Gardening and Landscaping

6 Steps to Get a Garden Away to a Vibrant Start

Gardening is not for the faint of heart. Beyond the physical labor and hours of care a mature garden requires, there are many decisions that need to be made. Bring home 10 new plants from the nursery and you have 10 choices to make. Where should they proceed? Will they clash with that bush from the side garden? Will the plant’s shape match the irises about it? Will the plant die from a lack of sunlight?

One easy article can’t negate the work involved with designing a garden from the bottom up, but now I will offer you a couple of actions to begin. Don’t be overwhelmed; proceed step by step, learn the”sedum secret,” and before you know it, you are going to be starting your garden from the bottom up.

Amy Renea

1. Begin with a foundation plant. These aren’t your normal foundation plants as in”three green bushes planted beside the foundation.” These are plants which can be the foundation of your garden.

There are a couple of attributes your foundation plants ought to possess:

Fairly fast-growing
Disease and pest resistant
simple to look after
Propagate easily
Blend easily

Fundamentally, you need a plant which you can place anywhere in your backyard with ease. It has to be repeated over and over again for consistency however maybe not look overdone. You need to be able to disperse the plant by yourself rather than buy hundreds of these, and the plant should look great throughout the entire year.

The improved featured here is from the’Knock Out’ family of roses, aptly called because these rosebushes bloom and bloom and bloom with few insects and issues. Another plus: Cuttings root easily, so you can continue to construct a backyard foundation.

Amy Renea

2. Accessorize your own garden. Once you have selected a main foundation plant which you can use throughout your backyard, you want to consider large accessories. In backyard talk, your”accessories” ought to be large bushes or tiny trees. These secondary crops should mimic or match both the shape and shape of your foundation plant, but show a little diversity.

In this garden, you will see that the’Knock Out’ roses from the foreground, and then in the background is a red tip photinia. The photinia mimics the color scheme of the increased by starting out with a deep red foliage which fades to green as it ages. The curved form of the photinia is also quite similiar to the development pattern of these’Knock Out’ rosebushes.

Amy Renea

3. Find a”pepper” plant. Not as in jalapeños or reddish bells, but a plant which you can sprinkle, or”pepper,” anywhere. It should be quite simple to divide and propogate, have amazing foliage and depart no legs that are uncovered. To put it differently, the plant should remain fairly low into the floor, growing lushly so there are no bare stalks showing. My weapon of choice here is lemon balm and mondo grass. The two mound well and supply the great small plants to fill in any blank holes.

Notice the line of grass and lemon balm from the background of the photograph. They’re a lighter green than the roses, contrasting nicely and giving the eye a way to go in.

Amy Renea

4. Link all the pieces. Once you have your foundation plants, accessories and”pepper” plants, then you have a bed completed and you are ready to move onto phase two of garden preparation — linking the parts of the backyard together. In this example, a star magnolia tree is added to the mix. Notice that the tree is exactly the exact same color as the aloe vera, with similar-size leaves and the same curved habit.

Amy Renea

Here’s a closer look at just how two plants unite from the backyard. The shrub is pruned to carefully follow the line of the lemon balm path, subtly linking both visually.

Amy Renea

5. Find out the’sedum secret.’ What about constructing a garden on top of an existing backyard? How can you recover a backyard area without simply mowing the entire thing and starting from scratch? The basic concepts of foundation and”pepper” plants operate well in this situation too. In this example, I’ll demonstrate how with the”sedum secret.”

This photograph is the”before” photograph of a garden bed once overrun with weeds and overgrown plants.

Amy Renea

To provide you a better idea, in this shot the white circles are all weeds and the dark circles are a couple of overgrown plants worth keeping.

To save a backyard such as this:
Pull as many weeds as possible. You are not going to find everything with one go, but pull as much as you can in one hour or two. Cardboard and mulch. Lay thick layers of cardboard on top of all the areas which you wish to replant. In this case, it was a pathway through the center of the large plants, cutting out all those white circled weeds. Top the cardboard with an extremely thick layer of mulch, 6 to 8 inches of wood chips or leaves.Plant sedum.

Amy Renea

I state”plant” loosely, because sedum is one of the very few plants which you can take small stalks of and easily make a new plant in a month or two. I stuck 15 to 20 little stalks of sedum all around the pathway, and by autumn they filled in beautifully.

Amy Renea

6. Insert cover plants. As well as the sedum, I was able to bring a couple of accessory plants and protect crops. Cover plants are annuals which help keep weeds off. In my case, I added zucchini and pumpkin blossoms. These plants grow fast, with large leaves which shade out weed seedlings which may attempt to grow. In autumn, they are from the floor, and the space is there for the mature crops to develop into next spring.

Amy Renea

Here’s the pathway this spring. Those little chunks of sedum will grow tall by autumn, and the path is virtually completely weed free because of the combination of the weed-blocking mulch and cardboard.

Amy Renea

Of course, all this begins with a bit of paper and a pencil, instead of a trowel and some dirt. Plan out your options ahead of time. Take notes in the nursery where crops possess similar-shape leaves and similar or complementary color tones. Keep notes on sunlight and rain in your backyard plot.

Once you’ve made all your plans, it is time to get out there and get planting.

See more garden inspiration from Amy Renea on

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