Biodiversity is an increasingly important criterion in designing ecological compensation areas and urban green areas. However, little is known about how important biodiversity is to the general public. This paper presents the results of two complementary studies investigating the meadow preferences of visitors to a botanical garden in Switzerland. In the first study, 152 people were asked to create their own favourite meadow patch by selecting 25 out of 779 local wild plants (54 species) that were displayed in flowerpots. In the second study, 143 people were asked with the help of a written questionnaire to imagine a bare piece of land the size of 100 m × 100 m close to their place of living and mentally create the meadow of their dreams. In both cases, study participants assembled meadows that were species-rich and rich in structural diversity (expressed by plant height and leaf forms). Moreover, they explicitly stated diversity as their main assemblage criterion. Although study participants favoured plants with large or colourful flowers, only a third of all plants in the meadows created with real plants were flowering and in people's imagined meadows grasses were frequently included, indicating that people like diverse meadows consisting of a green matrix with some colourful flowers.