8 Steps to Take for the Perfect Flower Garden
A flower garden can be a great update for any outdoor space. A garden creates ambiance, boosts curb appeal, and can be a therapeutic experience. For some, residential gardening can be intimidating. With so many options, it can be overwhelming to select the right flowers, the types of fertilizers to use, and where to place the plants. But it doesn’t have to be with the proper guidance.
Following are several steps to help you create the perfect flower garden.
Find the Right Spot
Finding the right location is the first step to creating a special flower garden. Are you looking to increase curb appeal, or do you want to create an oasis in the back of the house? Is the area large or small? Does it need a border or a central focal point? Sometimes having a small indoor garden by a window is easier to maintain than an outdoor garden. Think about what you’re trying to accomplish and how much time you want to spend on it, then go from there. Choosing the spot for your garden impacts everything else – from plant selection to maintenance requirements and more.
Make Sure There’s Enough Sunlight
Some plants grow better in the shade than others, which makes for a fantastic shade garden. On the other hand, some plants require full sun for most of the day. Depending on your aesthetic, you may find a wider range of flowering plant options that require full sun. Regardless, it’s important to make sure there’s enough sunlight for the plants that need it. Here’s a quick breakdown of how light conditions are defined. You can use this information as a guide to help determine the level of sun your area receives and thus, the types of plants that will thrive in that area:
- Sun = direct sunlight >6 hours a day
- Part Sun/Part Shade = 3-6 hours of sun exposure, preferably in the cooler parts of the day
- Full Shade = areas receiving <3 hours of sun per day
- Dense Shade = deep shade, no direct sunlight and no reflective light
Know Which Flowers to Select
Once you know the area you have to work with, the sunlight the area gets each day, and how much time you want to spend on maintenance – you’re ready to select your flowers! It will be helpful to think about a color scheme as you go about picking plants. You might want to select complementary colors, such as red and green or yellow and violet. Or consider colors that are close to each other on the color wheel for a more harmonious effect. Additionally, choose plants that will give your garden texture and shape. Find plants with varying leaf shapes to add interest.
You’ll want to visualize how the plants you choose will play off of each other as your plants mature. Layering plants properly ensures maximum visual appeal for your space. Consider anchoring your garden with shrubs to add height, placing shorter, blooming varieties in front. Also, keep in mind the proper spacing of plants so that crowding does not become an issue. For more guidance, ask your local garden center professional. And check out the PlantTAGG mobile webapp to better understand localized plant care tips and best practices.
Choose the Right Fertilizer
The type of fertilizer you select for your garden will depend on the type of soil you have and the plants you intend to grow. There are organic and synthetic fertilizers available. Each has its pros and cons depending on your location and plant selection. Fertilizers are labeled with an NPK ratio, which tells you the proportion of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (the three elements most commonly deficient in soils). Phosphorus supports a robust root system and flower production, so pay close attention to this element in the ratio on the fertilizer you choose for your flower garden. Determine also if you will need to amend your soil with compost or other materials to enhance nutrients, pH level and drainage.
Keep a Water Source Nearby
Ideally your flower garden will have a water source nearby. While this isn’t critical for your garden’s success, it can make things easier for you! It can be a pain to have to carry water to your plants every time they need it. One of the most convenient ways to keep your garden hydrated is to keep a hose nearby. You can tell when it’s time to water your plant by placing a finger about an inch beneath the soil; if it’s dry, it’s watering time.
Pinpoint Frost Dates
Your garden won’t perform very well if you plant either too early or too late in the season. Try to figure out when frost begins each year, and when the last cold snap usually happens. Once you know when frost begins to develop, you can prune your plants or bring them indoors to keep them from sustaining any damage.
Keep Containers in Mind
If you need to save more space in your garden, containers are always an option. Many plants can grow in pots, including various flowers, herbs, vegetables, shrubs, and more. However, you’ll need to make sure that the container is large enough to contain the entire plant and its roots. Containers make beautiful additions to any garden. They are an easy way to add pops of color, height variation and points of interest throughout an outdoor space.
A layer of mulch around two to three inches deep can help maintain your plants. Mulch keeps weeds at bay and unexposed to sunlight. It also reduces moisture loss. By adding a nice layer of mulch, you’ll see healthier plants and you won’t need to water them as often. You can choose from many different types of mulch, including shredded leaves, pine straw, or straw, as well as conventional woodchip mulch. Mulch also comes in different colors, which can add another layer of interest to your flower garden.
Get Started on Your Flower Garden
Keeping these steps in mind can help you grow and maintain the perfect residential flower garden. As you gain more experience gardening, you’ll be able to learn what makes for the ideal garden at your home based on where you live and your personal preferences. You can always turn to your local garden center for feedback. And, the PlantTAGG service is a great (and free!) way to make sure you stay on top of your localize plant care recommendations and tasks.
Simply text ‘PLANTS’ to 46376 to set up your yard and get started on your flower garden today!