To empower homeowners to provide more ecologically sound land in their yards.

Core Values

Commitment to Nature, the Land and People

As people who belong to a designated time in history and place in the world, we believe that it is each person’s duty to take care of what has been given to them, which requires long-term dedication.


To allow for a wider range of ecosystem services and utilize the beneficial ways different species interact.


In order to preserve the integrity of the community as a whole, we have to consider the environmental, social, and economic aspects of everything we do.



Why this mission?

Our primary goal as an organization is to give homeowners the knowledge and power to create a more complex and locally relevant ecosystem in their own yards. A robust ecological community promoting biodiversity will provide many services to the environment, wildlife, and humans. In order to provide a locally relevant ecosystem, homeowners must connect to the specific land on which they live, learning to understand its natural history and context, as well as its current role as a residential yard. Before human habitation, the land was a small part of a much larger natural landscape. Presently, the yard is primarily seen as a small part of a social landscape. It serves as a visible border between other people who live in the area and a private but publicly visible platform for the residents. Our work at the Wildergarden seeks to bring the ecological and social functions together into one; to give yards a more important role in the environmental domain while still taking part in the human social world.

Why residents & homeowners?

In urban and suburban settings, residential plots make up a significant portion of the landscape. Although highly fragmented into many parcels with a multitude of owners, private residential land provides other opportunities for ecological benefit. Large parcels of land require more resources to restore and manage, whereas small areas are easier for individuals to manage. Utilizing homes is also a way to engage a wider audience which includes laypeople, not just environmental professionals, in environmental issues. Wildergarden’s goal is for people to incorporate nature as a lifestyle, so that begins at home.

What is “more ecologically sound land?”

A yard that is “more ecologically sound” provides more ecosystem services than the traditional turfgrass yard. It has more plant biodiversity, thus providing more habitat for a variety of animals, bacteria, and fungi. Increased plant diversity also has a beneficial impact on soil health, which in turn improves water filtration and storage. A complex ecosystem is more resilient to extreme weather, such as drought or flooding, and diverse ecosystems are generally more stable.

Promising Neighborhoods

According to a published study (linked elsewhere on the website) about ecosystem restoration prospects in Marion County, Indiana, the most promising neighborhoods for restoration are those in older established residential neighborhoods on the north side of the county, where there is existing tree canopy. These homeowners’ landscaping choices are usually not restricted by Homeowner Association covenants common to newer subdivisions, which often prohibit restoration to native plant communities.

The Wildergarden method shows that, from a biological standpoint, any turfgrass lawn on forested Miami soil in central Indiana is capable of healing itself through the succession process. If the owner yields with care, and provides supplemental native plants, the land will assume its urban forest identity in all its glory.