The Phoenix Conservancy is taking native landscaping to the next level in eastern Washington. Our "Pocket Prairies" are designed to bring endangered Palouse Prairie into communities, providing ecological, social, and financial benefits to local landowners. If you live in the Palouse and would like to have your own pocket of prairie, we can help.
A Pocket Prairie in bloom 3 months after planting.
"What's a Pocket Prairie?"
Pocket Prairies are gardens or “pockets” of native prairie communities that can be as small as a single garden bed or as large as an entire property. The purpose of our Pocket Prairie Program is to incorporate the endangered Palouse Prairie ecosystem into the fabric of Palouse communities, while also benefiting local businesses and landowners by providing low-maintenance landscaping.
"What are the benefits of a Pocket Prairie?"
Urban and suburban areas can play a key role in restoration, providing habitat for native species, as well as opportunities for public education and engagement. In the Palouse, where much of the landscape is dominated by agriculture, cities and towns have the potential to harbor substantial amounts of native Palouse Prairie habitat. Having quality prairie in our yards helps native wildlife, from birds to bees, increase habitat connectivity and move through the landscape.
Pocket Prairies also provide a host of benefits for home and business owners:
Pocket Prairies are drought-tolerant and require little to no maintenance once established.
The deep root systems of native prairie plants are excellent at preventing erosion, making them ideal for steep slopes and disturbed areas.
Pocket Prairies are beautifully diverse, blooming throughout the growing season and providing year-round resources for native birds, pollinators, and other beneficial animals.
The increased native plant diversity attracts animals such as parasitic wasps that control pests but are harmless to humans.
A rare Palouse visitor, an endangered Western Monarch butterfly rests on a Common Sunflower (Helianthus annua) blooming in a Pocket Prairie.
"What's the process for getting a Pocket Prairie?"
After you contact us, we’ll set up a consultation to see the area in question and get more information. One of our representatives will meet with you to ask questions and assess your site so that we can tailor a design to fit you and your space well. We’ll then create a proposal for you with a list of recommended plant species, a work timeline, a design for your Pocket Prairie, and three different budget options and add-ons to choose from. If no further modifications are necessary, you’ll sign a contract and we’ll get to work creating your beautiful Pocket Prairie!
"How does The Phoenix Conservancy create a Pocket Prairie?"
Our process depends on whether you’re starting from scratch (i.e., a new development), a lawn, or a complex landscape, as well as your site’s specific conditions. In general, our steps to restoration include (1) initial installation, which may include work like sod removal, soil amelioration, and invasive weed removal, plus seeding and planting, (2) weed maintenance, and (3) seed and plant supplementation. Our contracts last a year but can be renewed for multiple years if you’d like to continue expanding your Pocket Prairie.
A Phoenix Conservancy crew clearing space and removing weeds before seeding and planting.
"How long does it take for a Pocket Prairie to become established?"
In general, our Pocket Prairies take about two to four years to become well-established, but you’ll likely get blooms the first or second year. This timeline can vary depending on whether you choose to take the slower but cheaper route (starting everything from seed, versus planting more seedlings), as well as yearly variation in weather patterns.
"How much does a Pocket Prairie cost?"
The cost of a Pocket Prairie varies depending on the size of the area, how quickly you want the prairie to be well-established, whether your soil needs amelioration, and if you’d like any add-ons such as landscaping rocks or mulch. In general, the price ranges from $750 - $5,000 for homeowners and more for larger properties or areas with severe erosion issues.
For a more affordable “pre-packaged” option, see our Micro-Prairies page.
A homeowner's yard filled with invasive plants before (left) and one year after (right) Pocket Prairie installation. We expect the plot to completely fill in with plants within 5 years, but it is already providing habitat for over 20 pollinator species, including endangered western Monarch butterflies. Restoration stopped at the property boundary at the bottom of the hill where dead grass is visible in the image on the right.
"Is this a landscaping business? Isn't The Phoenix Conservancy a non-profit?"
Sort of and yes! The Phoenix Conservancy is a 503(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our Pocket Prairie program is a social enterprise that both furthers our mission to restore endangered ecosystems and helps fund our larger restoration projects. Net revenue goes toward restoring places like Conservation Park, Missouri Flat Creek, and other public lands in the Palouse.
"My yard has a lot of shade. Is it still possible to have a Pocket Prairie?"
The Phoenix Conservancy specializes in restoring open prairie and prairie-forest edges, meaning that we have species that thrive in full sun and others that thrive in partial shade. As long as the area in question isn’t under dense tree cover and has some open canopy, we can tailor a plant community to fit your space.
Western Aster (Symphyotrichum spathulatum) blooming in a Pocket Prairie.
"How do I sign up?"
Please fill out the inquiry form below to get in touch with us and schedule a free consultation. Please include some details about the area that you would like converted to Pocket Prairie, your budget range, and your goals (e.g., minimize water use and increase visual appeal). We look forward to talking with you soon!
Our goal is to replicate wild Palouse Prairie (above) within communities throughout the region.
Number of Pocket Prairies So Far
Acres Under Restoration
Number of Species Planted
Number of Pollinator Species
Francis & Heidi B.
“We are loving our new pocket prairie. There is always something blooming and the flower colors change with the seasons."
Mike & Lisa H.
"We are very pleased with the work of the Phoenix Conservancy program! Our front yard, in particular, is fast becoming a showcase for Palouse Prairie after just a few short months. Looking forward to watching our beautiful yard continue to develop!"
Want your own Pocket Prairie?
Tell us about the area you'd like to convert, your budget range, and your goals (e.g., minimize water use and increase visual appeal) in the form to the right.
We'll get in touch shortly to set up a free consultation!
*This program is only active in the Palouse region of southeastern Washington and northern Idaho*
Frequently Asked Questions
"Will The Phoenix Conservancy take care of my Pocket Prairie after it is planted?"
Yes and no. We typically offer a period of weeding and supplemental planting after installation. However, long-term care is the responsibility of the Pocket Prairie's owner. Once the weeding period expires, we will also offer an affordable weeding service for long-term care. Homeowners can opt for more or less maintenance based on their needs and budget.
"How do I care for my Pocket Prairie?"
Pocket Prairies are designed to require relatively little active care, especially after they become established. We recommend watering your Pocket Prairie regularly during its first spring and into July, at which point some species start going dormant naturally. However, the more you water, the longer many species may bloom. Palouse Prairie plants are quite hardy and can tolerate the region's regular summer droughts, so watering is usually not necessary after the first year. Invasive plants can also pose a challenge to restoration, so weeding may be necessary, especially at the early stages of development before the native plants become large enough to shade out their non-native competition.
"When can I have my Pocket Prairie installed?"
Our Pocket Prairie crews will be available weekdays between 8am and 5pm PST between April 15 and June 11th (spring) and September 16th and October 29th (fall) for 2024.
"I'd like to do the landscaping myself. Can I buy native plants from The Phoenix Conservancy?"
At the moment, no. We grow all of our plants in our greenhouse with supplemental purchases from Rose Creek Nursery and Plants of the Wild. In the near future, we hope to start selling local ecotypes of species you are unlikely to find elsewhere. Be sure to stay connected through our newsletter or social media to find out when this program launches!
"I don't live in the Palouse. Can I still get a Pocket Prairie?"
For now, no. This program is currently only available to homeowners and businesses in the Palouse Prairie region of southeastern Washington and northern Idaho. We primarily work in the Pullman-Moscow area, but we will accept contracts anywhere within the dotted white line on the map below.
A map depicting the boundary and towns of the Palouse Prairie.
"I live in the Palouse but am pretty far away from your headquarters in Pullman. Can I still get a Pocket Prairie?"
Yes! We will accept contracts anywhere within the dotted white line on the map above, and we provide services at no additional cost to anyone living within 15 miles of our headquarters in Pullman. If you live farther than 15 miles away, we will apply a $1.75 per-additional-mile surcharge to and from your Pocket Prairie's location. For example, if you live 25 miles away, we would apply a $35 surcharge (10 extra miles one-way * 2 * $1.75 = $35).