Plant by numbers

Plant by Numbers is a program for citizens who want beautiful, low-maintenance, pollinator-friendly landscaping but don’t know where to start. Inspired by paint-by-numbers, the program will provide templates for full sun, full shade and partial shade areas that give guidance on what to plant where. In conjunction with Plant by Numbers, local artists are invited to paint greenways and streamside restoration projects in Fayette County for the Paint by Nature exhibit at the Downtown Arts Center.

The first set of plans are for areas with wet soils, such as in a greenway along a stream or pond, or in areas that collect water during periods of rainfall. Planting vegetation along streams provides the following benefits:

  • Improves water quality by providing a natural buffer that filters pollutants from stormwater runoff before the water enters a creek
  • Establishing roots to reinforce streambanks, helping prevent erosion
  • Food and habitat for local wildlife, including pollinators like birds, bees and butterflies


Plans for other types of spaces, like front yards, will be developed in future years.

Select a link below to download a Plant By Numbers layout:

The following shops carry Kentucky native plants. Be sure to ask if plants are free of neonicotinoids, which are harmful to pollinators:

  • Ironweed Nursery (online store)
  • King’s Nursery
  • Michler’s Greenhouses
  • Prairie Moon Nursery (online store)
  • Prairie Nursery (online store)
  • Redmond’s Garden Center
  • UK Horticulture Club
  • Springhouse Gardens
  • Wilson’s Nursery

Preparing your lawn for streamside planting

Plant By Numbers features plants native to the Bluegrass region. These plants are low maintenance and typically thrive in Kentucky's climate, but may need help getting established and may require the removal of invasive plants competing for the same resources. Follow these steps from the University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture to learn how to prepare and maintain your streamside garden.

  1. Are you planting along a streambank? If streambanks are steep or eroding, they are unstable. Contact a professional to determine if your streambank may need regrading and to see what permits are necessary to accomplish this.
  2. Remove invasive species. The University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture has created a list of common invasive species including how to manage them.
  3. Perform a soil test. This will help determine if you need to add any nutrients to your soil and how much.
  4. Apply erosion control. A professional can also help you determine if your planting area will need erosion control, and what measures to take. Erosion control may include adding straw, mulch, or silt fences.
  5. Plant your plants. If you're new to gardening or are unsure how plants will grow in your soil, start small and see how a few plants grow before planting your entire garden.
  6. Keep an eye on your planting area: after rain events, check for signs of erosion and address them as needed.
  7. Watch your garden grow! What do the buds and leaves look like? What sort of wildlife are benefiting from your streamside garden? If you notice invasive plants reappearing, weed and properly dispose of them.

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