Native Plants & Rain Gardens

Native plants at Municipal Services

Native plants

Native plants are a popular choice among local homeowners and are the best choice for rain gardens. They are great for your yard and are eligible for reimbursement through Lenexa's Cost Share Program.

  • They are a beautiful, low-hassle choice for your garden. Since they are naturally adapted to the climate and soil of the region, they're ready to thrive in your yard without extra fertilizers, watering and maintenance.
  • Their deep root system, which far outstretches non-native varieties, filters pollutants, absorbs water, and prevents erosion from runoff.
  • They provide food and shelter for bees, butterflies, song birds and other wildlife.

Get reimbursed for native plants, trees, rain gardens

You can find attractive native plants to suit your unique landscape whether you're searching for flowers, trees, shrubs or grasses. These brochures can help you identify the plantings that work best for you:

Native landscape care calendar

Use these tips provided by Grow Native! for the Missouri Prairie Journal to keep your native plants in top shape through the seasons.


  • Weed, including “editing out” seedlings of desirable plants, if too numerous for your taste.
  • Lightly mulch with leaf compost, if desired.
  • If desired, give “spring haircuts” in late April or the first week of May to wildflowers that bloom after mid-July, like asters, so they grow in a more compact form. Trim 25% to 75%, depending on how tall you want the plants to be later in the season.
  • Selectively prune shrubs that are at least two years old.
  • Assess overall garden design and determine if additional plants are needed to fill in gaps to enhance aesthetic appeal and/or provide more native food sources for pollinators.
  • Divide/transplant perennials to fill in gaps/expand gardens.
  • Cut back dead flower and grass stems to stubble of varying heights (8” to 22” tall) to provide nest cavities for native bees, whose larvae will develop and hatch the next spring. New plant growth will hide the stubble.


  • Weed.
  • Water new plantings as needed.
  • Lightly mulch with leaf compost, if desired.
  • Remove spent flowers as desired from aggressive re-seeders and continue into the fall. Retain last year’s dead stubble as native bee larvae are still developing in the stems.


  • Weed as needed, although as the landscape establishes itself weeds should diminish.
  • Leave seeds and fruits on native plants such as eastern blazing star, coneflower and beautyberry through the fall and into the winter, as they are good food sources for birds and add visual interest for you throughout the winter. However, you may wish to remove seeds/fruits from plants if you are concerned with aggressive reseeding.
  • Selectively prune shrubs that are at least two years old.
  • Leave spent vegetation standing; native bees will hibernate in stems.


  • Remove unattractive drooping foliage or grasses that flop over, but keep in mind that doing so may remove food sources and shelter for birds and overwintering insects.
  • Trim dead sedge foliage before plants leaf out in early spring.
  • Water newly planted trees and shrubs as necessary.

Rain gardens

green rain garden with flowers blooming

A rain garden is a shallow depression in the land planted with a diverse variety of native wetland and prairie vegetation. Using native plants with deep root systems in a rain garden helps absorb water and filter pollutants. 

Rain gardens can be used to enhance stormwater runoff quality, reduce peak stormwater runoff rates from small sites and improve the quality of runoff coming from rooftops, driveways and lawns of residential neighborhoods, small commercial areas and parks.

Get reimbursed for native plants, trees, rain gardens

Why build a rain garden?

Water that soaks into rain gardens replenishes groundwater and helps prevent flooding. Rain garden plantings don’t require fertilizer or pesticides, and after they are established, they don’t need to be watered. Native plants provide food and shelter for butterflies, song birds and other animals. Rain gardens add an aesthetic appeal to your yard.

How do I build a rain garden?

Rain gardens don’t have to involve a lot of complicated planning. They don't require much space, can be fitted into oddball shapes and can be readily added to existing buildings. Consider these things when planting a rain garden:

  • Put your rain garden in the right place. Examine your yard’s drainage. Place the rain garden down-slope and at least 10 feet away from building foundations and up-slope from storm drains.
  • Size the rain garden correctly. Calculate the square footage of the area draining to the rain garden and divide by three. This will give you a rain garden that captures about 30 percent of the water it receives.
  • Evaluate existing soils. For heavy clay soils, till in compost to loosen the soil and help plants grow. Compacted soils often cause rain gardens to fail, so keep machinery and vehicles off the area.
  • Increase infiltration. Excavate six to eight inches of soil to create a slight depression that catches water. Mound the excess soil into a berm on the downstream side of the garden.
  • Create an attractive design. Rain gardens feature native plants that are attractive and easy to care for. Give your rain garden a tended appearance with neatly defined borders to keep it from looking weedy.

Rain garden resources

These helpful guides include lists of suggested plants for your rain garden, plus layouts designed for sun, shade or attracting various kinds of wildlife.