What you need to know when starting a garden from scratch? 7 tips for beginners

What you need to know when starting a garden from scratch? 7 tips for beginners

Looking for inspiration for starting a garden? Get ready to embrace the features of your outdoor space and stun with a sophisticated eye-catching garden design! Stay around and let our professional gardeners guide you. Learn everything you need to know about the preparation and execution process, step by step.

Starting a garden from scratch might be challenging and very time-consuming. Read this article for the most useful tips for beginners:

How to prepare?

There are no universal rules for starting a garden or embracing garden design. However, that does not mean you should just wing it and hope for the best. Preparation is key to landscaping success. 


Here are a few prep tips that could help:

  • Zone out your outdoor space
  • Find home & garden markets to buy gear and seeds nearby
  • Research and sign up for a waste disposal service
  • Start making compost at home
  • Consider installing an irrigation system
  • Stock up on garden mix, pest treatment, mulch
  • Get protective gear (garden gloves, work clothing, wellington boots, etc)
  • Buy basic gardening tools (weeder, shovel, hand tools, pruning shears, etc)
  • Buy machinery if needed (lawnmower, jet washer, etc)
  • Hire a professional gardening service to make the most of a landscape design or/and handle gardening tasks and garden maintenance

If you want your garden to flourish and thrive, you need to learn how to be an efficient gardener. That includes being considerate when making plans for the yard space and giving your best to create a good garden bed for your plants to develop. 

7 tips for starting a garden from scratch

Once you have prepared for the gardening life, it’s time to think about garden design solutions. There are numerous ways to bring the best out of your outdoor area! But the most important thing to remember is to take good care of plants and provide them with the perfect growing conditions.

When you are done with the basics of a new garden, you can upgrade the house garden design. Like adding water installations, garden features, backyard furniture, potted and grounded greenery, the possibilities are endless.

But for now, let’s start at the beginning:

1. Remove the grass

Step one to develop your garden and execute a stunning garden design is to prep the ground for plants, platforms, and outdoor features. That process starts with removing the grass in the areas you intend to work or grow greens on.

In any case, you would hardly be able to establish a garden bed without utilizing part of the lawn (unless you grow in pots or do vertical gardening). There are several techniques to clear the ground cover and roots – with chemical treatment or organic approach. We advise on the latter.


If you are looking to remove grass without chemicals, here are your options:

  • Manual removal
  • Sheet mulching
  • Solarization


Let’s talk about each one of these garden design grass removal methods in detail:

Manual removal

Manually removing grass is an extremely effective method to prepare garden beds for planting. The only downside is it takes a lot of time, attention and work towards it. 

An important thing to remember is to remove grass on a soft turf (1-2 days after rain or watering) but never work on a freshly damp lawn. Use sharp tools to cut the area into square segments, then extract each segment by sliding a spade underneath and pulling it upward. 


Sheet mulching

Also known as layering, sheet mulching is a process of lawn removal by smothering the grass with thick organic material (e.g. cardboard, newspaper) and topping it with compost. 

The best time for sheet mulching is summertime, as it prepares the soil for planting after the winter frost. Layering is a slow process over the course of a few months but it is considered highly effective. 



Can we use the sun to kill grass? Yes, this is the process of solarization – utilizing the power of the sun to overheat the soil and grass.

Start by trimming the lawn super short, water it good and put a clear plastic cover over the garden bed area. Secure the tarp in place. Let the ground beneath the plastic heat up the soil for up to 4 weeks. The temperature will scorch and break down the grass, as well as any leftover weeds and seeds. 


2. Add healthy soil

After taking care of the grass, you will be left with a fresh flower bed to utilize for your garden design ideas. Naturally, the next step towards starting a garden is to provide good conditions and healthy soil for your future plants.

The secret to a flourishing garden is choosing the right soil type. Each plant has its own soil preference. So if you already have an idea of what you want to grow, check the seeds label or consult with a professional gardening service to make the best soil mix choice. 


Healthy soil makes all the difference, so consider those important factors when buying or amending soil:

  • Nutritional value
  • Soil pH
  • Soil type
  • Compost


Ignoring those healthy soil components might lead to serious issues, directly affecting plants well-being.

Plants feed off the soil, so its nutrient content is essential. That’s also a valid reason to perform a soil test in your garden and amend soil properly to avoid nutrient deficiency. A soil test can also determine pH levels and help amend too alkaline or too acidic soil. Balancing soil pH is vital, as it affects overall nutrient absorption.

Another game-changing factor to know as a beginner in plant growing and house garden design is soil type. The structure, texture and composition of soil make or break a garden. Wrong soil types contribute to drainage issues, nutrient shortage, and the inability of your plants to grow to their full potential.

Last but not least, even super healthy soil can benefit from compost. Especially in the beginning, when you start a garden and you need to give your plants an effective growth boost.


3. Select the plants you want

Whether you want to start a big garden or embrace a small garden design, it all comes down to selecting plants. Do your research and only grow plants that thrive under the conditions you can provide in the garden.

Learn about what plants grow well in your location and local climate. Educate yourself on the growth requirements of the greens you would like to start in your garden (sun exposure, moisture, soil preference, etc). 


There are different types of plants to choose from:

  • Annuals and Perennials
  • Edibles and Ornamental plants
  • Trees and Shrubs
  • Vertical garden plants 


When it comes to the annuals vs perennials debate, the winner depends on the long term plans you have for your landscape and garden design. If you want to experiment and transform your garden every year – go for annuals, as their lifespan is one growing season. To keep the same authentic charm of your backyard for years to come, perennial plants are better, as they re-grow every year. 

Another choice you have to make for the garden design is whether you want to harvest edibles (fruits, vegetables, herbs) or simply grow beautiful ornamental flowers. Vertical displays, trees, shrubs and hedging are also great features to bring life and vibrance to your backyard.

The good news is, you are not bound to choose a specific plant type and stick with it. Have a mix of all these plant types if it fits your garden design concept. For example, a veggie garden on one side and a flower garden with a lush lawn and trees on the other side. 


4. Design your garden

Landscaping is a super important step to make a garden functional, considering your available space. Check out these tips on modern garden design, which will help you arrange your plants aesthetically:


  • Garden edges: For a conventional and modern garden design, opt for straight lines and hard angles. Imply on curved lines if you are aiming at casual or recreational looks;
  • Spacing: The scope of a mature plant is of high importance on plan distribution on the garden bed. Make sure no greens suffocate and all have space to fully grow, without leaving ‘bold’ spots in the garden;
  • Plant size: Tall plants are placed in the back along fences and walls, mid-size greens in the centre, and low-laying plants utilise the front space, marking internal garden edges.
  • Shape and form: A formal garden design consists of plants with well-defined geometric forms or outlines. Irregular shapes are well-suited for cosy house garden designs.
  • Colour: Foliage and flower colours have high aesthetic value in landscaping. Creating eye-pleasing colour combinations and complimenting colour schemes of contrast and unity is what makes a garden design stunning.


Of course, not everything in your garden has to go by the landscaping books. It is your outdoor space, so when it comes to garden design – do what makes you happy!


5. Use proper planting and transforming techniques

There are different planting methods, applicable for different kinds of plants. Seed packs and potted plants labels contain all vital info on spacing, depth, watering, germination and growing tips. Using the right technique is crucial, so make sure to read the details and follow the label directions before planting or transplanting. Avoid sowing offseason. 


6. Consider potential pest damage

Pest infestations are almost inevitable when it comes to gardening. But instead of being bound to face this problem, why not try preventing it beforehand? 

Start by making research about common local pests, then take applicable measures. For example, build protective fences, lay mulch, place crop coverings and/or choose plants that are resistant to wildlife or deter certain invasive insects. And unless you have a serious infestation issue, we advise you not to use chemical treatments.


7. Observe and change if needed

To make the most of your garden design concepts as a beginner, you need to learn about gardening on the go. Keep an eye on how the garden turns out – what works and what doesn’t, which plants grow and flower well and which don’t. 

Compost the plants you no longer want. Plant new greens, amend the soil accordingly. Make severe garden design adjustments if needed. After all, a little garden transformation is good every once in a while.

You can also contact professionals

Starting a garden from scratch is a lot of work for a beginner. A safe choice for an impeccable and modern garden design is to trust gardening experts like Professional Gardening Services. 


Our team has extensive experience in clearance, landscaping, planting and outdoor maintenance. We can help you plan, start and sustain the garden of your dreams. 


Get in touch to get a free quote!

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