For those of us who garden, when we hear the question “How do I start?”, we’re thinking the real question is, "How do I stop?".
As in life, gardening is a journey, not the destination. No two yards are alike – heck, no two seasons are alike – so there's going to be some trial and error here. Just remember that there are no permanent mistakes in gardening. (And perennials are really tough to kill.) Planted in the wrong spot? Too close together? Want to try it someplace else? Just grab a shovel.
First, look around your yard and pick an area you’d like to add some visual interest (or just make pretty). If just starting out, pick a small area. Save going crazy for later on when you have a better idea of what you’re doing. Don’t forget container gardening as an option if you can’t get plants in the ground.
You’ll need a few basic pieces of information, and we’ll show you how to get them:
Look at your site around midday. If you:
Repeat this process late in the day to see how long your conditions last. Most plants aren’t too fussy, but if you have hot, baking, late afternoon sun – then you will want to avoid planting moderate shade lovers, or plants that enjoy moisture as they will struggle in that spot.
Use a shovel to dig down about 6 inches. Grab a handful of the dirt and squeeze (like making a dirt snowball). If it:
Is your spot squishy enough to get your tennis shoes wet a couple hours after a summer downpour? If yes, you’ll want to plant moisture tolerant plants. (Forget cactus for this spot!) It it’s still wet but not squishy; you have nice average drainage. Can’t really tell it rained? Then you have a dry site and will want to choose plants that like drier conditions.
Our Plant Finder can be used to find your hardiness zone based on zip code. There are perennials for virtually every condition. You can also search based on height, flower color, season of bloom, etc. Now the hard part – picking which plants you’d like to try! Just remember we’re always available to help with any questions/concerns you might have.