Top Tips for the Gardening Novice
We are in the throes of spring, the season that undoubtedly brings us back into our yards and gardens as we prepare for the warm summer months that will soon come. Have you thought about planting a garden but aren’t sure where to start? In preparation for the coming season, Houzz put together some of their favorite tips for those of us that haven’t quite become green thumbs, but want to add some beauty and relaxation to our backyards.
Have a walk around your property
Being familiar with your space is critical and provides you with the opportunity to “map out” the balance of shade and sunlight, test your soil (especially if you plan on growing edibles), create a list of what’s already there (plants, water features, paths, etc.) and gives you a chance to get creative.
Outline your vision
Hop onto Pinterest or pick up a home and gardening magazine and find a few images that inspire you. Are there particular themes that emerge, such as modern or lush? Once you know the style, print off a photo of the exterior of your home and imagine how they’ll look together, and craft an informal list of the type of things you’d like to do in your garden.
One of the biggest mistakes a novice gardener can make is building a really large garden without considering the time and effort it will take to maintain it. Think about the garden that you want, and then scale it back, knowing that you can always expand in the future. When buying plants at the nursery, it’s key to account for the time it will take to plant, and only pick up what you know you can get in the ground within a couple of days.
Plan, plan, plan
One simply cannot over-plan when it comes to starting a garden. This includes sketches with ideas, measurements of space, and perhaps a visit to the nursery simply to “research” and take photos of plants you like before you commit to anything. Though it will feel time consuming at the start, putting together a concrete plan will save you much more as you work through the process.
Ready your tools
As a beginner gardener, you may not yet have the tools you’ll need to get the job done and the gardening aisle can prove a bit overwhelming if you’re not sure exactly what you’ll need. To begin, you’ll want to ensure you have a good set of gardening gloves, a shovel, trowel and weeding tool, a hose with a nice spray nozzle, a hand pruner, metal rake and leaf rake.
Balance annuals with perennials
If you choose too many annual plants, then you’ll be back at square one with next year’s garden. The recommendation is to evenly balance perennials and annuals, to ensure your garden blooms beautifully and lasts many seasons.
Repetition is key
An easy tactic for adding a professional quality to your garden is to repeat the same plants within different places throughout the landscape. This can work well both in garden beds and in potted planters as well.
Save money with seeds and starts
Though much easier on the wallet, starting a full garden using only seeds can be a bit frustrating because it takes time for the fruits of your labor to appear. A great alternative is to purchase some seedling starts and plant some of your own seeds. Houzz recommends starting lettuce, beans, sunflowers, marigolds or zinnias from seed.