By: Adam Easterling
Considering turning an unused space into a new section of your garden this spring? It’s important to make sure you’re prepared! You can't just throw a bunch of seeds on the ground and expect a botanical paradise. Let's prepare a few ways to make that new garden a success.
Step 1. Plan out the Spacing
You’ve had your eye on that space for a long time, so you likely have some idea of what you want your new garden to look like when it’s done. But take some time to consider these factors before you break ground:
- Make sure your garden will get the right amount of sunlight, usually at least six hours per day.
- Keep in mind drainage; nobody wants a drowning daffodil.
- Consider other factors such as spacing, yard critters and sloping when planning your layout.
- Make sure bed borders are well defined. A crisp divide between yard and garden makes the whole presentation pop! Are you going to use a plastic border? Brick? Stone? There are a lot of choices to consider here.
Tip: While you’re planning the size and shape of the garden bed, start planning which plants will adorn your new garden. Pick a few larger evergreen plants or shrubs to anchor the space and fill in annuals and smaller perennials later.
Step 2. Clean Out Your Space
Whether you’re taking out existing foliage or starting from scratch on a grassy plot, try to make the garden space a blank canvas. Before doing anything else, you need to get your garden area cleaned out and framed.
- Remove any leaves and debris, including any plants in the space you’re not intending to keep.
- Cut back any perennials and decorative grasses you plan on keeping to give way to new growth.
- Rip up any grass that’s in your space.
- Create your new garden’s borders. Either spray paint where the borders will be or mark it off with plastic edging. This will let you clearly visualize your garden coming to life.
Tip: Use the border from step one as your guide on where and when to stop the cleanout.
Step 3: Check and Till the Soil
Now it's time to get dirty! Check the type of soil in your bed to see what to add, if anything. Soil usually varies from sandy to loam to more clay-based. A sandier soil drains too easily, so clay or fortified topsoil might need to be added.
Turning and tilling the soil is important for a thriving garden. The roots of your plants need to find the nutrients of the soil, and loosening that compacted soil helps them do so.
Step 4: Plant Your Garden
Now time to get that garden growing! Pick the bulbs and seeds and plants that will bring your landscape to life. Combine annuals, perennials, decorative grasses and whatever else strikes your fancy.
Tip: Follow planting instructions for each plant you pick up, keeping in mind the depth and spacing you'll need.