Our Top Landscaping Tips for Novice Gardeners

Every spring sees a flock of enthusiastic new gardeners excitedly buying compost, seeds and propagators, and a bistro set thinking they’ve got the hardest part of redesigning their garden sorted.

They hurriedly bring their wares home, only to find that they haven’t considered what soil type they have, the conditions of the soil and lawn, and exactly how they want their garden to look including accessories and wildlife cultivation.

Then, they become disheartened and leave everything in the shed until the following spring when inspiration strikes anew, ad infinitum.

That doesn’t have to be the case for you! In this handy guide, we’ll be providing you with some tips on planning your first garden project, including some common pitfalls that many green-fingered protegés tend to overlook.

Determine your overall goals

Before you even lay a finger on that garden centre loyalty card, you first want to establish exactly what your goals are for your garden.

Do you want to create a wildlife project that focuses on encouraging and conserving local flora and fauna, or do you want a maintenance-free garden that focuses on practicality with a splash of colour?

Are you keen to become sustainable by growing your own fruit & veg, or are you a new family looking to create a safe space for your children to play in?

Whatever your goal is, make sure it’s realistic in relation to the size and location of your garden.

Know your surroundings

It may be tempting to omit this part of the process, but by spending time in your garden you’ll be able to establish a lot of things you don’t normally see at first glance.

Do you notice birds tend to nest in certain parts of the garden, are there areas more prone to shade or sunlight, or is there a certain area you’d like to cover for privacy?

Answering these questions will help you regardless of your goals for the garden; if you want rose bushes lining your borders, then an area that’s exposed to the sun all year round will not be appropriate.

Similarly, if you’d like to maintain the local flora and fauna but also want to create a small patio area, then cutting down existing hedging that birds frequently nest in isn’t going to give you the results you’re looking for.

It is also a good idea to take a soil sample to establish its ph levels and to understand your soil type in general. Whilst clay soil can be aerated and conditioned, or nutrient-depleted soil aided with fertiliser, it’s sometimes easier to work with what you’ve got, especially when you’re just starting out.

Start small and watch your budget

A common mistake is to go straight into creating a goal for your garden, buying products and equipment, and then realising you’ve not set a budget for yourself causing you to halt the project part of the way through.

This can easily be avoided by creating a budget for each step during the goals phase.

Do some research into the costs for what you want to achieve, including the cost for a professional landscaper if you require a more advanced design or someone to level out your ground.

Similarly, it’s a good idea to start small to establish where the potential focal points are in the garden, whilst taking the pressure off from having to commit to every decision at the same time.

Perhaps work on creating a border where you’d like a wild garden to grow, or mow the lawn, tidy up the borders and plant a few hardy flowers that are designed for your soil type and sun coverage.

These small wins will help you to develop a sense of the natural flow of your garden as well as giving you the encouragement to continue with the next tasks.

Be open to change

It can be disheartening when you realise that part of your project isn’t feasible for whatever reason, but you shouldn’t let that put you off. There can be workarounds, or even better ways of utilising your space that you hadn’t considered. By keeping an open mind and being curious about the changes that have to be made, you could potentially find yourself with something you never thought possible.

Have fun!

It should go without saying, but this project should be something that excites you! Take your time, buy or loan some landscape design books to help with your sketches, create a schedule for when you’re going to do each phase of the project, look online for inspiration on plants, shrubs, and accessories like bird and bee boxes.

If you’re growing veggies, start with the easier ones like tomatoes, beetroot, and onions to get you motivated.

We stock a range of mowers, hedgecutters, and other equipment if you’re looking to future-proof your gardening with an assortment of tools. If you require a piece of equipment temporarily, then we also offer day hires; contact us and we’ll point you in the right direction depending on your requirements.