Gardening for beginners, who have never lifted a trowel or a plant pot before, is a whole new world of decisons to be made. Every gardener was new to gardening once. For beginners, just starting gardening there is a lot to learn.

Gardening for Beginners Step 1 – Buy Tools

You may have just acquired a yard or garden and do not know where to start. Follow this plan to make your gardening a bit easier.

Beginner gardeners need to start by buying a few tools; spade, fork rake, Dutch hoe, hand trowel, secateurs and sheers are the minimum you will need. Buy the best you can because they will last 10 years or more. Cheap tools will not last a season and need constant replacements, as well as the inconvenience of having a tool break in the middle of a job.

Gardening for Beginners Step 2 – Planning Your Garden

Planning may not seem worthwhile, but whatever you do in your garden will cost money, so it makes sense to get it right the first time, rather than have to undo things you have spent money on to do them again.

Do you want trees? Where will they go?

What garden buildings do you need? Where will the shed go?

Do you want a vegetable garden? It needs to be a sunny spot, preferably near the house.

Do you need to increase the privacy in your garden? Can you put up a fence?

Do you intent sitting out in your garden? Where will you sit? Do you need more shade?

Will children be playing in the garden? Is there enough shade? Do you need to take that fish-pond out? Are there any poisonous trees or shrubs?

Do you want a patio or deck area? Where will it go?

Gardening for Beginners Step 3 – Finding the Answers

Do you want trees? Yes.

Where will the trees go? Small trees look good in the middle of a grassed area, they will also provide shade there. If you have room for three trees then plant them together about a third of the way across and up the garden, that way they will give you a shady corner.

What trees should you get? A rowan (mountain ash) for blossom, berries and color in fall, an amelanchier for blossom and berries and a cherry tree (NOT a flowering cherry) for blossom and cherries.

What garden buildings do you need?

You WILL need a shed, and the bigger the better. The shed will be somewhere to store tools, the lawnmower, plant pots and all the odds and ends of gardening. It should be about halfway down the garden for convenient access from the house and garden.

Do you want a vegetable garden?

You probably will in the future if you do not want one right now because the taste of home-grown vegetables, freshly dug is something to write home about. At least pencil a space in, where any future vegetable patch will go.

If you are setting one up immediately then buy some heavy-duty black polythene, the kind builders use as damp-proof membrane on new houses. Cut a piece 12 foot square and cover the ground where your vegetable patch is to be. Leave it there for a month and the weeds will be dead. Digging it over will be a lot easier with only dead weeds to take out.

How do you identify weeds?

Ask someone to come round and help you to work out which plants are weeds. Gardeners are generally friendly and helpful to each other.

Do you need to increase the privacy in your garden?

The answer is almost certainly, yes. Buy low cost shrubs from a supermarket to plant around the boundaries. Include plenty of evergreen shrubs. The label will tell you whether the shrub is evergreen or not. Planting shrubs and trees is easy. Dig a big hole, fill it up with water and put your new shrub or tree in the hole so it is as deep in the ground as it was when it was dug up. Then just throw the soil you dug out back into the hole full of water.

Can you put up a fence? You might not be legally or physically able to put up a fence, so check first. Landscape contractors have the equipment to do this job quickly, so the cost of having one erect a fence will be less than you would think.

Do you intent sitting out in your garden?

You will need a patio or grass area to sit on. Ideally it should face south or south-east so it gets sunshine for most of the afternoon and evening.

Where will you sit? Is there a suitable area already, if not you will need to make one.

Do you need more shade? Sitting out areas also need shade, so you can choose to move into the shade if you become too hot. You may need to plant a few trees to provide shade, though these will take a few years to grow enough to provide any worthwhile shade.

Will children be playing in the garden?

Children need space more than anything else, so you will need more grass than you might if there were no children.

Is there enough shade?

Children become overheated very quickly and need the option of moving into shade without any interruptions in their play, so plant trees in your grass area.

Do you need to take out that fish-pond?

If there are children then, yes the pond will need to go. Fill it up with stones and put a double layer of weed-resistant fabric across the top. Throw soil on top of that and you have a raised position for shrubs or smaller plants. You can then dismantle the whole structure and reinstate the pond in the distant future.

Are there any poisonous trees or shrubs?

Honeysuckle berries are bright red and poisonous. Laburnum trees have trailing yellow tails of flowers. All parts of a laburnum tree are poisonous. You should at the least remove these two plants from any garden that has children playing in it.