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What To Consider When Starting a Garden

11 November 2011
What To Consider When Starting a Garden

Perhaps you've moved into a new home with a new yard, or you've decided to clear the jungle that is your existing backyard. You want a nice-looking yard with a beautiful garden you can be proud of. Then maybe you can entertain friends outside, just like you see in the magazine ads.

It may be a bit overwhelming to plan a garden from scratch, so let me give you a heads-up with some tips as you begin the planning stage.

Note how big the area is that you have to work with.

If it's a small area, recognize that you might not be able to include all that you would like. You can pare down with smaller beds of flowers, less grass, or dwarf-size trees. Become aware of how big your possible greenery choices may grow and don't be fooled with how tiny plants are at the nursery.

If the yard is big, then consider tackling it in stages. Have a master plan, but don't try to do it all at once. That will leave you with a bad back, sore muscles, and wondering where your summer (or year) went. Consider installing any retaining walls, rock or brickwork, and paths first. These hardscape elements are the skeleton of your garden and will lead you naturally to the next phases - grass, plantings, ornamentals, ground cover, etc.

Good garden ideas are all around you.

You don't have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, get behind the wheel and cruise around town to get ideas you can copy. Take pictures and bring them to the nursery so they can help you pick out the same plants and flowers. You could even chat with your favorite gardeners and walk away with cuttings to start in your garden.

How much time do you have to garden?

Be mindful of how much work you're going to create for yourself with your new landscape. Know thyself. If you think gardens are just to look at and not constantly putter around in, then choose non-fussy plants that don't need a lot of pruning or tending. Also cut back on the number of trees that lose their leaves each fall so you don't have a lot of raking to do. Ground cloth for weed control is a must.

Starting a new garden is exciting as well as a bit overwhelming. Consider the size of your area, getting ideas from other gardens, and what you can do to create a low-maintenance garden when you're in the planning stages.