In order for your own garden to become a recreational paradise and beloved retreat, a few things should be taken into account. In this magazine article, we show you how to gradually create a new garden and give helpful tips on care and design.
Whoever creates a garden new, wants his own garden as a retreat to escape the daily grind or uses it as a place for self-realization. Whether spacious gardens with a variety of plants and flowers, a play area for children with swings and sandbox or the small flowering front garden, gardens can be completely different. However, some aspects should always be considered when you create your new garden:
Create a plan for your garden
As is so often the case in life, planning is half the battle when it comes to creating a garden! Whether you are creating the garden from scratch or already have a garden plot, surely you have a plan of your plot available. Otherwise, you need to measure the plot areas. Get those measurements down on paper and next determine how you want the layout of your garden to look. Pay attention to the cardinal directions as well: A space for garden lounges should be in the sun rather than the shade. Are garden shed, raised beds or children’s play equipment desired? Then position these acquisitions in such a way that nevertheless as much space as possible from the remaining garden area remains.
Pool or pond installations as well as an open area for furniture, fire bowl, grill or garden shower should also be included in the planning if they are important to you.
When it comes to design, you’ll be spoiled for choice: terraced properties with slopes or even slopes are easier to realize than ground-level ones. Search the Internet or garden books for ideas that you like for your garden. Also an or inconspicuous look into the neighboring gardens sometimes brings one or the other idea. For whom the budget question does not arise, also has the option to hire a landscaper. This implements the ideas also directly and also offers, as with normal trades, a guarantee and warranty on the work done.
Clear the garden
Usually the property landscape resembles a desert steppe with new buildings. With bought or rented older houses with gardens, meadows are often interspersed by moss and weeds. So, in any case, there is a need for action. The cheapest way is often to contact a small farmer or private contractor to completely re-loosen, straighten and then roll the lawn using a small tractor. Old turf is removed in the process and can then be disposed of. However, the weeds should not be buried, otherwise the roots will quickly make their way back to the surface.
For many garden owners and parents, a lawn for children to play and romp on is an absolute garden must. Garden centers offer a wide variety of grass seed in quite different varieties. From shade grass for gardens with little sun (or for meadow areas behind the house), sports and play grass for households with children, to various repair and regeneration grass seed offers.
Choose the variant that seems most suitable for you, compare prices and ideally make the sowing in the spring. Here the soil has a balanced level of wetness and both rainy and sunny days can be expected.
The grass seeds will not take hold on a hard-rolled soil and would be eaten by birds in particular. Therefore, loosen the soil superficially with a rake and create small grooves. Using a spreader (which can be borrowed or purchased at most hardware stores or garden centers), next spread the seed evenly over the soil. At the same time, fan the soil with the spread seed to cover it a bit from the sun and birds. In the following days, the seed should be watered twice a day (depending on the weather). After about 7 to 14 days the lawn will sprout. During this time, especially for children and pets, the motto is: no trespassing! If a sown lawn takes too long, you can, of course, use practical turf.
First plant and set trees
In many development plans, trees and shrubs that may be used are prescribed. Even the planting locations are predefined. You should know this before many a tree exotic is purchased in the hardware store and planted arbitrarily. Find out beforehand in your municipality whether there are any specifications here, and if so, what they are.
It is worthwhile, because trees provide shade, offer visual protection and, depending on the variant, also provide the necessary vitamins in the form of apples, pears, cherries and much more. Pay attention to how big your plants and trees grow and give them the space they need to grow and spread. As rich as the selection in garden centers and nurseries is, banana plants, palms and lemon trees still have a hard time in Central European climes at -20 degrees Celsius in winter – even if many a tempting label promises otherwise. Therefore, choose hardy plants that you can enjoy for a long time. Grafted fruit plants such as peach, nectarine or apricot can now also be used well, but should be treated (sprayed) on the shoots in January to keep ringworm, aphids and the like at bay.
Fences and garden decoration
The perimeter of the plot can be designed open or limited by means of a fence or wall. This is up to each person. However, in densely built-up settlement areas, the fence is a proven means of demarcation from the neighboring property. In very small gardens, however, an open property line can also create visual width and depth. Therefore, weigh and talk with your neighbor about the options.
Fences can be made of wire mesh, wood or metal construction. As a calling card of your garden and property, however, you should not save here in the wrong place. The most expensive but also often the prettiest solution are natural stone walls. These require a concrete foundation, but can then be built in modern, Mediterranean or classical style.
Matching stone boulders in gardens are often a pretty change. Lighting solutions such as spotlights put rocks, walls, but also shrubs and sculptures in a dreamlike light and create a valuable piece of security by means of motion detectors. You can read more about this in our magazine article “Lighting in the garden”. Garden houses, swimming pools or garden ponds are further highlights that can be realized in your own garden. These larger projects should be considered already in the initial planning but absolutely.
Create connection between garden and living space
The symbiosis of living space and your garden paradise should happen as seamlessly as possible. The first elementary connection usually takes the form of an extensive terrace. This can consist, for example, of paving stones, wooden slats or concreted natural stones. Attractive lounge furniture, garden shells or dining table sets shift the living space outdoors and thus extend the day by a few pleasant hours in the spring and summer months.
The garden as a place for the whole family
For children, the garden is an adventure playground to be discovered. So it’s worth thinking about the little ones when you’re redesigning your garden. Ensure safe play by eliminating sources of danger in advance, covering bodies of water or surrounding them with a fence, and closing off access points to roads with traffic. By means of various garden toys such as soccer goals, slides, swings or sandboxes, private playgrounds can quickly be created for children. These should be well visible to be able to keep an eye on your children.
By means of various seating areas such as benches or table & chair sets, on the other hand, you can create places of relaxation for yourself or even space to work on your tablet or notebook – while keeping an eye on your little ones as they play in the garden. Walled barbecue stations or grilling areas for charcoal grills ensure fun barbecue evenings with the family and a successful end to a beautiful summer day.
The care of the new garden
Once the garden is established and the lawn, plants, shrubs and trees have grown, they must of course be regularly maintained. In addition to the use of the lawn mower, a scarifier provides the necessary clearance of the grass. Mosses are removed and the soil is rutted. By means of special reseeding seeds, the resulting grass gaps from the scarifying process and weeding can be closed again.
Also, prune the shoots of your plants in the spring to distribute the natural strength of the plant to the offshoots that are actually important.
The garden in winter
Starting in October, the days get shorter and noticeably cooler. Trees drop their leaves and non-winter-hardy plants should now at the latest be housed in the winter garden or in living rooms with as many windows as possible. Especially in newly planted gardens with many young plants, you should pay attention to proper protection in winter. Cut back herbs and cover them with fir branches or brushwood. The same applies to sensitive tree species. There are also special jute bags in hardware stores that can be put over the crown of smaller trees to protect them from ice and snow. The root system should also be covered with branches or purchased winter protection materials.
Garden furniture, barbecue, garden hose and garden tools should be moved into a garden shed or the cellar. Alternatively, a protective tarpaulin will also help.
Once everything is stowed away, winter can now come before you can enjoy your garden to the fullest again next spring!
Have you recently redesigned your garden and think we’ve forgotten something? We welcome suggestions and ideas in your comments!
A garden should always be a good retreat to relax and recharge your batteries. But for that, you have to feel really comfortable in your garden. That may be the case at first, but even a garden can be overlooked over time, which is why many redo their gardens. It’s almost like remodeling an apartment. Here, too, sometimes a new coat of paint is necessary to bring new wind into the home sweet home.
Redesigning the garden is not an easy task
Of course, redesigning the garden is not done in a few hours and involves a lot of work. But in return, you will be rewarded with a pleasant feeling when you retire to your garden to relax after the redesign.
For this, however, you must first tackle and implement the redesign. However, you can not just work on it and start without proper planning. Of course, you can’t do that, because then you wouldn’t notice until you start redesigning if something doesn’t fit or doesn’t look good.
Just like when you’re planting a new garden, you need to plan everything out carefully first. That’s the key, because you certainly don’t want to be faced with a huge mess in the middle of the redesign later on and have to realize that your whole concept isn’t right. To avoid exactly that, we have created a step by step guide for you, which should help you to plan your new garden properly.
Instructions for the transformation of the garden
Step 1 – Brainstorm:
Gather Garden IdeasIf you want to create a new garden or make some changes to your existing one, the most important thing for a successful project is proper and early planning. It’s best to take some time at the beginning and write down everything that pops into your head.
Basically, there are no rules when it comes to custom garden design – build and plant whatever you like.
Step 2 – Measure the garden:
After you have collected your ideas, the next step is to first measure how big your garden is. In addition, you should include contingencies such as trees or ponds in the planning process.
For example, if you have an old pond in your garden that needs to be drained, this must be started as soon as possible, as the soil always needs a CERTAIN amount of time to dry completely.
Step 3 – Make a sketch:
With your ideas and the exact measurements, you can then start to make a sketch. If you want to redesign your garden on your own, a rough sketch that shows you the most important points is actually sufficient.
If you do not dare to do this, you can also use special drawing programs for the computer. Of course, you can also ask someone for help.
Step 4 – Choose the right materials:
Once the preparations are complete, it’s time to finally decide on materials: Do you want a paved patio or would you rather have a wooden patio? An opulent flower bed or would you rather have a large lawn?
If children live with you in the household, it is additionally important to pay attention to the special safety of ponds or swimming pools. Even lavish flowerbeds that require maintenance should be located either in a side area or behind a fence if you have a household with children. This is the only way to prevent your children from stepping on and between the flowers while playing.
Step 5 – Begin Garden Design:
Once you have weighed all the contingencies, you are ready to start garden design. The best time to do this is between April and October, as temperatures and soil conditions during these months are most conducive to seeding the lawn and flowers.
The choice of plants or soil material is entirely up to you – free to your taste. You also have a free hand when it comes to decorating the garden. Large statues, for example Asian or African figures, fit just as nicely into a garden as classic garden gnomes or fountains.
Step 6 – Choose garden furniture:
After a redesign, new garden furniture is usually needed. After all, this should also fit the theme of the garden. When deciding on the right garden furniture, however, in addition to the theme of the garden, the garden furniture trends (see WDR article Garden Furniture Trends 2013) and your personal taste, other factors play an important role, such as functionality, the installation site and the garden furniture materials.
If you have a covered terrace under which the furniture can stand dry and protected from the cold, there are almost no restrictions to consider. If tables and chairs stand outdoors for most of the year, you need to make sure, especially in the case of real wood furniture, that you paint them with special varnish, so-called permanent protective glaze, before placing them. This is the only way to prevent the wood from weathering over time.
Materials that rust quickly should also not be exposed to moisture too often. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is resistant to water, acid and humidity and is ideal for the garden.
How to create a new garden and avoid typical beginner’s mistakes.
No master has ever fallen from the sky – as we all know, we all start small. And this also applies to gardening. Who knows right off the bat that blueberry bushes prefer weak acid soil, wormwood tolerates virtually no neighbors, and angel trumpets are so sun-loving that they absolutely must be planted on the south side of the garden? Garden novices certainly do not.
Therefore, gardening at random is not a good idea, plants do not just grow somehow and somewhere. So, if you are not yet familiar with the little gardening 101, but enjoy home-grown vegetables, colorful flowers and fresh fruit, then you should read on here. Because we’ll tell you how to avoid typical beginner mistakes.
Plan carefully first, then garden
Everyone has their own way of doing things, but successful gardening is basically based on careful planning. Following intuition around the house and planting souvenirs from the garden center here and there on a whim can have nasty consequences – eradicating failures in gardening not infrequently means being patient until the next gardening season or even the one after that
Therefore, do not rush and ask yourself what you want to do with your garden. Do you want it to be a kitchen garden? Do you want a sea of flowers? Is a family garden with barbecue area and play zone for the children on the plan? It is rarely possible to realize all your ideas, especially not at once.
Only when you know exactly where the flower beds, the barbecue, the herb spiral, the sandbox or the greenhouse should find their place, the practical activities start. A scaled sketch on paper will be of great help.
Soil condition: Leached, nutrient-rich, alkaline or loamy?
Whether you’ve taken over your garden or are starting from scratch, first check the soil conditions. In the first case, the soil may still be hiding the root-rich garden dreams of the previous owner. The best thing to do is to dig up a few spots – or all of it, depending on the size of the garden – as a test and remove the old soil if necessary.
Tip: If the soil is too loamy, add sand; if the soil is too sandy, add mulch and humus.
Further, the soil may be depleted and in need of nutrients, while conversely, some fresh topsoil has a one-sided excess of nitrogen, potassium or phosphorus. Plants need certain soil conditions. If these are not met, nothing will grow. Therefore, take soil samples and send them to an agricultural testing and research institute. The laboratory results will reveal the potash, phosphate and magnesium content in addition to the lime requirement and give a fertilizer recommendation. If you want to keep it more straightforward, use litmus paper to measure the pH in the soil. This will give you a rough direction of march.
Plants have site requirements. Take care of them!
Now that you know the soil conditions, you can match them with the site requirements of the selected plants. In this context, neighborhood conditions and nutrient requirements play an important role.
Crop and ornamental plants are classified according to their nutrient requirements as weak, medium and strong growers. There are neutral plants that coexist harmoniously with others and conflict candidates that inhibit the growth of their bed neighbors. Especially if you want to grow vegetables, you should keep it as simple as possible and initially combine only a few unproblematic starter varieties such as spinach or pumpkin. To ensure long-term success, familiarize yourself with the topics of crop rotation and mixed cultivation.
Gardening costs time, energy and money. What are you willing to contribute?
However, it must be said that you will only be successful if you do not take on too much. Among the classic beginner’s mistakes of amateur gardeners are vegetable beds that are too large and sowing plants that grow fast.
Fertilizing, watering, pruning, weeding, harvesting, digging, chopping, processing – a lot goes into gardening, so balance your expertise with your time and monetary budget. In other words, you should ask yourself the question: What can I do on my own? And for which activities do I need the help of neighbors or professionals?
For example, if you travel frequently during the irrigation-intensive summer months, you will definitely need assistance. Will you be able to get it? And if you have little free time at all or a tight purse, it’s called gardening smart. For example, by growing perennials. The reason: perennials do not require replanting. So you can make things easier for yourself by finding out the characteristics of your favorite plants from guidebooks, magazines, garden centers and nurseries, and matching these with your motivation and the time and financial resources available to you.
Treat your plants to a special fertilization program.
Avoid seeding and planting too densely. Inexperienced recreational gardeners often cannot estimate how large plants will grow. To ensure that your fledglings have adequate space to thrive, maintain the necessary planting distances.
Another typical beginner mistake is to fertilize in excess. This will only harm the plants. In addition, quite a few plants prefer an individual fertilization program – what pleases one bedding plant may not be to the liking of its planting neighbor. In order to promote healthy growth, you should inform yourself precisely about recommended fertilizers and the optimal fertilization time. Because, of course, the reverse case also exists: especially the strong growers depend on a sufficient supply of nutrients to develop as desired.
Be careful when watering: Only water, do not drown
This brings us to the next point: To grow, plants need sufficient water in addition to sunlight. But to what extent? Some like it dry, others like it moist. And for good reason. Therefore, thoroughly inform yourself about the preferences of the plants and follow the instructions on the seed packets. Otherwise, the old truism applies here too: less is more!
Of course, fresh plantings need to be watered well, but that doesn’t mean constantly dumping lots of water on all your charges. Why? Because the roots need oxygen. If they are permanently wet, they will begin to rot. As a rule of thumb, remember: the deeper the roots reach and the larger the plant, the less often you approach with the watering can. Only in midsummer water in the morning and evening. Preferably with slightly stale tap water, fresh is less welcome.
Of course, the need for water corresponds with the condition of the soil. Sandy soils retain water more poorly than loamy ones. Watering habits should be coordinated in this regard.
Color, height, time
Another word about the ornamental garden. In order for your flowers to be a splendid success, pay attention to the three aspects of color, height and time when planting the beds. Translated: Group varieties that harmonize with each other in color. Choose plants that don’t obscure each other – taller flowers belong in the second row, so you can easily see the shorter ones in the front row. And use specimens with overlapping flowering period, because they are capable of extending the season.
Even amateur gardeners need professional tools
You should also pay some attention to your garden tools. Quality pays off – if you buy cheap, you pay twice, as we all know. Buy tools that last longer than one gardening season, and gardening will be a lot more fun right away. You can recognize good gardening tools not only by their price, they must above all be easy to hold.
There are countless gardening helpers. What you need as a novice gardener can not be said in general terms, but a reasonable basic equipment is based on shovel and spade, rake, secateurs and loppers, at least one saw, lawn mower and rake, water hose and watering can, wheelbarrow and gloves. Tip: Consider sharing more expensive purchases, such as the lawn mower, with a good neighbor.
Be brave, no one has a green thumb from birth
It will certainly take a few years before everything is green, blooming and running smoothly. Nobody is perfect, mistakes happen. So don’t throw in the towel just yet; through careful observation, you can also learn from failures. Keep in mind that garden design in principle never comes to an end, but in the course of the seasons always takes on new colors and shapes.