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Garden Planning

Jun 3, 2008
For years I have been going to the nursery in the spring and buying flowers and plants that I thought were "pretty" only to get them home and realize they don't go together or don't all fit in my small city garden. This year, I have decided to put a little effort into planning my garden before I go out and let my impulses drive my purchases. There are several questions you should ask yourself before you decide which plants and flowers to put in your garden.

1. What is your gardening experience level? If you're a novice gardener, don't fill your garden with high-maintenance, temperamental plants that require a lot of attention and knowledge. If you are interested in gaining gardening experience, I suggest that you add one higher-maintenance plant such as a rose bush which requires regular pruning to get some idea of the work involved. If you enjoy it, you can consider adding more next year.

2. What is the purpose of your garden? Some people have a garden because they love to spend hours and hours gardening. Others just want some pretty flower to look at while sitting outside on the deck. There are lots of options for the "lazy" gardener who enjoys the beauty of a garden, but doesn't want to get her hands too dirty. Do some research before you buy or ask an expert at the garden center which plants and flowers are easiest to grow.

3. How big is your garden? You should plot out your garden space on graph paper and plan where each plant will go and how much space it will need. Be sure to allow room for plants that will need to spread out as they grow. Empty spaces can easily be filled in with small green plants or decorative rocks.

4. What color combinations will work best? Some colors go very well together while others seem to stab your eyes. It's also important to consider the location of the garden. The surrounding structures and foliage will also help you determine the best color scheme.

5. Are you planning to grow food? Fruits and vegetables have their own requirements that must be kept in mind when planning a garden. You might choose to have a separate space for growing vegetables and keep a separate flower garden.

6. Do you want a more formal, manicured look or a natural wildflower garden? Some plants and flowers spread out on their own and require little maintenance. Occasional weeding is all that you'll need to do for this wildflower garden. A more manicured garden obviously requires much more work. In addition to weeding, you will have to keep shrubs trimmed and pruned as well as maintaining the flowers you choose so they don't spread out of control.

7. Have you done enough research? This might actually be a better first question to ask yourself. There are so many books, websites, and magazines dedicated to gardening, you have no excuse for not doing the research. Spend a rainy afternoon in the library browsing through gardening books and then choose two or three to check out and use in you actual plan. Visit gardening websites and get specific information about plants, vegetables, and flowers that grow best in your area.

My last word of advice is to start small and create a garden that you will enjoy for years to come. The beauty of home gardening is that you don't have to create your dream garden all at once. Make small changes here and there throughout the season or from year to year. The creative process and the experience of nurturing your own garden can be extremely rewarding.
About the Author
Jeffrey Dorrian has been making handmade soap for six years. Today you will find him writing articles about soap making, gardening and internet marketing. Making and marketing handmade soap is his main passion.
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