You might have your heart set on a garden brimming with colour. It's okay to think big, but start small. A smaller garden with just a few plants will be easier to manage and learn from. Also, avoid any projects that might take weeks or months to finish. If you're a beginner, they might just be an exercise in frustration and ruin your spirit to garden all together. Once you have the skills and confidence to succeed at something larger, you can always go back and expand your garden next year.
Creating your first garden should be a pleasure and success. But get a little know-how first. Do some reading and brush up on some of the basics (like you're doing right now). Pick up publications with easy, step-by-step instructions to help you plan and prep. Learn the difference between annuals and perennials, when to water your garden, or what plants are native to your area. Taking the time to learn the ABCs of gardening, before you begin, could save you a few headaches down the road.
Most vegetables and plants need at least 6 hours of daylight to thrive, so if you're intent on growing a particular piece of produce, pick a sunny spot. Also, think about the effect you want your garden to have on your home. A garden along a front walkway can be enjoyed every day, and will give your home curb appeal. On the other hand, a backyard garden may be easier to manage. Whatever you decide, locating your garden in a spot where you'll see it everyday will keep you motivated to garden more.
As you become a more experienced gardener, you're likely to collect a variety of garden tools. But if you're a beginner, start with the basics. A shovel, rake or spading fork are just some of the tools you'll need to break up and move soil in your garden. Digging tools with long handles provide more leverage, while short-handled tools offer more control, but may be hard on your back. As a general rule, buy only what you need to start your garden, and then add to your supply as time goes on. As you take on more landscaping projects, you might even find yourself shopping for a bigger garden shed to store them all in.
No garden is completely immune to weeds. Ask any gardener what job they despise most, and you'll likely hear about the tedious task of weeding. One of the best ways to minimize having to weed your garden is through mulch. Mulch is any material you can spread over the surface of your soil as a covering, which helps to retain soil moisture and suppress weeds. Organic mulches are particularly effective at improving soil fertility as they decompose. Examples of organic mulches include: shredded or chipped bark; compost; composted manure; grass clippings; shredded leaves and straw.