Papilio polyxenes, Eastern Black Swallowtail on thistle

Creating Landscapes for Wildlife: Presentation


Harrisburg Area Community College, Gettysburg Campus
Section 83592
May 20, 2008, 7-9 PM


Instructor: Gary Huggens, Landscape Designer


© Gary D. Huggens, 2008. Except where credited to others, all photographs and text are by
Gary Huggens, and use or reproduction are prohibited, unless permission is granted.






Hummingbird Clearwing (Sphinx Moth) and Phlox

Introduction: Learning Outcomes

By taking this class, you will understand or learn about:

  • Importance of creating habitat for wildlife in/on your yard or property
  • Process of creating wildlife habitat as part of your integrated landscape plan
  • How the use of native plants in your garden enhances wildlife habitat
  • How sustainable gardening practices enhance wildlife habitat
  • Available print and Web resources on wildlife habitat, native plants and sustainable gardening








Why Attract Wildlife?








Garden with plants for food, water, cover, space and nesting sites Black Swallowtail Larva feeding on Bronze Fennel Red-Osier Dogwood: berries for food and thicket for cover Birdbath in Garden
Washington Hawthorne tree for cover and berries for food Dove Nest in Pyracantha shrub


What is Wildlife Habitat?

Food   –   Water   –   Cover   –   Space   –   Nesting Sites









Cardinal, Penn. Game Commission Photo by Jacob Dingel
PGC Photo by Jacob Dingel

Spider's Web
Preying Mantis Pokeweed, source of food for birds Speyeriis aphrodite (Aphrodite Fritillary) butterfly


What Kind of Wildlife to Attract?

Amphibians  -  Bats & mammals  -   Birds  -  Butterflies & Moths  -  Insects  -  Native Plants  -  Spiders









  Do Your Research

  • Check wildlife resources
  • Check native plant lists
    • Plants as food, shelter, nesting sites
    • Plant characteristics: Flowers and scents, color, texture,
          shape and form, size, seasonal interest
    • Consider plant communities
  • Check nurseries and sources of native plants
  • Check sources and costs of materials


Native Honeysuckle in bloom






  Wildlife Habitat in a Landscape Plan: Advantages

  • Focus your vision & resources
  • Breaking the whole into parts
  • The right plant in the right place
  • Save money and labor
  • Keeps changes organized


Crabapple Tree in fall and birdhouse






Fallschurch, VA property plant design plan

  Integrating Wildlife Habitat Goals in Your Design Plan

  • Include all your research in your design plan process
  • Budget, prioritize and think of inexpensive alternatives
  • Alternative: consult with a landscape designer and landscape contractors
  • Work in stages







Landscaped perennial garden with well and slate stone walkway

  What is Landscape Design?

  • From the Dutch “landschap” to adorn or improve grounds artistically
        and the Latin "designare" to form a plan
  • Organized process centered on a design concept and plan
        expressing "spirit of place"
  • Creating a unique design that fits your needs and desires
  • Plants and structures complement your home in harmony with Nature
  • Can be very elaborate or a scratchpad method
  • What is your vision for your yard, garden or property?









  Landscape Design Methodology

  Base Plan →
Site Inventory →
Site evaluation →

Design plan & revisions →


Color illustrated landscape design plan







  Create a Base Plan

  • Obtain a plat plan (See plat plan example)
  • Take measurements
  • Make base plan showing the outline of house, structures and plants
  • Make final copy to scale of 1/4 inch or 1/8 inch equals one foot
  • Label your base plan with scale, directional north, name and address
  • Include entire property or the section you will develop

  See Base Plan Example


Plat Plan Example







Picture of Falls Church, VA property backyard


  Site inventory: Taking Inventory of Your Yard


  • Make multiple copies of base plan, and label one “Site Inventory”
  • Take stock of sunlight (shade and light), climate (wind, weather),
        wet/dry areas, and soil
  • Write down your observations on site inventory plan
  • Take pictures


  See Site Inventory Example


Picture of Falls Church, VA property backyard, path and deck ramp






  Site Analysis: Analyze the Challenges and Opportunities

  • Label copy of base plan as “Site Analysis”
  • Analyze what is good/bad and what you wish to improve or change
  • Consider the challenges and opportunities
  • Write down your analysis and comments on your site analysis plan
  • Do more research (inc. local ordinances)

  See Site Analysis Example


Site analysis example








  Design Plan: Create a Concept

  • Create an overall theme or concept: write it down
  • Examples of Design Concept Statements:
    “Create a natural woodland setting with a pond,
    private areas for entertaining guests, and
    habitat for birds, butterflies and amphibians.”
    "Establish a symmetrical, formal garden and
    wildflower meadow viewed from the back patio
    providing beauty and relaxation for family and
    guests and habitat for birds and butterflies.”
  • Consult garden and landscape design books & magazines
  • Contact contractors for price estimates & visit home stores
  • Think of your concept as you design your plan


Brooklyn Botanic Garden pond and formal rose garden






Buffalo Springs Herb Farm, Staunton, VA formal herb garden with vista to nearby mill


  Design Plan: Assemble the Parts

  • Design is an art form also rooted in science:
    • Sense of place
    • Design elements: Color, texture, shape, form, rhythm
    • Formal or informal
    • Sense of enclosure
  • Incorporate ideas noted in your “site evaluation”
  • Incorporate provisions of all local ordinances

  See Example of Landscape Design Plan







  Design Plan: Structures and Plants

  • Structure your garden and wildlife spaces
  • Add the plants and things needed to support wildlife habitat
  • Select your plants to fit your concept and spaces
    • The right plant in the right place
    • Fill in your spaces -– do not leave gaps
    • Think of mature plant sizes: do not overcrowd your plants
    • Use design elements

  See Example of Design plan with Structures and Plants


Color illustrated landscape design plan






  Design Plan: Revise

  • Revise your design plan
    • Does each space/structure/plant support your design concept?
    • Keep reading and incorporate new ideas
  • Redesign your landscape layout and plants to fit budget
  • Think about less expensive alternatives


Falls Church, VA property landscape design plan







  Implement Your Design Plan: Get to Work!

  • Create prioritized work lists and break down projects step-by-step
  • Hire a landscape contractor or work on your own
  • Create a plant list table with plant names, characteristics,
    sources and costs (See plant list example at:
    • Purchase and order your plants
    • Learn how to plant correctly
    • Amend soil, mulch, water and maintain
  • Take pictures


Picture of dog by wheelbarrow, shovel and rock pile







  Use Native Plants to Support Wildlife

  • What are native plants?
    • Indigenous to our area
    • Matched to our climate and to animals and plants found in our region
    • Plants were here prior to European settlement
  • Advantages of using native plants
    • Support local wildlife (animal/plant relationships)
    • Have evolved to survive in our location and climate
    • Save time, money or energy: often drought and pest tolerant

See: Landscaping with Native Plants Factsheet / U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

See also: List of Fifteen Native Plants for Wildlife at:

Falls Church, VA property plant list with primarily native plants






Picture of grass lawn


  Change Our Gardening Practices

  • Learn effective Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices
    • Limit or eliminate pesticides, herbicides and chemicals
    • See: Welcome to PA IPM ! / The Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management
      Program, Penn State University at:
  • Think about environmental impacts: fertilizing, pesticides, using non-native plants
  • Ask how much lawn do I really need?
  • Educate your neighbors when changing approaches
  • Cope with undesirable or less popular wildlife

Whitetail Fawn Deer, Pennsylvania Game Commission photo by Joe Kosack
PGC Photo by Joe Kosack

Groundhog, Pennsylvania Game Commission photo by Joe Kosack
PGC Photo by Joe Kosack






  Wildlife Habitat Resources

A selected list of print and free Web materials on creating wildfife habitat is available at:
Additional resources with more detailed descriptions are available at:

  Sources of Native Plants

A list nurseries and sources for native plants in Pennsylvania is found at:
A list of selected plant sources and nurseries, including native plants, is also found at:
Monarch Butterfly & other insects feeding on Common Milkweed






Field Daisies


  Become Part of the “Green Community”







Papilio polyxenes, Eastern Black Swallowtail on thistle

Creating Landscapes for Wildlife: Presentation


Questions ?



Instructor: Gary Huggens, Landscape Designer


© Gary D. Huggens, 2008. Except where where credited to others, all photographs and text are by
Gary Huggens, and use or reproduction are prohibited, unless permission is granted.