When planning a garden, one of the most important things to remember is the phrase “Right plant – Right place”. Here are some of the things that new gardeners often fail to consider when planning a garden:
Consider the eventual size of the plant. A small seedling in a pot can become a large shrub or tree within a few years, so placement is really important. It is unwise to plant trees close to buildings, as the roots could eventually cause damage to property and the plant could block out valuable sunlight.
Different types of plants prefer different soil types. Consider the soil ph. Some plants like acid soil and some prefer alkaline soil. It is also important to check drainage. Certain plants thrive in clay soils, whereas others prefer a free draining soil like a sandy loam. A plant in the wrong type of soil will die. A good gardener will think about the type of place that the plant grows in the wild.
South facing gardens get the most sunlight, whereas north facing gardens get very little. When planting a garden, it is important to consider the plants’ natural environment. Woodland plants thrive in shady areas, whereas desert plants love the sunshine and will not tolerate poor light levels. A gardener needs to look at how the sun moves over the garden in an average day and plant the correct plants in the areas where they will benefit most from that particular light level.
Plants will die if they do not get enough water, but it is also true that plants die due to overwatering. Care needs to be taken to consider the needs of the plants to ensure that they have adequate water at all times, especially in the summer. Again, soil type should be considered. A clay soil will hold water much better than sandy soil, but clay soil can become waterlogged and then form a hard cap when it dries out. Hanging baskets and pots have a particularly high water requirement in the hot weather.
For a border to be effective, the combination of plants needs to be just right. A gardener needs to consider the colour of the flowers or foliage and use colour combinations that are pleasing to the eye. Large plants and shrubs should be placed at the back of the border, against a wall or fence and smaller border plants should go nearer the front. A beginner gardener may not consider how the plants work together. If plants are placed randomly in a border without due care, the eventual effect will not be as pleasing to the eye as a well planned border.