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House with native plants and animalsGoing Native: Urban Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants
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Step Three - Design a Native Plant Landscape

The design phase involves taking everything you have learned about your existing landscape and developing a plan that solves problems, e.g., improves drainage, extends entertaining space into the garden, and/or provides better habitat for wildlife.  Remember, you want to envision and create a native plant landscape that is attractive to both humans and wildlife.  To accomplish this goal, it is very helpful to follow some basic design guidelines.

Strawberrybush
Enjoying a Native Plant Landscape.

Design to Meet Human Needs In order for a native landscape to be appreciated and maintained, it must be used by the humans who share the space.  How you use your landscape will depend on the unique characteristics of the site as well as your activities and needs.  To achieve a successful design, you will need to collect and organize this important information.

Strawberrybush
Strawberrybush is an attractive native plant.

Design to Meet Wildlife Needs – Now is the time to choose your target wildlife species and to make sure that your native plant landscape design eventually will meet the specific needs of that target wildlife species.  To make sure you address those needs, there are several general principles you should keep in mind as you design your landscape.  And in most cases, the same design principles that yield high quality wildlife habitat will result in an attractive landscape.

A Sample Ground Planting Plan.
Ground Planting Plan. Larger version.

Develop a Planting Plan – Using the information you’ve gathered about the human and wildlife needs and the general principles of landscape design, you can create a plan for your new native plant landscape.

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