Designing and planting your new home’s garden may seem like an overwhelming job. By using the right tools and taking the steps we’ve outlined for you, you’ll be growing your dream garden in no time!
1. Create a garden map. Walk around your entire property so you can sketch a rough garden map of all planting areas. Note which areas are full- versus partial-sun, and which areas are primarily shaded. If there are any existing trees or plants you want to keep, be sure to include them in your map. Should you want to add a water feature, firepit or other dedicated areas in the near- or long-term, add those to your sketch as well although you may not be installing them immediately.
2. Set your style and goals. As you come across gardens that appeal to you whether in a neighborhood, online or in a magazine, gather the images to use as a guide. When you’ve accumulated a bunch, determine your preferred style. Are you drawn primarily to English cottage themes or contemporary Zen gardens? Once your style is defined, jot down your goals for the garden—are there specific activities you want to do with your children? Do you want to grow an edible garden, practice Yoga in a certain spot or create a path to the woods behind your home? These answers all serve as inputs to your perfect garden plan.
3. Pick your plants. Before you actually buy plants and flowers, take a few trips to local nurseries to research what varieties are available depending on the amount of sun the particular areas receive. Read each tag and document when they bloom, and how much sun and water they require. As you consider which plants to put where, keep in mind that it is beneficial to choose plants that bloom at different times of the year so you have color most months of the year. Try to incorporate both perennials and annuals vs. solely perennials which is a novice’s mistake. Perennials are convenient, but you’ll appreciate the opportunity to swap out annuals as your tastes and home’s exterior décor change over the years.
4. Mix seeds and starts. If you’re on a budget, it’s best to choose some seeds and some started plants. Choosing solely starts is expensive and often limits your options in terms of what to grow. The best plants to start from seed include sunflowers, marigolds, cosmos, zinnias, cleomes, nasturtiums, poppies and bachelor buttons. Ask your local nursery professional for her opinion if you aren’t sure which varieties are best. Next week we’ll share which edible plants are best to grow from seed when we focus on edible gardens.
5. Arm yourself. Your shopping list for necessary tools include garden gloves; a long hose and spray nozzle; a shovel; a trowel and weeding tool; a hand pruner; and a metal and leaf rake. Once you have your style, plan, plants and tools on-hand, you’ll be ready to begin your dream garden!
Article by: Jennifer Elkow
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