The winter months have a way of dragging on for what can feel like an eternity, leaving us daydreaming about spring showers, April flowers, and warmer days that feel much too far around the corner. If the winter blues have you feeling a little dreary, what better way to lift your spirits than planning your summer garden? Not only will this give you something to look forward to, but it will help you prepare to grow your most beautiful and abundant garden yet!
Step 1: Get inspired!
Take some time browsing issues of your favorite Home and Garden magazines or garden design websites. Make a list of plants, flowers, and design features you’d like to include in your garden this year. Is it finally time to add a pergola you can drape with vines? Will you expand your garden space to account for more crops? Will you choose a more polished look this year by adding raised flower/garden beds? Will your patio feature a new array of planters? Could you add a garden walkway to help you access plants with more efficiency and ease? Get carried away and consider all the possibilities!
It’s also the perfect time to consider plant and vegetable varieties you haven’t grown before. If you’ve never included flowers in your vegetable garden, look into options that help keep the bugs at bay. If an herb garden is something you’ve always talked about but never followed through on, look into the multitude of possibilities. (Herb gardens are all the rage, easy to grow, and super budget friendly.) Perhaps this is the year you decide to branch out with your tomato varieties, try your hand at growing sweet potatoes, or plant sunflowers. Spend some time researching plants you’d love to grow, but don’t know much about. Whether you’re planning for a large, lavish garden or are making the most of a modest patio space, a little research and inspiration go a long way! The possibilities are endless!
Step 2: Make a plan & map it out
Once you’ve got a vision in mind, make a master list of all the plants you plan to include. Organize your list by variety to ensure you’ve accounted for everything, from vegetables and herbs to perennials and annuals. Next, map it out on graph paper (or whatever paper you have on hand). Be sure to consider crop rotation and sun exposure. Think about the perennials you already have and determine if any need to be divided or moved. Think back to what flourished last year and what failed to thrive due to too much/too little sun. A visual tool will help you bring your vision to life! It also makes it much easier to estimate how many plants you’ll need, consider where you might want to try new varieties, and plan new landscape projects.
Step 3: Make a timeline
If you plan to start any plants from seeds, this is an especially important step to tackle early on. Consider the frost dates for your region, what temperatures individual plants can withstand, and growing times. Make a schedule for when you plan to purchase and plant each variety from your master list. Know when your local garden centers plan to get plants in so you’re first in line and don’t end up choosing from “what’s left”.
Step 4: Prepare
There are several ways you can begin preparations for your garden long before the temperatures become inviting. Look through your shed or garage to determine which gardening tools need replaced, and purchase what you can now! If you plan to add flower boxes, raised garden beds, or any new groundscape features (such as a garden walkway), see which of those projects you can tackle early so it’s one less thing you have to do later. Looking ahead, set aside a weekend when the weather is nice to clean up flower beds, till garden soil, and prepare for planting.
So, it’s time to kiss cabin fever goodbye! With these four simple steps, plans for your perfect summer garden will be in full swing by the time spring rolls around. Despite cold and snowy days now, you’ll be watering sprouts and pruning blooms before you know it. Happy planning!
All that planning making you realize you need some installation help?