All expert and professional gardeners know that the key to a successful garden starts with great garden planning. Starting a garden without a clear design, plans, or goals can be a recipe for failure. What size will your garden be? Am I going to plant flowers or vegetables? Do my plants need full sun or partial? These are the questions you need to be asking yourself. Let’s dive deeper.

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Choose The Right Location

One of the first mistakes someone can make is not choosing the right location. As mentioned above, knowing which direction your home faces can be key. The sun always rises in the East and sets in the West. If your plants need full sun, you may want to plant on the North or South sides of your home, this way the sun’s exposure remains the entire day. If your plants require partial sun, planting on the East or West is a great way for your home to provide shade during half of the day. Also, be aware of any large trees that may block the sun.

How To Start Planning

Every great garden starts with a great plan, and the best way to ensure your design is solid is with the right garden planner software. Using an online garden planner is the perfect way to ensure no mistakes are made during the design process. To get started, you determine the size of your garden, then start adding icons to your design. Garden planners come with hundreds of icons. Some of the more robust planners even include the icons and tools necessary for you to build your entire property, like Hortisketch. Take note of the recommended growing distances, spacings, and how deep to plant each flower or vegetable. Some garden planners provide this information. Others only give you the icons for placement. After you build your garden using the icons and design tools available to you in the garden planner, next you’ll want to look at a gardening calendar.

Growing Calendars

A garden calendar is a useful tool for knowing when it is time to sow, grow, and harvest your vegetables; or if you wish to know the blooming time of your flowers. Typically, you would enter your zip code, location, or growing zone, and the growing calendar would update based on where you live so it can provide you with the most accurate growing information. If you do not know your growing zone, the USDA provides a tool used for finding your growing zone. Your growing zone is important when using a growing calendar, so you know when your first and last frost dates are to ensure you don’t plant something too early or late and have it perish from frost.

Understand Your Soil

After having planned your garden and created a gardening calendar, before you go outside and plant, understanding your soil situation is critical. Good soil is well drained, weeded, and not too compact. If your soil has too much moisture you risk root rot. Weeds can steal valuable nutrients away from your plants, and soil that is too tightly compacted will restrict root growth. Use fertilizers to add nutrients to your soil and mulch, like leaves, hay, or wood chips to help reduce weeds. Different kinds of mulch can also add color and style to your property. A well-mulched garden adds a nice dark brown color to the under-bed beneath your flowers.

Growing Flowers or Vegetables

What are your goals with your garden? If your aim is to provide food for your family, then growing edibles might be the best solution. Starting with simple vegetables like tomatoes, radishes, or carrots is the solution. These are simple foods that are great in many dishes or can be added to salads for a healthy lunch. If your plan is to make your yard more attractive, then starting with flowers may be the easiest. Flowers have the advantage of not being disturbed too frequently by animals or pests, helping you cut back on pesticides or needing fencing to block off animals. Flowers also are a great way for you to add a pop of color to your property. 

Join A Gardening Community

Gardening communities and clubs are a great way to learn and find advice from other gardeners who like to grow similar crops that you enjoy growing. If you like to grow roses, find a local rose society for advice on how to grow the best roses in your growing zone. 

Use The Right Tools

After you have planned your garden and prepared everything above, the last step is to make sure you have the right tools to plant your garden. Make sure you have the right shovels or trowels to ensure you can plant the bulbs or seeds to the correct depth. Have you considered irrigation? If you do not own a sprinkler system, invest in a watering canteen so you can water your plants. This is essential in drier climates that may lack rainwater. Make sure you have the right fertilizers and mulch to make sure your garden has the right nutrients and is absent of weeds. Garden gloves are also helpful to protect your hands from dirt, rocks, or thorns from certain plants. 

In conclusion, planning a garden isn’t very hard if you follow our recommendations. It all starts with choosing the right location and garden planner, then getting outside and planting your garden.


Ann Sanders

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