22 Beautiful Garden Plans for Attracting Birds and Butterflies

eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly on milkweed
Photo: Tandem Stock / Adobe Stock

Add life and movement to your yard with these garden plans designed with birds and butterflies in mind. Filled with the best types of plants for providing food and shelter for wildlife, these plans will help you create a beautiful garden while also attracting a variety of birds and butterflies to your yard.

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Tiny Corner Garden Plan

Tiny Corner Garden Plan

Tuck this pocket garden anywhere in your yard and you'll be amazed by the number of butterflies it attracts. This tiny corner garden plan is packed with cosmos, zinnia, black-eyed Susan, butterfly bush, and other low-maintenance perennials that pollinators can't resist. Create a quick-color display with these-fast growing flowers and you'll get almost instant curb appeal.

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No-Fuss Bird and Butterfly Garden Plan

No-Fuss Bird and Butterfly Garden Plan Illustration
Illustration by Gary Palmer

Plant a low-maintenance garden that will attract lots of pollinators to your landscape with this easy bird and butterfly garden plan. Tried-and-true favorites, such as catmint, butterfly weed, bee balm, and aster, will produce a ton of color all summer into fall, while providing the nectar, pollen, and seeds that will draw butterflies, bees, and birds. Feel free to add a small birdhouse to roll out the welcome mat for winged visitors to your yard.

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Beginner Garden Plan for Full Sun

Privacy Garden

This beginner garden plan includes reliable perennials that don't require a whole lot of care. Long-blooming perennials such as aster, coreopsis, and purple coneflower provide seeds for birds and nectar for butterflies. Other than an occasional deadheading of faded flowers, these sun-loving plants will easily tolerate drought and heat.

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Prairie Garden Plan

Prairie Garden

The beautiful blooms and nutritious seeds of native prairie plants draw pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. This prairie-inspired garden plan contains several blooming perennials and ornamental grasses that are indigenous to the Midwest. And while the plants will need extra water their first year to get them established, after that they'll usually get by on what nature provides.

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No-Fuss Sun-Loving Garden Plan

No-Fuss Sunny Garden Plan

You don't need a large yard to attract birds and butterflies. This compact garden includes sun-loving perennials that provide both food and shelter for visiting creatures of all sizes and types. Use this no-fuss garden plan to fill a challenging, full sun area in your yard with colors and textures that will last all summer.

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Easy-Care Butterfly Garden Plan

Butterfly Garden

Create a lush island bed of easy-to-grow perennial and annual flowers with this plan that will bring beautiful and beneficial insects to your garden. The variety of blossoms offer nectar to adult butterflies, while leafy food sources, such as parsley, nourish the larvae. A few rocks among the plants provide convenient perches for butterflies to sun themselves, and a simple birdbath provides water.

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Small-Space Drought-Resistant Garden Plan

Small-Space, Drought-Resistant Garden Plan illustration
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

This small-space drought-resistant garden plan includes tough plants that can withstand dry conditions while still looking lush and colorful. The dramatic blooms surround a birdbath and are sure to attract songbirds, hummingbirds, and butterflies. So, pick out your birdbath and start planting this pretty garden plan.

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Tropical-Look Garden Plan

tropical look garden plan with canna illustration
Illustration by Tom Rosborough

A well-placed container filled with colorful plants provides a show-stopping focal point in this tropical-look garden plan. Hummingbirds will especially be attracted to the tall purple-leaf canna in the center of the planter and fuchsia's unique blossoms that resemble layered, brightly colored skirts. The twisted and contorted branches of a Harry Lauder's walking stick provide plenty of convenient spots for small birds to perch and rest.

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Drought-Tolerant Garden Plan


The vibrant mix of perennials, annuals, trees, and shrubs in this drought-tolerant garden plan proves that not all plants need regular watering to look gorgeous. The planting design is complemented by a fountain that will provide birds with water and increase the possibility of attracting birds that you usually don't see. Plus, this design uses the trick of planting everything close together to shade the ground from the sun's drying heat.

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A Simple Late-Summer Perennial Bed Plan


Keep the color coming on strong all the way through the end of the growing season with this simple, late-summer perennial bed plan. It's packed with sun-loving, summer-blooming perennials that generally have brighter-hued flowers than those of spring, with warm reds, oranges, and golden yellows taking center stage. These long-lasting blooms often don't quit until the first frost, and their seed heads hold up well into winter, providing a source of food for birds that don't fly away to warmer climates.

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Bird and Butterfly Garden Plan

Bird and Butterfly Garden Plan

This bird and butterfly garden plan has just the right types of pollinator-friendly plants to encourage beautiful winged wildlife to return to your garden again and again. The design also includes hummingbirds' favorite tubular and cup-shape flowers that are filled to the brim with nectar. You'll enjoy seeing the eye-catching drifts of color with something in bloom all summer and into the fall.

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Fabulous Fall Garden Plan

Fabulous Fall-Garden Plan
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

When summer fades into autumn, your yard doesn't have to fade, too. This fabulous fall garden plan uses late-blooming perennials that almost seem to glow with bright hues before the more muted tones of winter set in. Birds will love feeding on the seedy flowerheads of the three varieties of asters that have complementary yellow and bronze tones and contrasting shades of blue and white. This design relies not only on flowers to add color to the landscape but also on foliage like the silvery gray of lamb's ears and the cool hues of blue fescue.

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Year-Round Excitement Garden Plan

Year-Round Excitement Garden Plan Illustration

While many gardens are all about flowers, this year-round excitement garden plan emphasizes foliage plants of varying heights and textures, and adds in a butterfly house to provide shelter for pollinators. The plants in this mixed border feature contrasting shapes, such as big leaves next to strappy ones and upright plants alongside weeping forms to give this bed a dynamic feel. Evergreen shrubs and trees provide year-round color, resting places for birds, and create a backdrop for plants with multi-hued foliage.

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Corner of Grasses Garden Plan

Corner of Grasses Garden
Mavis Augustine Torke

If you have yet to try ornamental grasses in your landscape, or you think one type looks much like any other grass, this corner of grasses garden plan will show you just how majestic and variable they can be. Adding these bird-friendly grasses to your yard is an easy way to attract and feed birds as well as provide dense foliage for cover and nesting material. Plus, they're super low-maintenance, letting you plant them and pretty much forget them.

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Tough as Nails Garden Plan

Tough-as-Nails Perennial Garden Plan Illustration
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

With this tough as nails garden plan, you can plant it and almost forget it! It relies on a selection of perennials that will thrive in full sun, tolerate heat and humidity, and reliably come back each year. Silvery gray-green foliage is a common thread tying together these drought-tolerant perennials, complemented by a blue birdbath that helps draw in feathered visitors. Plus, the mix of colorful blooms will appeal to butterflies and hummingbirds.

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Long-Blooming Rock Garden Plan

long blooming rock garden illustration
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

To create this long-blooming rock garden plan, you'll need a variety of perennials that provides a pleasing mix of colors and textures to contrast with the large boulders among them. Butterflies will be attracted to the spikes of tubular flowers such as penstemon and lavender. And blooming beauties like phlox and bee balm will attract hummingbirds. Either plant around a naturally rocky area in your yard, or bring in a few well placed stones to create the perfect backdrop for this stunning plan.

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Corner Garden of Shrubs and Trees Plan

Woody Corner

Use this easy design filled with colorful shrubs and shrub-size trees to attract birds and provide wildlife a habitat to nest and hide from predators. This corner garden of shrubs plan features several varieties that look beautiful through all four seasons. Plus, enjoy the extra privacy and year-round interest these plants provide your front yard.

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Property Line Garden

Property Line Bed

Give your yard a sense of enclosure without blocking the view with this property line garden plan. You can also site this plan in front of a wall or fence for a softer look. As long as the perennials and woody plants in this design receive an occasional watering and are planted in full sun, they'll thrive without needing much care from you. Butterflies will appreciate the blooms from penstemon, coreopsis, and other perennials, while birds nest in the foliage of a blue spruce tree and juniper shrub.

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Easy-Care Summer Garden Plan

Easy-Care Summer Garden Plan
Illustration by Gary Palmer

Overlapping bloom times is the secret to nearly nonstop color in this easy-care summer garden plan. The low-maintenance perennials in this design produce a palette of pink, purple, yellow, and white flowers from spring to fall, but shine brightest during the warmest months. And when one variety finishes flowering, another takes its place. In the fall, you can look forward to watching many types of birds feed on the seedy flowerheads of blazing star, purple coneflower, and feather grass.

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Summer Cottage Garden Plan

Summer Cottage Garden Plan
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Add plenty of color and texture to your yard with this eye-catching, summer-blooming cottage garden plan. It relies on classic perennials such as bellflower, lamb's ear, cranesbill, and delphinium to create a sensational design. Count on watching butterflies flutter to the clusters of small flowers on the sedum and penstemon. It's also perfect for a sunny border along a lawn or walkway.

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Garden Plan to Soften a Fence

garden illustration with fence
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Help draw attention away from the harsh lines of fence posts and slats with a mix of favorite flowers in shades of pink and purple, set off by foliage with complementary hues and textures. You're sure to see butterflies lingering on perennials in this plan such as verbena and cosmos. There's also a few bulbs and small shrubs mixed in for added interest. The result is a long-lasting garden that will require minimal maintenance year after year.

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Easy-Care Island Bed Garden Plan

island bed with weigela illustration
Mavis Augustine Torke

To break up the monotony of big stretches of lawn, try this easy-care island bed garden plan that's designed to look beautiful, no matter which side it's viewed from. A small ornamental plum tree anchors the planting, producing stunning pinkish white double blossoms in spring, plus it has pretty fall foliage. A dwarf weigela complements the floral show with its own pink spring blooms that are sure to attract hummingbirds. The surrounding perennials and groundcovers add seasonal splashes of color.

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