When we think of design, we often think of colorful couches, contemporary dining sets or trendy paint colors.    However, in our zeal to make our homes an attractive, welcoming place to live, we often overlook the best designer money can’t buy: Mother Nature.

In Texas, we’re fortunate to have a diverse landscape that supports a wide array of flora and fauna. By utilizing Texas’ natural offerings, we can create outdoor spaces that are inviting to you and to Mother Nature’s livelier children – the local wildlife.

Native Texas plants come in a wide range of colors and sizes that allow you to make your outdoor space an extension of your artistic aesthetic. In addition to providing endless design options, they’re accustomed to Texas’ climate, which makes them hardy and drought-resistant. This means you can spend more time and money enjoying your yard than maintaining it.

The best feature of many native plants is their appeal to wildlife. Plants such as hibiscus or honeysuckle attract hummingbirds while lantana and sunflowers attract butterflies. These stunning visitors offer you entertainment while also nourishing your plants.

You can also create a Zen-like retreat in your yard by adding water features. For example, fountains provide water to sustain wildlife as well as the soothing sound of running water for visitors and birdbaths are a great way to attract our feathered friends and the beauty and melodies they bring with them.

Using Texas’ natural gifts, you can create an outdoor space that is truly an expression of your individual personality and make your backyard a place that feels like home.

-By: John Horton, Chairman, Austin Board of REALTORS®