HOW TO START A GARDEN
Outdoor gardening for big and small spaces
An instructional how-to guide that is broken down into four primary sections: planning, designing, installation, and maintenance of a garden in an easy 1,2,3 process.
GARDEN BED INSTALLATION
Designing a garden is an ever-changing art form – plants grow, seasons change, environmental conditions change, and the spaces are used by both people and animals.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Make the most of your yard through these four primary phases.
1. GARDEN PLANNING
- Identifying your Ecoregion
- Evaluating Your Yard
- Measuring Sunlight
- Analyzing Your Soil
- Identifying Activity Spaces
- Determining Garden Location
2. GARDEN DESIGNING
- Elements of Garden Design
- Principles of Garden Design
3. GARDEN BED INSTALLATION
- Garden Bed Types
- Soil & Compost
- Organic Mulch
- Irrigation Systems
4. GARDEN MAINTENANCE
- Natural Pesticides
STARTING A GARDEN FROM SCRATCH
Learning how to plan a garden from scratch starts with curiosity and ends with artful arrangements.
Ecoregions – geographically unique regions containing distinct communities of plants and animals. Essentially, ecoregions are areas of the ecosystem that share soil type, climate, temperature, precipitation, and other characteristics.
Starting a garden requires a holistic approach to the biodiversity in both your microclimate and ecoregion. By considering your ecoregion first, you’re safeguarding the earth’s defenses which require the ecoregion’s native network of plants, insects, fungi, and small vertebrates. This is one of many factors that should be considered when developing a cohesive garden.
HOW TO START: THE GARDEN PLANNING PHASE
STEP ONE: PRE-DESIGN PHASE
1. Identifying your Ecoregion
By identifying your ecoregion, you can minimize maintenance and water usage through the use of native and adapted plants, integrate pest management, and avoid the introduction of invasive species.
2. Evaluating your Space
Complete a site analysis by reviewing your property survey, identifying power and water lines, septic tanks, and terrain constraints.
3. Measuring Sunlight
Determine the amount of sunlight in the different parts of your yard through one to two-hour intervals from sunrise to dusk.
4. Analyzing your Soil
Analyze your soil to determine moisture content, soil type, drainage characteristics, bedrock, and stability.
5. Identifying Activity Spaces
Identify the different activity spaces in your yard and make sure to consider the foot traffic between the different areas. Activity spaces include, for example, an outdoor eating area, a swing set or play area, and a location for additional parking.
6. Determining Where
Consider the functionality of your garden beds. Sections of your garden will either be aesthetic, structural, or utilitarian.
HOW TO START THE GARDENING DESIGN PROCESS
STEP TWO, PART ONE: GARDEN AESTHETICS – THE ELEMENTS OF GARDEN DESIGN
This section addresses the process of merging your individual design elements into a cohesive aesthetic. Designing your garden combines elements of art and science allowing you to create a functional, aesthetically pleasing extension of indoor living to the outdoor space.
Line is formed through the way plant beds fit or flow together.
Form and line are closely related. However, form is the outline of the edge of an object.
Color choices influence the overall perception of your garden. Different effects can be achieved through the use of harmonious or contrasting textures, tints, and weights of various colors.
Texture refers to how coarse or fine a surface of a plant or hardscape feels and looks.
HOW TO START THE GARDENING DESIGN PROCESS
STEP TWO, PART TWO: GARDEN AESTHETICS – THE PRINCIPLES OF GARDEN DESIGN
Your garden is guided by your intentions and achieved through these principles.
The creation of harmany between the different components of a garden.
Refers to the size of a garden element in comparison to its surroundings.
The equibrium or equality between spaces of a garden.
The emphasis on individual objects within a garden while avoiding the cluttering of plants.
The use of contrast between elements.
Highlighting a focus point.
Repetition of elements to create a pattern using lines, form, color, and texture.
The 3-dimensional perspective of composition between plants is achieved through height and texture changes.
Pollinator Planet aims to teach how to garden responsibly through sustainable garden practices, conserving natural resources, and welcoming native wildlife.
HOW TO START A GARDEN BED
STEP THREE: ELEMENTS OF A GARDEN BED
Garden Bed Types
Whether you’re looking to create a traditional in-ground garden bed, or prefer a raised bed, there is a plethora of options available.
In-Ground Garden Beds
Metal Garden Beds
Plastic Garden Beds
Wooden Garden Beds
Stone & Concrete Garden Beds
Repurposed Garden Beds
Soil & Compost
Soil characteristics between ecoregions vary due to weathering and microbial processing that is unique to the area. Soil characteristics are categorized by color, depth, structure, stone content, texture, and porosity.
Compost is made up of organic matter such as food waste, manure, and leaves, that decompose and return nutrients to the soil.
Mulch is any material used as a ground covering that is spread or laid over the surface of the soil. There are two kinds of mulch: organic and inorganic.
Organic mulches include formerly living materials and come in a variety of forms such as leaves, straw, grass clippings, wood chips, shredded bark, sawdust, pine needles, coco husks, and other organic matter whose purpose is to cover the ground and retain moisture.
Inorganic mulches are non-biodegradable materials such as recycled rubber, landscape fabrics, and gravel.
Irrigation solutions are controlled supplies of water meant for crop irrigation when water requirements are not met through rainfall.
Irrigation methods used around the world include:
Drip Irrigation or Micro-Irrigation
Center Pivot Irrigation
Lateral Move Irrigation
Creating a self-sustainable, low maintenance, eco-friendly garden means increased enjoyment and decreased chores.
HOW TO CREATE A LOW MAINTENANCE SELF-SUSTAINABLE GARDEN
STEP FOUR: HOW TO CARE FOR AND MAINTAIN A HEALTHY ECO-FRIENDLY GARDEN