You're moved in and have chosen each item in your new home with care from the curtains to the rugs to the appliances. But what about the outside yard? How will your new home's yard showcase your creativity and flair? A fun way to do this is to plant a flower garden.
Beautiful blooms enhance your home's curb appeal. Some flower species make beautiful cut-flower arrangements that will enhance your home's interior and make it even more spectacular.
In this article we explain the steps to create a new flower garden after move-in and provide instructions on plan your garden's design, preparing the soil, planting options, and how to maintain your garden for years to come.
Planning Your Garden
Where should your flowers go? How many flowers will you need? How much of your yard should be dedicated to your garden? Answer these questions by first considering your garden's design and location.
Plants come in two varieties: annuals and perennials. Knowing the difference between them will help you choose the right flowers for your garden.
As their name implies annuals bloom once a year, and every year new ones are planted. Annuals tend to produce many blossoms during the season. If you're hoping for a first-year showstopper garden, annuals are a good choice. Popular annuals include sweet peas, petunias, and sunflowers.
Perennials bloom year after year, but they often need more time to grow than annuals to become established. If you have the patience and are willing to wait a year for them to fully develop, Perennials could be right choice for you. Perennial flowers include hellebore, lavender, and peony.
A garden's climate is defined by its warmth, sunlight availability, and moisture level. The best flower gardens are those that match the flower varieties best suited to thrive in the gardens natural climate conditions.
If you live in the Southwest, you might enjoy hardy plants such as autumn sage or yellow columbine to spice up your flower bed. Both types of flowers are heat and drought resistant. On the other hand, if you live the Pacific Northwest where there's higher levels of moisture, broadleaf lupine or camassia are good flower choices.
Use a plant hardiness zone map to understand what plants will work best in your yard.
Some plants are fussy and need dedicated caretakers to properly maintain them including clipping, training, and fertilization. Others flowers require less hands-on care and are easier to maintain.
For example, roses require significant time to train or control their direction, shape, and size. They also need to be frequently trimmed for maximum growth and blossoming. On the other hand, lavender are a low-maintenance flower variety that only needs to be trimmed once per year.
Knowing how much time you can dedicate to maintaining your garden is a key part to its design.
Choosing a Location
To find the perfect spot for your flowers, we recommend starting with a simple sketch of your yard that consider the following details.
Sunlight and Shade
Begin by observing your garden's likely space to determine how much sunlight it receives throughout the day. Watch it carefully to know if it's bathed in abundant sunlight throughout the day or if it receive more shade than sunlight.
Plants that thrive in a full sun include coreopsis, purple coneflower, and delphinium. Flowers that work well in shaded spaces include sweet alyssum, begonias, and impatiens.
Determine how much space you have available to dedicate to your new flower garden. The amount of space will determine how many plants you'll need to fill the space. If parts of your yard are full, paved over, or otherwise unavailable, mark those items as such on your sketch.
For smaller yards look for a spot at least 3-feet wide and 8-feet long. An area this size will give you enough room for plants of varying sizes and types and provide variety. If your available space is larger, expand accordingly.
Prepare Your Soil
Preparing your soil properly is a key step to creating a healthy and beautiful flower garden in your new home. Here's how to do it.
Remove Grass and Roots
The more soil the roots of your flowers have access to the better chance you have to create a beautiful garden. Remove unwanted crab grass and dead roots from your soil to provide maximum soil exposure to your new flowers.
If the plot where you want to plant is covered with grass, pull it out all the way before planting. Use a shovel to score and dig the grass followed by throughly shaking out the clumps.
As you dig, your shovel may hit tree roots. Break the roots apart with your shovel and remove them. Don't stop until the area is free of any grassy material and dead roots.
Remove Rocks and Debris
Hard obstacles in the dirt can block root formation, and large rocks can be an injury hazard. Remove rocks and other troublesome debris by running a rake across the top of the soil. Remove any large rocks or stones you find and use them to decorate the edge of your flower bed.
A healthy topsoil will be filled with humus. Humus is the dark material that forms in soil when plant and animal matter decays that leaves nutrients behind. The nutrients will nourish your flowers and accelerate their growth
Run your soil through your hands. If it feels dense or hard, pick up a few bags of gardening topsoil. Pour the topsoil over your new flower bed and use a rake to distribute it evenly.
Plant Your Flowers
Where should your flowers come from - seeds or established plants? Some gardeners prefer seeds while others want to speed up the process and buy matured plants from garden shops.
Heirloom varieties you can't find in big box stores are available in seed catalogs, and these flowers could become amazing conversation starters.
Purchase your seeds, and plant them in containers indoors. Mist them daily to keep them moist, and watch for green shoots.
Be patient. Most seeds need about four to six weeks of indoor tending before you can plant them.
Planting Established Flowers
Mature plants can be bought at your local nursery or gardening store. Look for plants with an established root system and a healthy stalk.
How you plant your new flowers can be the difference between success and starting over. Spacing between each plant is an important part of the planting process. If you're planting from seeds, read the seed packet for guidance. For store-bought established plants, spacing information is usually printed on the plant tag.
Pay attention to the expected size of each flower at its full size. Planting flowers too close together causes them to compete with one another for resources that fuel their growth.
When all of your flowers are planted, dress your new bed with a layer of mulch. This organic material makes your new bed look tidy and complete. It also locks in moisture and nutrients for your new plants.
Maintain Your Garden
New plants should be watered generously each until they begin to sprout (if you're starting from seeds) or show growth. After a week or two, reduce watering to the recommended levels which is typically 7-10 days depending on the varietal. Overwatering can cause flowers to look droopy and lead to mold, root rot, and other problems.
Do a daily walk-through and watch for pests and other garden invaders. Flowers rarely attract mice or spiders, but if you see slugs or snails adding compost could help.
If your soil was prepared properly, your flowers shouldn't need any fertilizer as they'll get all the nutrients they need from the soil amendments. But, at the end of your growing season, consider dusting the area with a layer of compost or organic material. When the spring planting season comes, your bed will be ready.
Gardening is a skill, and it takes time to develop a green thumb. There's no harm in starting small and building up your flower prowess every year. But once you've had a successful season starting a flower garden, you could get hooked for good.