There are several things to understand about butterfly garden designs. The first of course is that you’re trying to attract butterflies but these are the adult form of caterpillars. So in order to get the butterflies you have to encourage caterpillars. This leads to a series of guidelines.
Do Not Use Pesticides
You need to allow the caterpillars to grow and eat freely so they’ll develop enough strength to turn into butterflies. Whacking the garden with chemicals is not particularly friendly so avoid them.
Butterflies Love Hot Colors
There’s a reason we’re going to be planting a ton of yellow and red flowers in the butterfly garden. This insect loves the hot stuff so don’t skimp on heat.
Plant in Big Clumps
You want to attract butterflies – there’s not much brain power there so you have to give them a really big target. Plan on putting in large clumps of their favorite plants. In this case, bigger really is better.
In other words, put a minimum of three of any one kind in the clump to create big display of bloom.
Butterflies prefer full sun so your butterfly garden design efforts should focus on creating that full sun garden for them. The sunnier the better and out of the wind is preferred as well.
Now this is something most gardeners ignore in their butterfly garden design work. Adding water is a simple thing; you don’t require a pond though. What you do is excavate a very shallow depression (24-inches around by 6-inches deep) and either line it with plastic or sink a plastic garbage can lid in it. Do not puncture it for drainage. The objective is to create an area where it stays very muddy.
Butterflies will congregate on this very muddy ground regularly to sip up the water. You can surround the muddy area with plants or make it visible (my advice is to make it visible with very short plants in front so you can watch the butterflies sitting on the ground in one spot for more than a few seconds)
Put the stones in the morning sun. Butterflies love the radiant heat and can often be found snoozing and overnighting on these rocks. Rocks in the afternoon sun heat up too late in the day to get the butterflies moving and will be far less effective.