To get the full benefit, design the garden using the full search for each garden plot and then filter the resulting native plants by using the hyperlinks to read about each and print out the ones you think will work for your garden design.
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." John Muir (1869)
After almost 30 years of fighting with native plants, planting hundreds of gardens, we've come to the conclusion that James Lovelock's Gaia does have meaning as does Clements 'complex organism'. The 'whole' concept can be very useful in putting together a small scale system in a garden. We've observed it in many environments, many gardens, landscapes, and ecosystems. Put the whole together right, and the garden becomes self-sustaining and stable.
Native gardens are wild. We're trying to help you understand their natural needs, and make them as fun for you as they have been for us. Taming is not the operative word, rather living with, experiencing, and enjoying the vitality of a native garden instead.
We're California -based and have grown native plants, installed native plants, and maintained native plants for more than 25 years, but the data generated by the database still gives some funny results. We're at about 80% accuracy, ok, maybe 75%. We hope to push that to 90% in the next year. Coastal towns produce more accurate native lists, sometimes near perfect, mirroring a native hillside. (The data will 'think' of a whole lot more possibilities than I.) Some of the margin areas of California, such as Needles, Alturas, and Eureka may be as low as 60% and provide much merriment for our critics about some of the weird native plants recommended. BUT, I've heard worse from some of the local nurseries, and although this is the 5th beta of this, it still is beta.
The north side (north slope garden) of the house will give a different native plant list than the front side, the clay soil on the left of the front door is different from the sandy soil on the right of the front walk. Large areas may need as many as ten searches, one for every soil, type site, aspect, biological interactions, and moisture level. This is very consistent with a native hillside, little native plant 'communities' every 30-200 ft. These niches(as defined by Hutchinson(1959)) are not a new native plant community, but a part of the whole. Some plant niches can be very small. Almost a foot print can eliminate a native plant grouping nestled into a crevice or under a boulder. If your site has these nuances, each needs to be searched individually. If there's a seasonal stream through the property, it has different native plants than the hillside one pace up. Two more paces and you commonly have another native plant grouping. In many ways it will make you wish for Carrizo Plains, where everything is the almost same for miles.
This tool only works in California. If ya don't like it, send $300,000 (maybe more if you want it all spelled right) and we'll happily 'fix' it for the rest of the dominant native plants of the US.