Starting a Garden: Start with a Plan

When I started gardening outdoors I made the mistake of not starting my garden with a plan. I’m the kind of person that will build something then look at the directions after I’m done. Because of this flaw of mine I took a shovel to the ground just started planting plants without giving much thought to the heights of the plants. Had I given it some thought I would have a garden that utilizes every inch of my small urban space. Instead, I have a garden where I cram plants where I can find the space and just pretend like I’m not making things worse. 

Every winter I tell myself that in the coming spring I will tear everything out and plant the garden the way it should be. Then spring and summer roll around and I realize how much time and money I’ll have to spend and I put it off until next year. 

Go out into your yard that you plan to make into a garden and sketch out the space on a piece of paper. Just get the general outline of the area and draw in the plants you may already have growing there. Don’t worry if you can’t draw because nobody has to see this plan of yours and you don’t have to draw each flower. Just fill it in with general shapes of the plants already there or plants you’ll be planting. If you have bulbs in your garden or will be planting bulbs make sure to mark their location on your garden plan because those labels don’t last long and you’ll soon forget what you had planted there. 

If you’re comfortable using a computer you can find many programs on the internet that help you design your own garden. You can find many free garden design packages online suitable for a wide range of skill levels. Some are easy to use the first time and some you’ll spend an afternoon learning what all the buttons do. 
I did a Google search today and came across a program and after a few minutes created a garden plan for a backyard vegetable garden.
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My garden plan won’t win any awards, but I hope you get an idea of what you can do with a few minutes of your time. The program I used at the website noted above was a trial version and being so wasn’t very complicated. I didn’t want to learn how to use all of it so I chose the L shape template and removed all the plants. I created the raised beds for my veggie garden out of planters and used some shrubs and other plants as stand-ins for vegetables which weren’t available in the list of plants. For the seating area I used  planters I enlarged to make the table or shrunk to make the four chairs. 
In the past I’ve used the virtual garden design software at BBC.Co.UK and really like it because you can take a 3D tour of the garden you design. It is kind of like a video game for garden nerds. 

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