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Node placement strategy is an intrinsic issue when provisioning of a wireless sensor network (WSN). In this paper, we address the placement problem for a class of heterogeneous WSNs, wherein nodes have different energy supplies and functionalities. We formulate a generalized node placement optimization problem aiming at minimizing the network cost with constraints on lifetime and connectivity. We propose a placement scheme with two phases. We model the placement of the first phase relaying nodes (FPRNs) as a minimum set cover problem and a dynamic programming algorithm is developed to solve it. For the placement of the second phase relaying nodes (SPRNs), we derive two fundamental design principles-the far-near strategy and max-min strategy. The implementation of the placement schemes is illustrated by examples. Our proposed mechanism is a first attempt towards facilitating realistic relay node placement in WSNs.