You might wonder why there is information on garden design on a website devoted to gardening for wildlife. After all, a wildlife-friendly garden is often thought of as a "messy" affair that mimics nature. While there is incredible value to the re-creation of natural habitat in a manner that reproduces a wilderness area such as a meadow or forest, there is also wildlife value in a garden designed along more formalized lines that still provides food, water, and shelter for wildlife.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some wildlife supporters take much deserved pride in allowing nature the freedom to do what it will with their property to create maximum benefit for wildlife. Others have a strong desire to create a more formal design on all or part of their property, but would still like to welcome wildlife. These preferences are not mutually exclusive. Beautiful and natural can go hand in hand.
Creating a garden that is beneficial to wildlife is a matter of putting some thought into a plant selection that meets the needs of the wildlife you would like to attract. If you would like a more formalized garden, read through the following tips on design, decide which elements you would like to incorporate in your garden, come up with a list of plants that will fit in that design, and then narrow your selection based on each plant's ability to provide food and shelter for wildlife. Our Native Plant Encyclopedia will help you in that final regard.