Biodiversity Paradise: Kate in Rochester Hills, MI

Kate Ford's Native Habitat in Rochester Hills, MI

When Kate Ford and her husband bought their home in 2008, the landscape was all rocks and grass because the previous owner "didn't like plants."  They have since made it into a DIY Biodiversity Heaven!  Kate was "lit up" about native plants by a friend with Black-eyed Susans that attracted pollinators and birds.

They dug up most of the sod and first planted the front yard as a mixture of plugs and seed.  They then moved on to the backyard, using a wildlife mix from Michigan Wildflower Farm.


The biggest lesson was about plant choice regarding height, as she would have chosen shorter plants for the front yard if she were to start over.  Another lesson was to make paths wide enough to comfortably walk through even after your plants get full size.


Yes, a few neighbors walk by and shake their heads, but most of the feedback has been positive.  Some neighbors walk through the mowed paths in Kate's backyard to explore the wildlife, and she's noticed a few neighbors who have started adding native plants to their own yards!  The signage alerting that their yard is intentional has been a big help.


You have to go into it with patience if you're starting from seed.  Also, load up on the apps to make it more fun and easier to learn: eBird, iNaturalist, Audobon, and PlantNet are some of Kate's favorites.

Before and During. "People might be surprised that it’s easier to do than they think.”
After the seed mix established.
Kate has had around 50 bluebird fledglings already!
Some of Kate's favorite native plants.
Some more of Kate's favorite native plants.
Even though the plants in the front yard were taller than Kate expected, it did allow for this "secret garden".
One of two wildlife ponds that Kate installed to provide respite for frogs, toads, and other wildlife.
Rochester Hills, MI is on the Biodiversity MAP!


- Wildtype Plants | Mason
- Plants for Ecology | Troy
- Detroit Wildflower Nursery | Farmington Hills
- Rochester Pollinators | Rochester
- Stage Nature Center | Troy
- Wild Ones North Oakland Chapter
- Deerfield Elementary | Rochester Hills (for establishing a "Green Team" to promote native plantings and an awareness of our great outdoors to our future conservationists)

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