Natural Practices

City Parks and Green Spaces

Natural Landscaping Practices for Parks and Green Spaces

Here are some natural landscaping practices that are used with success in this area and in other cities. Click here for more on examples of how other cities have gone natural.

The basic premises are to:

• choose plants that are appropriate to the Calgary environment so they don’t require much maintenance
•  improve the health of the soil so it keeps the plants healthy.

Plant hardy grasses in new areas of park, boulevard, or other green spaces

Grasses that are hardy for this area require less water and nutrients to grow well. They tend to choke out weed growth.

Overseed existing grass areas with hardy grasses

Spreading a thin layer (1 cm. or 1/4 inch) of compost and mixing in hardy grass seeds         allows hardy grasses to take over existing grassy areas. This may need to be done for 2 -4     years before the hardy grasses take over.

Aerate heavily used grass areas


Using a core aeration machine to pull small plugs of soil out of grass that is heavily walked on or used as sports fields helps loosen the soil and allows nutrients to better reach the grass roots.

Plant native shrubs and trees in green space areas


Native shrubs and trees provide habitat for birds, beneficial insects, and wildlife. They require less water and maintenance than grassed areas

Spread compost and spray actively aerated compost tea


A thin layer of decomposed organic matter or a rich soup of soil micro-organisms that both improve the active organic life in soils so they can better nourish the plants. Usually compost would be spread once a season and compost tea would be sprayed three times a season.


Click here for actions you can take to support a pesticide bylaw in Calgary.

Click here for how to use natural landscaping practices in your yard.