For more information on the Living With Wildlife series, contact the WDFW Wildlife Program



Figure 7. Final Habitat Landscape Plan
Final landscape plan
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The final habitat landscape plan contains all of the details. This kind of plan is simply a refinement of the previous bubble diagrams, and it will be the guide as you put down the pencil and pick up the shovel.

Habitat Landscape Plan

After you have drawn your ideas, compare these preliminary plans to see which best fits your needs and those of wildlife. You can combine the best features of each to make your ideal plan. Once you’ve decided what you want, you now need to turn your bubble diagram into a landscape plan. Now is the time to add the details of plant species and materials (such as types of paving or fencing), and locations and dimensions of these features.

The most involved task will be selecting plants for different parts of your yard (see Choosing Plants). For example, if you want a tall evergreen hedge for privacy: which plants have dense foliage, grow about 10 feet tall, can tolerate your specific environmental conditions, and are good for wildlife? Or, for summer shade and winter sun: what plants are deciduous, grow to 30 feet or more, and offer good food for wildlife?

Other details will need to be added. For example, if you want a pond you need to determine if it will be excavated, whether lined with a flexible liner or clay or both, how it will be cleaned, and if you want recirculating water.

When all the details have been worked out, you can draw up a final landscape plan. Accuracy is important, because it will be the “blueprint” that will guide your habitat construction and development over time. (See Fig. 7).

Choosing Plants for Your Final Landscape Plan

  1. Choose plants that will provide seeds, berries, nectar (flowers), and good cover. Avoid sterile varieties (those that do not produce fruits of seeds).
  2. Pay attention to sun, water, and soil needs of each plant species and place them in your yard where they will best flourish. Most plants are fairly tolerant but prefer certain conditions. Be sure to check with nurseries and garden books.
  3. Consider height at maturity and other features such as fall color, showy flowers, aroma, or unique leaf shape. Combine for aesthetic variety.
  4. Keep in mind how plants aid in energy conservation and comfort by letting in winter sun, protecting from prevailing winter winds, and shading the summer heat. Evergreens give winter protection for you and wildlife but will block the sun. Many deciduous trees have good food for wildlife and allow in winter warmth; they do not protect from winter winds.
  5. Note any special problems some plants might have, such as weak wood, messy fruit, over patios, or invasive roots.
  6. You will probably find more than one plant that fits the needs of a certain spot. Cost, availability, and personal preferences for unique features may influence your final selection.