Recently I started to become an avid gardener, and I’m not sure how it happened, because I went from planting a few flowers in the front of my house to having a full vegetable garden and deck boxes. I remember being a kid and helping my mom plant flowers in the front of our house. I would be in charge of taking the little flowers out of their container, pinching the bottom of the plastic section they were in and then placing them in the hole my mom dug. I thought it was so fun and I love seeing the change in the yard once we were finished. Even though I started my gardening hobby with my mother, I think I get my green thumb from my dad. He had the best vegetable garden! As a child he had eight huge 8ft x 16ft garden boxes. I remember picking strawberries out of one of them every day in the summer, and pulling carrots right out of the ground to wash off the hose and feed to my pet bunny. It was a magical experience looking back and I’m so grateful I have these memories. I think my positive gardening experience as a child has influenced my passion for gardening as an adult.
Now that I own my own home and have a large backyard starting a garden was a top priority. Of the course of five years we have added landscaping, deck boxes, flower boxes, a large garden, flower garden area, and planted lots of flowers and fruit into pots. The cost of doing all these projects was hefty, but adding new things every year, re-using pots and dirt from the year before, and only by what I need each season has helped cut the cost of having multiple different garden areas. Below are some of the areas of my yard, types of plants/ flowers uses, planters and boxes made, and tools I used to create my gardens.
Plants and trees are essential when creating a flower or vegetable garden. There are so many different shrubs that grow great is all climates and come back every year. I like to start the base of my flower beds with Hastas and Azealia bushes. A great accent to a large area is a Lilac bush and Boxwood shrubs. Once you have things like this to build upon, creating the rest of the flower bed is easy.
When picking of plants like vegetables or herbs be sure to plant your seeds correctly according to the packet. If you don’t feel comfortable buying seeds, then starter plants are a great but more expensive option. Either way you choose to start your veggie garden, picking out what vegetables to grow is your first step. Be sure to choose veggies that grow well together. Tomatoes and peppers do great in the same garden, but don’t grow your zucchini with your tomatoes. The vines of the squash plants will grow up your tomato cages and overtake your other plants in the same garden box. Be sure to separate your veggies, never growing things like peas with onions, and don’t grow potatoes and tomatoes together. Plant your leafy green and cabbage family together as they work very well in the same planter box. Melons, cucumbers, carrots, and eggplant can grow great with just about any other veggie so plant them in filler spaces once you finish planting your other veggies.
If a veggie garden isn’t your thing but flowers are, that’s totally ok! You are still considered a gardener if you aren’t growing food. There are hundreds of flowers to choose from when planting your flower beds and gardens. Some of the most popular annual flowers are Geranium, Petunia, Impatiens, Begonias, and Marigolds. These flowers come is some many different colors and grow well in shade, sunlight and a combination of both. Reading the labels of the flowers is key when knowing what type of light to plant them in. You need to know if you have morning sun or afternoon sun, and what part of your yard is facing west, etc.
If you don’t have space in your yard or don’t have a yard, planting flowers in decorative pots and boxes is a great way to add nature to your patio, deck, or veranda. For a pop of color buy bight colored pots, and plant pretty green herbs in them. If you like a more natural look, plant succulents in clay or cement pots. If you have a large planter pot for your deck, be sure there are holes for the water to drain out, if there are none the pot will get very heavy when it rains and mold will grow and kill you flowers. Adding packing peanuts to the bottom of large planter boxes is a good tip, you don’t have to use a ton of dirt and it’s easy to move. The flowers will grow just as nice without all the extra dirt at the bottom a deep planter box.
If you have a large deck or patio, landscaping around the deck is a great idea. We build deck boxes around our deck to create a more intimate backyard. We bought yard timbers to build up the boxes, lined the boxes with gardening fabric/tarp, had mound of dirt delivered and got shrubs and plants from family and friends to start the planting process. It was a lot of work, but four years later the deck boxes are painted white, full of beautiful strong green plants, black mulch and flowers. The contrast of the yard, to the deck boxes to our brown wooden deck is perfection.
When building something like deck boxes, a garden, or flower bed, the materials you need can be costly. Try asking friends to barrow a lot of tools, or rent major equipment like a rototiller from a gardening store. You will be surprised how many people have things that can help you out. Some essential tools you need to build a garden box are saws, drill, hammer, nails, staple gun, box cutter, shovel, rake, wheel barrel, and tape measure. Some materials I suggest using are wood timbers, patio brick pavers, weed barrier cloth, tomato cages, wire or plastic fencing with stakes, and dirt. Garden materials can be expensive but finding great deals is easy if you aren’t in a rush.
Mulch is essential but it can be expensive. Getting a bag of 2ft mulch at $2 each is a good deal so finding anything around that price you should stock up. Some places have sales for five bags of mulch for $10, which is also a good deal. Pick up as much mulch as you need at one time if the sale is going on and store it on the side of your house, in the garage or out back until you need it. Buying the same color mulch for the whole house is important. Mixing mulch colors is not a good idea and in my opinion don’t buy any little pebble rocks or lava rocks as part of your landscape. They are ugly and pain to replace if you change your mind.
Fencing and wood boxes are also things that are hard to replace once you put them up. Make sure you buy fencing in a color you like because it should last a very long time. I suggest buying sturdy plastic fencing or wood panels. For the deck boxes you should stain or paint the wood timbers to make them last longer. You can re-stain the boxes each year to freshen them up. Color and texture is important when putting your garden and flower beds together.
After all my hard work and dedication to my garden, I realized that planting the garden was costly at times, but definitely worth it. It is not too feed my family fresh fruits and veggies, but also very satisfying watching something you take care of grow. I use watering my garden each night as a time to reflect on the day. Working in my garden is like therapy for me and it brings me a sense of calmness. Having a beautiful garden is a great show piece for a back yard, and guest love to walk around and see what veggies you have growing. Not everyone can plant a garden, so if you have space and are lucky enough to have a garden, then don’t be afraid to brag about it and show it off to your friends. Not only does the garden look great but it adds landscape appeal to your home. A great flower bed in the front of a house is wonderful for curb appeal, and brightens up the house. If you have a dull brown house, bright pink flowers and fresh green shrubs add a lot of character and charm to your house. I say invest in a garden of any kind and its sure to be worth the price as long as you take care of it.