We’ve worked without a plan. You go to the plant store, find a really cool plant, then come home and try to figure out where to put it. That can be fun, but it doesn’t make for a very satisying garden. It’s best to have a plan. A plan can daunting. The more you think about it….. the more complicated it seems. There’s so much to consider. What’s your zone? Where is the sun (and shade) at various times of the day? How’s the soil? How much do you know about plants? How much of a budget do you have? How much of a budget do you NEED? And so much more. Daunting. Solution: start small. And slowly. Divide it into parts – both the garden and the plan. The learning about plants will take care of itself along the way. Here are the things to begin with: 1) Inventory what you have. How big is your yard? Which areas get sun, and when? How’s the soil? (have it tested). Find the plat to your property and make several copies of it. Map out the trees, shrubs, etc. You might even use it to show the sun/shade patterns. 2) What do you want? This is more difficult than it sounds. And it’s certainly more difficult than 1). It’s especially difficult if you’re new to gardening and don’t even know what there is to choose from. And there’s a lot to choose from. Formal/informal. Japanese. Shade. Cottage. Flower. Rose. Heirloom. There are all sorts of gardens and all sorts of elements in even a themed garden. These two elements - knowing what you have and what you want – are the things you MUST know before you can proceed successfully. You can proceed without one or the other, even both, but not successfully. In the weeks ahead we’ll discuss these two tasks. And we’ll move on to discussing things like Elements of a Garden, How to Budget for a Garden (without breaking the bank), How to Get as Much as Possible as Quickly as Possible, Patience, and more. Next week, we’ll discuss seeing what you have already in your garden (or yard). For instance, how do you get your soil tested? How do you find out what zone you’re in? (What is a zone?) And so forth. Stay tuned. Filed under: Planning a Garden