Pacific Northwest Urban Meadowscaping

Zoo meadow ES 2013Pacific Northwest Urban Meadowscaping (PNUM) is a collaborative effort to develop lawn alternatives using native bunch grasses and wildflowers well suited to the Pacific Northwest’s Willamette Valley. As homeowners become more aware of the environmental impacts of their landscape choices, naturescaping programs are receiving more requests for lawn replacement options. Although common, lawns provide little benefit to storm water infiltration, water quality, or wildlife habitat and require polluting inputs such as fertilizers and mowing.

The goal of PNUM is to provide public education, technical support and assistance with the planning, planting and monitoring of meadowscapes on residential landscapes and in public parks to increase wildlife habitat and stormwater infiltration in the urban realm. Continuing analysis of available data will be used to determine best management practices for installing and maintaining urban meadows. In addition to answering practical questions, PNUM aims to cause a paradigm shift in what people think of as a beautiful “lawn.”

PNUM consists of an advisory committee with representatives from West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, Metro, Columbia Land Trust/Backyard Habitat Certification Program (BYHCP) and Xerces Society. Partners bring a diverse background including storm water management, horticulture, native landscaping and entomology.

The Meadowscaping Handbook: Designing, Planting and Managing an Urban Meadow was compiled as part of a collective effort by the Pacific Northwest Urban Meadowscaping working group and includes the data on local prairie research and the experiences of regional ecologists and landscape professionals. Click here to order a copy of The Meadowscaping Handbook.

The following are some helpful guidelines and check out our Library for more information.

Meadow Planning and Design

Portland Meadow Plants

Native Plant Lawn Alternatives

Support Monarchs and other butterflies


close up of purple fireweed flower
Native Species Spotlight – Fireweed

Named for its propensity to grow following fires, Chamerion angustifolium, (previously Epilobium angustifolium), known more commonly in the U.S. as fireweed, is a perennial flowering forb in the evening primrose family (Onagraceae). It grows in […]

Vedanta Restoration Project

The Vedanta Society of Portland worked with the Conservation District on a number of special projects to bring its members and visitors closer to native plants and the natural world. These projects included a demonstration […]

Montgomery Park Native Plant Garden

Starting in 2010, West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District teamed up with the Naito Corporation to rid a portion of the Montgomery Park office grounds of invasive ivy and transform it into a diverse […]