How to Take Care of Your Garden: 10 Tips for Beginners

a landscaped garden with outdoor kitchen and seating area

Many people who decide to start gardening eventually find it turns into a rewarding hobby.

Gardening is so much more than simply sowing seeds and watching them grow. It’s a therapeutic practice that brings a sense of peace and fulfillment, helps reduce stress, and lets you contribute to the preservation of our environment by fostering biodiversity.

Moreover, if you grow your own fruits, vegetables, or herbs, it can be a wonderful way to ensure you have access to fresh and organic produce right at your doorstep and your love for gardening will grow.

Keeping your garden radiant requires several techniques for its care and maintenance which will need to turn into a habit. However, there are basic steps that you, as someone learning different garden terminology, can take which are a rule for every garden and perfect for beginner gardeners.

How to Take Care of Your Garden

a small suburban garden with a brick wall, plants and a path

Before you plant your first seed, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of what gardening entails. At the most fundamental level, gardening involves cultivating and taking care of plants in an area specifically set aside for them.

This could be anything from a small indoor pot of herbs, a flowerbed in your backyard, or a larger plot for growing fruits and vegetables.

Regardless of the size or type of your garden, there are several core aspects that all gardening involves:

  1. Know your garden zones
  2. Prepare the soil
  3. Start with easy plants
  4. Water your plants
  5. Pruning your plants and deadheading
  6. Stay away from pesticides and chemicals
  7. Decorate your garden
  8. Understand the sun and shade requirements
  9. Implement weed control
  10. Garden tools and their maintenance

1. Know Your Garden Zone

a small garden with brick wall, fence, stone path and plenty of plants

A critical factor in gardening success is understanding your local climate and soil, often referred to as your gardening zone or hardiness zone. Recognizing these factors can greatly influence which plants will thrive in your garden and which may struggle.

Climate

The climate of your area determines the growing season length, the temperatures your garden will face throughout the year, and the types of plants that will grow successfully.

Some plants are heat-tolerant and thrive in areas with high temperatures, while others are cold-hardy, meaning they can withstand cooler temperatures or frost.

Soil

The soil in your garden plays a vital role in providing your plants with nutrients, water, and air. Different plants have different soil requirements, but in general, they all need well-draining soil rich in organic matter.

Soil types can vary greatly, from sandy soil, which drains quickly but may not hold nutrients well, to clay soil, which retains water and nutrients but may not drain well. There’s also loam, a balanced mixture of sand, silt, and clay, which is often considered ideal for most plants.

2. Prepare the Soil

Choosing the proper soil will be the first step to bringing life to your garden. It is essential to identify what type of soil is best for the plants in your garden.

Plants need nutritious soil to grow well. This step might involve enhancing your soil with compost or other types of organic matter to provide your plants with the nutrients they need. The pH level, texture, and drainage properties of your soil also play crucial roles in your plants’ health.

Look for information on how to improve the substrate you will use for your plants. Some compost bags already have everything you need, but in some cases, you have to improve them yourself.

You could look at mixing the soil with eggshells to add calcium or add stones to help the water flow better.

3. Start With Easy Plants

a garden with daffodils

Starting your gardening journey with easy-to-grow plants can give you a sense of accomplishment and boost your confidence. Here are a few plants that are generally considered good for beginner gardeners due to their hardiness and low maintenance needs:

  • Marigolds
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Sunflowers
  • Lettuce
  • Clematis
  • Hydrangeas
  • Daffodils

4. Water Your Plants

a hose watering plants

It is mandatory to keep your garden hydrated and water it frequently but not excessively. The frequency of irrigation will depend on the climate of where you live.

In general, it is recommended to water it twice a week. Water your plants at night or early in the morning before the sun rises, and this will prevent the water from evaporating before the plants can absorb it and burn from the heat of the sun.

Irrigation will also depend on the type of plants you have in your garden. If it is full of succulents, you should first check the hydration of the soil before watering them again since they only require watering when the soil is dry.

However, most people have different types of plants, so you should establish different types of irrigation schedules for each one.  The best way to know if your plant needs water is to check the soil. Insert your finger about one to two inches into the soil. If it feels dry at that depth, it’s time to water. If it’s still damp, wait a bit longer.

Instead of watering your plants a little bit every day, it’s generally better to water them thoroughly less frequently. This encourages the plants to grow deeper roots, which makes them more drought-resistant. However, make sure your soil is well-draining to prevent water from pooling and causing root rot.

5. Pruning Your Plants and Deadheading

This step is crucial for maintenance. The frequency of pruning your plants and lawn will vary depending on the season of the year. In the rainy season, experts suggest pruning it once a week as it grows faster; on the other hand, in spring or autumn, 2 to 3 times a month should be enough.

In winter, keeping your grass short will increase the chances of contracting some diseases, so it is better to let it grow. Pruning is an important part of plant maintenance that involves the selective removal of certain parts of the plant, such as branches, buds, or roots.

In the fall months, sales of chainsaws, hedge trimmers, and trimmers skyrocket for a very simple reason; professional gardeners know that with leaf fall comes pruning time.

Pruning should be done strategically, and over-pruning can harm your plant. When in doubt, less is more. It’s always better to make a few small cuts and then step back and assess your work before continuing.

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6. Stay Away from Pesticides and Chemicals

Despite being directed at specific species, pesticides can be toxic to humans and other animals, both by inhalation and by consumption of products that have been exposed to high amounts of these substances.

Another problem with the use of these substances is the resistance effect. Like antibiotics, the indiscriminate use of pesticides causes the appearance of resistant species that are difficult to control.

Instead of using chemicals, you can use a little salt to keep pests of snails and slugs away. It will also help you prevent bugs in your garden. If you notice there are a lot of ants near your pots, rub lemon around the edge so they do not come back.

You can also use compost to replace industrial fertilizers. Another advantage of compost is that it enriches the soil since it provides organic matter.

7. Decorate Your Garden

a decking area behind a house with lots of plants in pots

Have you heard the rumor that talking to plants makes them grow? Some believe that this is true, others that it is just a myth, but the truth is that loving your garden will make it feel good and look beautiful.

Today there are some beautiful decorations to beautify your garden, so do not miss the opportunity to decorate it and add your personality!

On Halloween, you can make it spooky. On Christmas, you can use Outdoor Nativity Sets. For the rest of the year, you can fill it with gnomes, lamps, birdhouses, mirrors, and garden statues to help it come to life.

8. Understand the Sun and Shade Requirements

a garden stone path with plants on either side, a brick wall and trees in a small garden

Just like humans, plants need sunlight to live and grow – it’s how they produce food through the process of photosynthesis. However, different plants have different sunlight requirements depending on their species and natural habitats.

Full Sun

Plants that require full sun need at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. These plants have typically adapted to conditions where sunlight is abundant, like open fields or sunny slopes.

Examples include most vegetable plants (like tomatoes and cucumbers), many types of flowers (like sunflowers and marigolds), and herbs (like rosemary and thyme).

Partial Sun/Shade

These terms are often used interchangeably to mean 3 to 6 hours of sun each day, preferably in the cooler hours of the morning and early afternoon.

Examples include plants like Hydrangeas, Rhododendrons, and certain herbs like parsley and cilantro.

Full Shade

Full shade doesn’t mean no sun. These plants still need some light, but they can get by with less than 3 hours of direct sunlight per day, or they tolerate dappled light (like the kind that comes through open-canopied trees).

Examples of these types of plants include ferns and some hostas.

Dappled Sunlight

Some plants thrive under the light shade of taller plants or structures. They receive sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees overhead.

Examples include woodland plants like trillium or bleeding hearts.

9. Implement Weed Control

One of the regular maintenance tasks that every gardener must face is weeding. Weeds are essentially any plants that grow where they’re not wanted. They might be native plants or invasive species, but either way, they can cause several problems in your garden.

Weeds, like any other plants, need water, sunlight, and nutrients to grow. When weeds grow near your desired plants, they compete for these resources. This competition can stunt the growth of your plants and decrease their productivity, especially for heavy feeders like vegetables.

Some weeds can attract pests or serve as hosts for diseases, which can then spread to your other plants. They can also grow aggressively and crowd your desired plants. 

How to weed your garden: 

  • Weed regularly
  • Weed after rain when the soil is moist
  • Get the roots!
  • Use tools if needed
  • Consider a layer of mulch that can help suppress weeds

10. Garden Tools and their Maintenance

a man using a shovel to plant flowers

As a beginner gardener, you don’t need to rush out and buy every garden tool on the market. However, a few essential tools can make your gardening tasks easier and more enjoyable:

  • Garden gloves
  • Hand trowel
  • Pruning shears
  • Garden rake
  • Spade or shovel
  • Watering can

Remember to clean your tools and store them in a dry place after each use to keep them in good shape. As you gain more gardening experience, you may find other tools that fit your specific needs and gardening style.

Your garden can become a place of peace and calm, somewhere you want to spend a lot of time in.

To ensure that it always keeps growing and healthy, try to follow the above advice such as preparing the soil, watering each plant according to its needs, pruning it regularly, and decorating it to your liking.

Also, remember that the needs of your garden will vary depending on the climate you are in and the different seasons.  If you dedicate time to caring for your garden every day, you will always keep it beautiful and healthy. So get to work and de-stress a bit while taking care of your plants.

As you embark on the journey of nurturing your garden, it’s crucial to be cautious about the potential health risks associated with certain gardening practices. In recent years, there has been heightened awareness of the infamous Roundup weed killer lawsuit, highlighting the potential dangers of exposure to certain chemicals used in gardens.

To safeguard your well-being and that of your plants, consider alternatives to chemical pesticides. Opt for natural solutions such as using a pinch of salt to deter snails and slugs or employing compost instead of industrial fertilizers.

By prioritizing eco-friendly options, you not only contribute to a healthier environment but also minimize potential health risks associated with synthetic chemicals in your garden care routine.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here.

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.

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