by David Salman, High Country Gardens Chief Horticulturist
When it comes to planning a flower garden or preparing for a newly landscaped area of your yard, there are lots of choices to make. Many gardeners don't know where to start – but not to worry, the planning process can be simple! The helpful tips below will make garden design easy. Read on to learn more.
Garden Design: Getting Started
Here's a list of factors to understand before any plants go into the ground:
- How big is the area to be planted? Even if it's only approximate, this tells you how many plants will fit comfortably without becoming an overgrown jungle.
- What are the light levels and growing conditions? Are you planting in a hot, dry south- or west-facing location with full sun exposure? Or, are you planting in a cool and shady north- or northeast-facing area? Take some time to observe your new garden space, and look for plants that are suited for those conditions.
- Where is it in relation to the house or other permanent plants? How close is it to the house and water supply? Do you look out on the area, or can you see it from the street? Is there root competition from nearby trees or shrubs?
- What type of soil do you have? Our guide to Garden Soil Testing will help you learn all about your soil, the foundation of a healthy garden. You can also bring a sample to a local nursery or send a sample to a local extension program to have it tested. Soil and plants are interdependent, so to feed your plants, you must feed your soil. Always use natural and organic soil amendments, as nature intended.
- How much rainfall and moisture can you expect? Is it a low spot that collects water after a rain? Or is it on a slope that dries out quickly? Is it near a downspout from the roof that provides extra moisture for plants that like moist soil?
- What USDA Hardiness zone are you in? This will help you find the right plants for your climate.
Once you've taken some time to understand your growing conditions, you can start the fun part, creating your wish list of plants. You can use our robust website search and filter features to find plants that match your growing conditions.