Gardening may seem like a simple task, but getting your garden to thrive takes more than simply picking out some flowers and putting them in the ground. Careful research and maintenance is required to achieve the appearance you want for your landscape. Consider the following tips:
Decide which elements you want your landscape to provide. This can include privacy screening, shade, erosion control, division of space, focal points, noise control, colorful flower displays, wildlife habitats, food growing and play areas. The plants you choose will help reinforce (or detract from) the purpose of your landscape, so make sure you have a specific goal in mind.
Learn about your garden space. Each yard and garden can have several microclimates within a small area. By researching your yard, you’ll know the specific types of plants that will thrive there. Know your type of soil, how much sunlight and shade each area of your yard receives, and how wet or dry the area gets. Pay attention to areas that are windy or exposed, poorly drained, and hard to access (maintenance will be troublesome in these areas).
Research plants ahead of time. Look up plants in online encyclopedias to determine how well they grow in your zone and soil type, whether or not they need shade, if their watering requirements are similar to other plants in the same space, and how large they’ll grow. This can help you avoid making costly mistakes or buying plants that won’t grow well in your garden.
Front yard or backyard? Front yard plants should draw the eye to your home instead of overpowering it. Complementary colors and lower-growing plants are often good choices. Backyard gardens can be more personal and allow for a greater variety of plant choices. You don’t need to be as conscious of color choice, height and other factors in reference to stealing attention from your home.
Know how much time you’ll be spending in the garden. Some plants require a lot of care, while others grow well even when neglected. If you like to weed, dead-head and trim, you may be well-suited for flowers and plants that need constant maintenance. If you’re the hands-off type, consider plants that need little trimming or attention.
Be open to outside help. Planting may seem easy, but consider hiring a professional if you’re planting expensive trees, shrubs or complex gardens. Planting technique dictates how well a plant grows in a certain space, and soil must be prepared with the proper mulch, compost and fertilizer. Also, each plant’s hole must be correctly sized—planting holes that are too shallow or too deep can kill trees and shrubs in mere weeks by not providing the right amount of air, water and growing room. A professional landscape contractor will have the tools and knowledge to make sure your plants are installed correctly.
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