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Beginner’s guide to: Gardening

By Kirstine Pedersen

Updated: July 4th, 2018

By preparing a well-planned garden design, you’ll be on the right (garden) path to success.

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If you’re embarking on your first gardening project and not sure where to start, our beginner gardening tips may help.  Knowing where to start, planning and understanding your garden design will be the key to your success. Before you get down to the local garden centre, there are a few things to consider.

Looking for help with your garden? Find local gardening services with Airtasker.

What type of gardening do you want to enjoy?

How do you want to use your garden? Are you doing some landscaping to finish off a newly constructed home, or giving your existing garden a face lift? Will this space be used as an entertaining area, children’s play area, g vegetable patch or chicken coop? Do you want to build a feature garden? Understanding the purpose of your garden will help you plan the design.

tuscan gardening
Source: Pinterest

Landscaping and layout

Think about the space you have and how you might make the most out of it by carefully planning the layout. Garden goers with large, country backyards are blessed with their options. But if you’re in a terrace house in London and don’t have more than a 4-meter squared courtyard, you’ll need to be a little bit smarter with your space. Draw up your design and experiment. Marshalls have a really handy garden design tool where you can create 3D garden designs for free.

Design ideas

A little bit of design inspiration never hurts. Again, think about the space and how you want to use it. Seek out plants, grass, garden accessories and possibly even outdoor furniture to complete your design. Are you into water features? Would a flower arch complete your garden’s English tea party look? Would a grapevine work nicely with a Tuscan theme? Garden centers often have mini display gardens that you can walk through, and there is plenty of design inspiration to be found online.

beehive gardening
Image credit: Harold Lloyd
Get your own homegrown honey by having a quaint little backyard beehive.

Drainage and ground preparation

When planning your garden, don’t forget to consider things like drainage and ground preparation. You don’t want half of your back garden flooded and transformed into a mud puddle every time it rains. You may need to level the ground, dig it out, and even prepare the soil if it’s lacking nutrients. If you have a bit of laboring work ahead of you, think about when the right time to do it will be. There’s no point in scheduling a landscaping job when rain is forecast, as mud and rain won’t allow for much productivity.

Read up on what you’re planting

Research is key for newbies to gardening. Know whether the plants, grass, flowers, vegetables, etc. you are interested in will thrive in your climate, how to care for them, and what their maintenance requirements are. For example, how much water does Sir Walter grass need? Will it do well in a hot climate? How much sun does it need? What are the best conditions for laying turf and how long will it take to settle?

‘Sun-mapping’ is a thing – how much sun does your garden actually get and where? Spend a day outside to find out.

Spacing plants appropriately

When designing a dream garden, many enthusiastic beginners neglect to think about the spacing of plants. If you’re constructing a tropical paradise of different varieties of palm trees to surround your pool, prepare for their eventual growth. They’ll drop fronds, seeds and maybe even coconuts; they can grow over roofs, pools and block gutters. Do some research on the species you want to use and space plants appropriately to account for growth.

Maintenance

Once you’ve established your garden,  you’ll need to have a good maintenance routine in place to keep it looking good. Think about this in the planning stage. Consider:

  • Lawn care – aerating, watering and mowing
  • Weeding
  • Hedging
  • Pruning
  • Fertilising
  • Cleaning (e.g. bird baths)
  • Pest control
  • Irrigation, sprinklers
  • Gardening tools and equipment, e.g. hoses, shovels, etc.

gardening hose
Source: hey there, home

Budget check

Now that you’ve got your design planned out, measure out your requirements and cost it out before you get started. Don’t forget to consider ongoing maintenance costs as well; think in terms of money, time and effort.

Get ready to get started!

By preparing a well-planned garden design, you’ll be on the right path to green thumb success. If you’ve identified certain tasks that you’d like to do yourself, think about your skills and experience and consider watching some online videos. Otherwise, there are plenty of people offering helpful gardening services in London.

Not sure where to start? Get some advice from a more experienced gardener to help.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kirstine

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