives where you live, you can contact local gardening associations or consult your state's agricultural cooperative extension.