Printing note: This design was created to be 8.5″ x 14″ and the design pdf will print best on legal size paper.

Native Garden DesignS Video Series:
PHILADELPHIA Discussion with Designer DONALD PELL

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Design Intent

The design intent is to create a resilient garden that responds positively to environmental stress. Plants were chosen for their diverse morphology, cool-and-warm season characteristics, somewhat equally competitive nature and refined character. The gardens are sculpted to create an immersive experience where visitors explore from seating areas or lawn paths and delight in ever-changing perspectives throughout the seasons. Ideally, locally-sourced, natural and sustainable materials are used for the built environment like PA flagstone and local gravel. The garden aids in providing habitat for pollinators, most notably for lepidoptera that, in turn, will become food for birds. Plants like Vaccinium and Sambucas can be harvested for human consumption, while many other plants like Celtis and Aronia provide highly nutritious berries for birds. Dense woody and herbaceous plantings, as well as rain gardens, will help manage rain water.

Planting Specifications

Remove turf grass and fracture soils from 6-24” to less than 200psi. Woody plants should be mulched with a mix of 50% raw wood chips and 50% leaf compost where possible. The herbaceous plants can be installed directly into the prepared soil or any natural mulch at 2” in depth. Gardens should not be mulched annually. The plant specification for Mix A, Mix B and Mix C was selected for well-draining soils with dry to mesic conditions. The Rain Garden Mix was selected for plants that can grow in periods of inundation. A phased approach can be taken by establishing personal priorities. Woody plants should be installed first and herbaceous plants should be planted a maximum of 15” apart in random grouping of 3+ per grouping.


American Elderberry by Franz Xaver

American Elderberry(Sambucus canadensis)

American Holly by David J. Stang

American Holly(Ilex opaca)

American Hophornbeam by Eric Hunt

American Hophornbeam(Ostrya virginiana)

American Hornbeam by Sherief Saleh

American Hornbeam(Carpinus caroliniana)

American Redbud by Greg Hume

American Redbud(Cercis canadensis)

Barren Strawberry by Superior National Forest

Barren Strawberry(Waldesteinia fragarioides)

Beebalm by Susie Van de Riet

Beebalm(Monarda bradburiana)

Big Bluestem by Matt Lavin

Big Bluestem(Andropogon gerardii)

Big Leaved Aster by BotBin

Big Leaved Aster(Aster macrophyllus)

Blue Mistflower by Kingdon

Blue Mistflower(Conoclinium coelestinum)

Blue Wood Sedge by Choess

Blue Wood Sedge(Carex flaccosperma)

Bluebird Aster by David J. Stang

Bluebird Aster(Aster laevis)

Bluestar by David J. Stang

Bluestar(Amsonia hubrichtii)

Bluestar Flower by Eric Hunt

Bluestar Flower(Amsonia tabernaemontana)

Bur Oak by James St. John

Bur Oak(Quercus macrocarpa)

Butterfly Milkweed by Jim Conrad

Butterfly Milkweed(Asclepias tuberosa)

Common Persimmon by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

Common Persimmon(Diospyros virginiana)

Common Silverbell by Raul654

Common Silverbell(Halesia tetraptera)

Copper Iris by peganum

Copper Iris(Iris fulva)

Crimson Beebalm by H. Zell

Crimson Beebalm(Monarda didyma)

Downy Wood Mint by Kathy Stiles

Downy Wood Mint(Blephillia ciliata)

False Indigo by Greg Oberski

False Indigo(Baptisia australis var. minor)

Fox Sedge by Len Worthington

Fox Sedge(Carex vulpinoidea)

Golden Alexander by Derek Ramsey

Golden Alexander(Zizia aurea)

Green and Gold by Derek Ramsey

Green and Gold(Chrysogonum virginianum)

Hackberry by R.A. Nonenmacher

Hackberry(Celtic occidentalis)

Highbush Blueberry by Michel Langeveld

Highbush Blueberry(Vaccinium corymbosum)

Lanceleaf Tickseed by Shijan Kaakkara

Lanceleaf Tickseed(Coreopsis lanceolata)

Large Coneflower by Trevor Rickard

Large Coneflower(Rudbeckia maxima)

Little Bluestem by David J. Stang

Little Bluestem(Schizachyrium scoparium)

Little Bluestem Grass by BBC Gardeners World, 2017

Little Bluestem Grass(Schizachyrium scoparium)

Nodding Onion by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Nodding Onion(Allium cernuum)

Pagoda Dogwood by David J. Stang

Pagoda Dogwood(Cornus alternifolia)

Pink Turtlehead by Halpaugh

Pink Turtlehead(Chelone lyonii)

Prairie Dropseed by Krzysztof Ziarnek

Prairie Dropseed(Sporobolus heterolepis)

Purple Coneflower by James St. John

Purple Coneflower(Echinacea purpurea)

Red Chokeberry by David J. Stang

Red Chokeberry(Aronia arbutifolia)


Sassafras(Sassafras albidum)

Small's Beard Tongue by David J. Stang

Small's Beard Tongue(Penstemon smallii)

Sneezeweed by Kurt Stueber

Sneezeweed(Helenium autumnale)

Social Sedge by Wolfgang Moderer

Social Sedge(Carex socialis)

Swamp Milkweed by Ryan Hodnett

Swamp Milkweed(Asclepias incarnata)

Troublesome Sedge by Jay Sturner

Troublesome Sedge(Carex molesta)

Tulip Tree by David J. Stang

Tulip Tree(Liriodendron tulipifera)

White Fringe Tree by Matthew C. Perry

White Fringe Tree(Chionanthus vifginicus)

Yarrow by Peter Gabler

Yarrow(Achilliea millifolium)

Zigzag Goldenrod by David J. Stang

Zigzag Goldenrod(Solidago flexicaulis)


Donald Pell, owner of Donald Pell Gardens Landscape Designs in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania has been reshaping landscapes throughout the Eastern United States for over 25 years by juxtaposing what we know with the unexpected, to create an endless wonder of visual possibility. With a focus on adventurous, immersive placemaking, his naturalistic designs magnify beauty through the masterful connections between stunning plants, hardscape and sculptural features.

Donald Pell’s landscapes have won top design awards from the Perennial Plant Association (PPA), the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) and, most recently, a Silver Medal in his first-ever appearance at the Philadelphia Flower Show. His designs have been finalists in HGTV’s Ultimate Outdoor Awards and featured in several publications, including GROW, Garden Design and Parents Magazine.

Situated on a 14-acre farm in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, Don’s studio garden has become a frequent destination for New American garden design enthusiasts and horticultural education groups from around the world.

About Wild Ones

Wild Ones is a non-profit organization that promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities.

Some of the ways Wild Ones strives to accomplish our mission is by providing educational resources and online learning opportunities with respected experts like Wild Ones Honorary Directors Doug Tallamy, Neil Diboll, Heather Holm and Larry Weaner, publishing an award-winning journal and awarding Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Program grants to engage youth in caring for native gardens.

Wild Ones depends on membership fees, donations and gifts from individuals like you to carry out our mission of healing the Earth, one landscape at a time.