Now that we have a basic garden… One you can use safely and happily and know that nobody is going to have a go at you. But for most of us this is not enough. In this blog we take that next step and make our basic garden pretty.
We need to pause for a second here. I want to point out that you shouldn’t just leap in with both feet and start planting wildly. Now you have your garden under control you may want to LIVE in your house for a bit and understand your garden before spending money on plants and whatnot.
Some gardeners suggest a year before you actually get in there… But some beautification can be done without that.
Before we do anything we need to make a note of two things. The aspect for your garden and the quality your soil. Your aspect is the direction of the sun on your garden. The quickest way to do this is to use Google Earth and note which direction North is.
- North-facing gardens get the least light and can be damp and cold
- South-facing gardens get the most light
- East-facing gardens get light in the mornings
- West-facing gardens get light in the afternoons and evenings
Your soil is the next thing. If you have too much clay in your garden some plants won’t grow at all but others with thrive. If you have loam then you have the best choices… If your soil is old and poor you may need that compost heap we made when we cleared the garden!
To test your soil watch this video on Youtube. The method on how to do it is also in the description box. This test should take about 24 hours… Plenty of time for a cup of tea!
Now that we know what light you get, and for how long and what kind of soil you have we can move on making some space for your plants!
Many people, myself included, like the idea of cutting a border. Borders help break up lines in a garden and give you areas of open soil to put flowering plants.
There are two kinds of borders… Edged and Cut. I have both at home. An Edged border is one with either stones or pieces of wood to mark where the grass stops. A Cut border is one where the edge of the grass is cut down with a Half-moon edger (See in the pic above) and maintained with long handled shears.
When you cut a border you need to lift the grass behind and get rid of it. The best thing you can do is to turn it grass side down and simply pop it on top of the compost heap. If you don’t have a compost heap at all you can simply place the cut grass to an area less used. maybe even under a hedge… Again you simply turn it over and let it break down.
Once the grass is lifted you need to break up the soil underneath. You can use a garden fork if you like or you can use a twist cultivator.
Now the final thing is plants. This is totally up to you. Your choice of colours, size, foliage and all that is all a matter of choice on your part. I know what I like, I hope you know what you like.
The best thing I can suggest is to visit garden centres, read blogs and watch gardening TV shows. That way you can see a wide range of plants and get a good idea of what each plant will look like and then you can read up on them to check that your garden allows for that plant. This is why we found out the aspect and soil makeup.
Good luck. I have found that the best part of gardening is reading about plants, visiting gardens and seeing what they did. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Also, don’t be afraid to make a mistake, nobody is perfect. If you are not making mistakes then you are not stretching yourself.
Good luck, and more importantly HAVE FUN!