How to Start a Flower Garden
Having your own flower garden can be a wonderful experience and can add beauty and joy to your home and yard. Before you begin planting your garden flowers, you should start with garden planning and prep work to ensure that your garden is healthy and remains beautiful for a long time.
Step 1: Choose a Location
The first thing you’ll want to do is choose the best possible spot to plant your flower garden. There are three main things you need to consider when choosing the best location for your garden:
- Sunlight - Do the flowers you want to plant require full sun or partial shade?
- Drainage - Is there a natural drainage system in place, like a sloping hill, for instance, or will you need to add a system?
- Accessibility - Will this location be easy to maneuver in?
Once you’ve thought about each of these elements and found the best spot, you can start planning the garden layout. To begin, try sketching out your ideas on a piece of paper. You can then trace the borders of your flower garden design with a stick in the dirt to give you an idea of what the layout will look like. Another idea is to use simple household flour to trace the outlines. This way, if you decide you don’t like something, you can always brush it out of the way and start over.
Step 2: Decide What Flowers You Want to Plant
The next step for starting your flower garden is to decide which plants will be planted in the garden. You may already have some favorites in mind before you start, which is great! You’ll want to check the care requirements of those flowers to make sure you have the right environment for them to grow in. When choosing which flowers you want in your garden, think about the following:
- What is the climate like where you live? Do you have brutal winters or live in a rainy area? With some research, you can find flowers that are best suited for your area.
- What colors do you want?
- When do the flowers bloom?
- What size and shape is the flower when it blooms?
- How much care does the flower need?
Step 3: Create a Flower Bed Design
Flower gardens are naturally beautiful, so it’s easy to create a beautiful flower bed. The main thing you’ll want to keep in mind is the varying sizes of the flowers you’ve chosen. Remember that taller flowers should be placed at the back of the garden and shorter ones in the front. This way all of your flowers can be seen, and the taller plants won’t block the smaller ones or get in the way of their natural sunlight. In addition, all of your flowers should be easily accessible when it comes to fertilizing and trimming them so you don’t end up stepping on or crushing them by accident.
Step 3: Test and Prep Your Soil
Before you plant anything, you should conduct a thorough test of your existing soil. Many places offer PH tests free of charge. You can also obtain a home testing kit if you so desire.
After testing it, prep your soil by fertilizing and tilling it. This process stirs up the nutrients that are already in the soil and gets it ready for optimal flower growth. Compost is a huge asset to any garden and gives an extra boost to the already existing soil. You should spread the compost in a layer of about 3 to 4 inches over everything, including the grass that is already there. Also, be sure to pretreat your soil with some form of pesticide to ensure that deadly insects don’t infiltrate your garden and kill your flowers. Try to find one that is environmentally friendly with minimal to no harsh chemicals.
Step 4: Dig Holes for Seeds or Flowers
Once you’ve designed your outline, tilled and tested your soil, added compost and treated the area with pesticide, it’s time to start digging! You should dig holes in your soil about 8 to 10 inches deep. Some plants need even more depth, somewhere around 24 inches (2 feet). This is especially important if you’re planting perennials, because they require extra root space to grow down into the earth. Be sure that everything is spaced fairly evenly so that when the flowers are fully grown, they won’t end up “choking” each other.
As you’re digging, if you find any rocks or old root pieces, chunks of matter, etc., be sure to toss this to the side. Hard objects left in the soil can prohibit healthy root growth of your new flowers. Once you’re done digging, you may want to rake the surface so that everything is level and ready for planting.
Step 5: Plant the Seeds or Flowers
Now for the fun part — planting your garden flowers! You can choose to plant the flowers from their original seeds, or use seedlings instead, which are the flowers in their infant stages that have already begun to establish roots. Seedlings are usually the best option, and you will want to start your seedlings two to three weeks before you plant them in your flower bed.
Handle flowers or seedlings with care as you transfer them to the flower bed. If you made a flower bed design, be sure to reference any notes or sketches you made so that you plant your flowers in the right spots. Once you have your flowers and seedlings in their holes, surround any gaps with soil and water generously.
Step 6: Add Some Final Touches
When you’ve completed your planting, you might want to consider adding edging to the garden to give it a polished look. This can also help prevent weed growth in the flower bed. You can also add garden decor like gazing globes, sculptures and decorative rocks to transform your flower garden into an oasis. You can read our guide on garden decorating for more tips and inspiration.
Once you’re finished, it’s time to enjoy a lovely flower garden that the whole family will appreciate.