Planning a Garden

Whether you intend to plant a single flowerbed, create a full vegetable garden or turn your home’s entire landscape into a garden paradise, the best place to start out is with a solid plan. The plan can be nothing more than a working sketch, or it can be designed by a landscape architect to include all the professional ins and outs. The complexity doesn’t matter as much as the roadmap it will provide for guiding your gardening purchases and decisions.

To create your own plan, you’ll want to have the following things:
* Paper to jot down ideas and draw sketches on.
* Measuring tape to get the real measurements for the beds or areas in which you wish to plant.
* Pencils (rather than pens) for sketching out desired looks and changing them as necessary.

With your tools of the trade in place, you can begin by sketching out the area in which you wish to grow plants. The first thing you will want to do is define the area’s size and its relation to other features in your yard or garden. If it’s a backyard garden, for example, you’ll want to include the house and the land area you intend to keep for grass (if any).

Once you have the area defined, it’s a good idea to examine it closely for these things. You’ll want to know:
* What kind of soil you have. Rocky, for example, or sandy and loose.
* The amount of sunlight the area gets during the day. Is it in full shade all of the time or does the area get full sunlight for several hours during the peak of the day? This will be important for helping you choose plants a few steps from now.
* Availability of water. Is the area you’re intending to grow in one that’s close to an irrigation system or hose? Will a soaker hose added work well here?

With the key information in place, you can begin jotting down some planting ideas. Match up the plants you like with the regions around your home or garden that suit their individual needs. Group those plants that need full sunlight, for example, in areas where you’ve noted full sun shines during the day. Put those plants that need partial sun in the best areas, or create partial sun by using taller full sun plants to create a bit of cover.

Mix and match and change plants to create the look you’re going for. Do keep in mind the available space and any special considerations the plants you like might require. If you’re not comfortable creating your own gardening roadmap, consider hiring a pro to do it for you.

By creating a plan, you help set the tone for the entire landscape or even just a single bed’s appearance. This will help you avoid the look of a mish-mash garden and result in a more tailored appearance for your yard and home.