Your Garden Can Help Native Species Thrive

What you plant matters! In the Zone helps people transform outdoor spaces with native plants to support wildlife, water and our ways of life. Restoring healthy ecosystems helps bring life back to communities, backyards, farmlands, gardens and balconies.

In the Zone participants are helping to Grow Canada’s Biggest Wildlife Garden simply by returning native plants to the landscape. These plants in turn provide food, nesting, and stopover and overwintering sites for pollinators like bees and butterflies, as well as other wildlife.

Join the In the Zone community to receive guidance and resources, and access to fun opportunities to take part in community science and become part of a larger solution to habitat loss.

The In the Zone program honours Indigenous knowledge and recognizes that all land is important by providing people with the tools and resources to transform and restore ecosystems, anywhere!

Growing gardens that help native species thrive.

In the Zone provides the tools needed for anyone to gradually transform outdoor spaces into healthy habitat for native wildlife.

Free gardening resources: Receive advice from wildlife and gardening experts to cultivate habitat for warblers, frogs, owls, butterflies, bees and more.

Track your impact: How healthy is your outdoor space? The In the Zone Tracker measures and tracks your restoration journey and connects your actions to Canada’s Biggest Wildlife Garden. This type of community monitoring helps ecologists and conservation organizations understand biodiversity and can reveal insights into ecosystem health.

Connect: An enthusiastic and supportive community of people helping to restore nature is waiting for you. Join the In the Zone community and share in planting tips, photos, plant and seed exchanges and celebrate the community’s successes.

What are native plants?

Native plants are the gold standard for attracting pollinators, restoring wildlife habitat and building healthy natural landscapes that are more resilient to climate change.

For In the Zone, “native” means that the plant species have evolved over thousands of years in the local environment — unlike invasive plant species, they’re adapted to local conditions and have deep relationships with other plants and wildlife endemic to the area. These are plants that were here before the colonization and transformation of much of the landscape.

Choose your region for more information

About In the Zone in southern Ontario

What do you Want to Grow?

Help cultivate resilient, climate-smart, connected neighbourhoods. Each In the Zone Garden Guide offers tips to help transform your garden into flourishing habitat for native wildlife in your region.

Grow a bouquet of native flowering plants for birds, butterflies, bugs and other pollinators.

Grow an abundance of flowering plants for birds, butterflies, bees and other pollinators.

Wildflower A healthy pollinator population supports food production.

Choose native trees and plants to create a woodland home for owls, chipmunks, and woodpeckers.

Choose native trees and plants to create a woodland home for owls, chipmunks and woodpeckers.

Woodland Shade trees will help moderate the temperature in your yard and provide cooling for your home.

Add a pond or enhance a wetland for frogs, toads, turtles and salamanders.

Keep your yard wet for frogs, toads, turtles and salamanders.

Wetland Healthy ponds and wetlands can buffer your yard from floods and droughts.

How it works

Whether you’re a gardening guru or have a brown thumb, it’s simple to garden In the Zone.


Sign up Receive information and updates from In the Zone.


Tell us about your garden Register any garden or planting project anywhere, whether it’s in a yard, pot, rooftop, in the water or a community plot. Fill out the In the Zone Tracker baseline survey.


Choose your Garden Guide and get growing Begin growing a healthy woodland, wetland or wildflower garden designed to help wildlife thrive. You might be eligible for one-on-one advice from our experts, a site consultation, free native plants, and more.


Track your impact As your garden flourishes and starts to attract wildlife visitors, record your garden transformation and measure your impact using the In the Zone Tracker. You can contribute your observations to valuable citizen science databases.


Connect and celebrate Connect with like-minded gardeners to share stories and successes. Enjoy invitations to special events, gardening workshops and community celebrations.

Your Garden Stories

When Bronwyn and her husband, Oliver, moved into their northwest Toronto home in 2018, they wanted to create a lively urban oasis in their yard that met multiple needs: a play space for their young family, a food garden, and habitat for pollinators and other wildlife; plus, it had to be beautiful! Their front yard had traditional landscaping, including boxwood hedges with irises, grass and a Japanese maple; the back yard, on the other hand, was just a pit with gravel and other refuse.

To get started, Bronwyn and Oliver planted a variety of shade-loving species including Mayapple, Virgin’s Bower, Trillium, Nodding Onion and Wild Geranium, but the larger landscaping and planting project took place this year. Transforming the gravel pit was the biggest challenge and required professional help to level the ground and lay sod.  A new fence and planter boxes completed the picture, along with over 10 different species of native plants and 15 kinds of fruits and vegetables.

The results have been well worth it: from the sheer number of butterflies (at least five different species) and native bees with sacs full of colourful pollen, to hearing crickets at night in the middle of the city, the diversity of pollinators has been amazing and rewarding to see. Their community’s response has also been positive — neighbours marvel at all the life in the garden.

Bronwyn’s advice to other homeowners? Just do what’s possible — small steps are still impactful! Look for ways to get seeds, plants or cuttings from neighbours or seasonal plant sales. It is more economical and will ensure that the plants you add to your garden are well adapted to local conditions.

Join In the Zone today