with Bubble Diagrams
with different designs using bubble diagrams. Testing
ideas on paper is easier than rearranging plants in the
yard. Try to develop several alternative designs.
a site plan by drawing out your ideas on bubble diagrams using photocopies
or tracing paper laid over your base map. Don’t worry at first
about how workable your ideas are; get them down on paper and fine-tune
later. Decide where spaces and features will go and experiment with
reshaping, reducing, enlarging, relocation, or adding features to
fit your needs and goals. Draw bubbles around areas where you want
activities, such as children’s play, entertainment, or wildlife
observation. Use circles, x’s or other symbols for features
such as a birdbath or bench. Draw arrows where you want views and
dotted lines for potential pathways.
Note the types
of plants you want to put in, such as conifers, low deciduous shrubs,
or tall evergreen hedges. It may be helpful to write in some of
your ideas and objectives, such as building a deck around this tree,
keep view of pond from living room, or relocate barbecue to patio.
(See Fig. 6.)
final plan will be most successful if you develop several of these
bubble diagrams. For example, you may have a “Plan A”
that gives over more space to wildlife, and “Plan B”
that gives more space to human activities. Or you may develop three
different plans that range from highest to lowest cost or most change
to least change. The more experimenting you do on paper, the more
likely you will avoid future problems when implementing your final
plan. There is no one best answer, everyone’s habitat will
be different, and you may come up with more than one good plan for
As much as possible, provide large areas without buildings, pavings,
or paths. Provide some “undisturbed” sanctuaries and
safe travel corridors for sensitive wildlife.
Disturbance to wildlife can be lessened if areas with busy human
activity are close together and kept as small as possible. Avoid
placing busy areas in good existing wildlife habitat.
Old well-established trees or ones that form clumps are especially
valuable. Avoid putting new features or structures where they will
damage existing tree. Remember that a tree’s roots grow far
out from its trunk, and construction too close to the roosts may
affect the tree.
Locate and shape human activity areas, such as patios and decks,
so that wildlife can be viewed from inside the house.
Nature is the best model for a healthy and valuable wildlife habitat.
In nature, things are the way they are and where they are because
of complex ecological relationships. Nature understands this perfectly,
while we have only incomplete knowledge. For some ideas of how nature
provides for wildlife, look at the arrangements of plants along
a stream or pond, around a meadow, or in a forest. The amount and
arrangement of plants in a good backyard habitat should be similar
to these natural areas. Let the natural world be your best teacher.