Guide to Smarter Gardening

Beautiful and practical gardens are not just for those with infinite time, infinite money, and Wonder Woman’s body. You can have a garden you’re proud of with a few tips, insights, and techniques that will save your back, your bank account, and your clock.

Make a plan

Whether you wish to transform your yard or start from scratch, pace yourself and take the project in small bite-sized portions. Start out with a map of where you want to plant each flower, vegetable, and tree, so you know what tools you’ll need before you have a shovel in hand, what obstacles need to be removed before you’re several hours in, and how much up-keep will truly be needed. As well as the traditional gardening tools that save time like cordless lawnmowers, it is a good idea to have a supply of general maintenance tools available.

Focus your gardening efforts

Break your canvas into zones and start with one small area first. Focus all your attention and efforts on that one area. Maybe it is the area you see most often from your front door or your dining room window, or maybe it’s the main street view of your home. Now make that area into something you can enjoy, so you’ll be encouraged to keep working and also not overwhelmed by the entire project.

Choose areas based on your needs and the needs of the plant

When building a garden, it can be easy to think of your favorite plants versus the purpose they actually serve. Once you’ve discovered your needs, the time comes to decide on the perfect plant for the job. Do you need to create a natural barrier between you and a nosy neighbour? Maybe an evergreen hedge is a simple solution, so instead of choosing a slow growing variety that is difficult to take care of, try choosing several fast-growing varieties in smaller sizes. This saves you the effort of maintaining them while you wait for them to fulfill their purpose.

Watch out for shade

You may have planted a large tree for shade, but now find yourself in a bind when it shades the rest of your sun-loving garden. To save yourself the trouble of moving that garden or pulling out that tree, keep in mind that every plant can possibly harm or help another. If you want that large shade tree, make sure you plant it near flowers or vegetables that thrive in cool, darker areas, or simply place it next to a pool you can use during the hot months.

Birdbaths provide atmosphere as well as organic insect control

Pesticides are harmful to your checkbook as well as your health. Instead, a small plastic birdbath and birdfeeder will encourage all kinds of birds to flock to your backyard, creating a beautiful addition to your garden, an organic form of pest control, and an incredible savings to your bank account.

Good bugs

Ladybugs and praying mantis are as good as birds for keeping up with the pests that ruin your plants. Buying a few bags of them at your local gardening store and releasing them into your bed will help keep the number high enough to keep away pests such as aphids; this allows you to save costs on harmful pesticides.

Buy soil

Cultivating your own land is wonderful, but it’s also expensive. While you may imagine the opposite to be true, spending money on high grade weed killer, renting or buying tilling equipment, and replacing your gardens regularly to make up for the plants choked out by weeds will put you high above your budget. Spending money on healthy bagged soils will save you the money and the trouble, and give your plants the carefully balanced nutrition they need. As an added bonus, you’ll be saved all the back-breaking labour the other above options entail.

Lasagna gardening

This method is all about layering your garden beds’ soils, hence the name. You start with some sort of weed barrier. This can be heavy cardboard, thick layers of newspapers, or other recyclable paper. Lay it down as your first layer directly on the soil or grassy area. The next layer is going to be your grass clippings, raked leaves, and then a layer of garden soil. You then plant directly into this mix, digging a small hole through the paper base for rooted plants if necessary. This is a great no-till garden method, saving you money on pesticides for weeds and renting or buying costs on tillers.

Gardening Made Easier on Your Time

Using potted plants can save you the time of tilling your own soil, the trouble of planning out an extensive garden, and should trouble with weather or soil strike, there’s no need to spend hours remaking or moving your flower beds. A simple collection of plots can also be moved from one area to the other for added color and variety.

Account for your garden’s growth

Nature takes its sweet time growing into a rich garden, but it doesn’t have to take time from you while doing so. Make sure you know what you’re planting and how big it will become, and keep a tape measurer handy so you can give plants the room they’ll eventually need. When planting perennials, remember this little gardener’s jingle: “The first year they sleep, the second year they creep, the third year they leap.” Every gardener’s nightmare is spending time on a garden that overgrows and must be thinned out, cut back, or ripped out.

Crowd out your weeds

When planting garden beds filled with colorful flowers, consider planting them in thick clumps instead of spacing them around with lots of bare space between them. It not only is more appealing to the eyes, as nature rarely lines plants up like a group of soldiers, but it’s also helpful to crowd out weeds so they cannot grow – saving you ample weeding time.

Customized water lines

Some plants prefer to only have their feet wet and not their heads, while a lush, green lawn still requires less water than established perennial bushes. For annual flowerbeds, a few soaker hoses woven throughout can be easily moved around to accommodate any new plantings. Also, drip lines with small emitters snaking through your landscape, linking your hedges and trees to each other, will give those plants the good deep watering they require for maximum health and performance – without the need for you to hand-water them.

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