10 tips for a successful garden

Sitting in a garden is one of life’s simple pleasures. Peacefully enjoying nature in the comfort of your own space can boost your wellbeing, making you feel calmer and generally happier. This is even more enjoyable when the garden is beautifully designed and looked after.

However, we know the thought of making a garden beautiful can seem like a scary task for some – especially when starting from scratch. That’s why we’ve got the inside scoop from the team at PGE Landscaping on the best ways to make your garden a happy place. In this blog, Jon Austin, expert gardener from PGE Landscaping, has given us his top ten tips for a successful garden.

10 tips for a successful garden image

1. Get to know your garden

Before starting any work with your new garden there are some key elements to think about. You shouldn’t just jump two footed onto a shovel without considering the following:

The aspect of the garden

In other words, which way does your garden face? This will dictate where you want to put a new patio, decking or seating area and which plants will thrive in your garden.

What do you want from your garden?

Is it a large lawn for children to play on or do you want to grow plants, flowers, and maybe even veg?

Your type of soil

Is it a clay-based soil, which is great for holding moisture and nutrients for plants, or is it a sandy or silty soil?

2. Plan, plan, plan

Draw or sketch out your garden – you don’t need to be Picasso, but it’s great to see the proportions you’re working with. After you’ve done this, you can plot where the hard standing areas are and plan your layout.

Once you’ve got to a point you’re happy with, get a can of line marker and spray out the key areas. Look at this from an upstairs window to see if you need to increase or reduce the size of each element to ensure it’s all in proportion.

Need inspiration? Social media and websites have plenty of dream garden designs just waiting to be discovered!

3. Price it up

Now you have it planned out, it’s time to price up the project in its individual elements. This will allow you to decide if you can do it all in one go or if you need to break it down to smaller projects. You don’t want to start something that you can’t finish – and nobody likes a long-term building site garden. It also allows you to amend the type of materials you were originally planning on using if need to reduce the costs.

10 tips for a successful garden image

4. Planting your garden

As mentioned above, select the plants and trees you know will thrive in the conditions of your garden. Remember to be brave! There are a huge array of trees and plants available, all of which offer your garden height, interest points, and a haven for wildlife. Also, when you go to a garden centre, don’t be purely lured in by the plants that have already flowered. To add colour for a long period of time, have a mixture of plants that flower at different times.

5. Prepare your soil

Firstly, you need to dig the areas up to open the soil up – and, most importantly, to remove any weeds. This will improve drainage and allow oxygen into the soil, which roots require. It also allows you to dig in organic matter, fertiliser and, if required, a grit or sand to aid drainage.

6. Learn to love your plants

Planting properly will ensure all your plants and flowers grow well and live for a long time. If you’re unsure how to plant something, look online for instructions rather than just hoping for the best! Some plants and flowers come with instructions on their label which can come in handy if you’re unsure.

Trees planted too deeply will never thrive, and root-balls that sit proud of the soil surface will dry out quickly, leading to the eventual death of the plant.

Pruning plants can seem like a daunting job, but if you learn how to do the job properly, you’ll be rewarded with plants that look good, grow well, and they’re likely to flower and fruit better, too. The key to successful pruning is to know when to prune – again, head to Google rather than crossing your fingers!

10 tips for a successful garden image

7. Feeding and watering your plants

Knowing when and how to water plants is the difference between them thriving and dying. As a general rule, water the root ball rather than the leaves (it’s the roots that absorb the water). Soaking the root ball every week is better than watering a little bit every day.

Feeding is also important. Generally you should be looking at feeding every fortnight during growing season (that’s spring and summer), although you will need to feed more if growing in containers.

If you have pots, remember these will need regular watering, potentially more often than the main garden.

8. Watch out for nature’s killers!

As your garden is full of living creatures, they can be prone to a pest or disease attack. Regularly check your plants to ensure you catch any attacks early and can remedy the issue. If you’re unsure of what the issue is, take a sample to a local garden centre and they should be able to help you.

9. Lawns

New and established lawns need your love and care – and time. This includes regularly cutting, watering, and feeding your lawn. You’ll also need to keep the lawn free from weeds and moss, which can be done by removing them manually or applying a moss or weed killer.

You will also need to scarify and aerate the lawn to remove compacted soil and to allow oxygen, nutrients, and water to get to the roots. If you’re unsure how to do this, head to your local garden centre. They’ll be able to tell you exactly how.

10. Enjoy your garden

Arguably the most important thing – enjoy it! You have now done all the hard work, so now it’s time to enjoy it. That is why you created it in the first place.

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