Main menu


tips for the best garden


Create a garden plan.
Before you know what you want, you need to figure out what you have. Start by drawing a map of your yard with existing trees, shrubs, slopes, patios and whatever else is out there. The map can be as formal (a scale version on graph paper) or casual as your need for detail dictates, but the more accurate it is, the more thorough your garden plan will be.

Design your garden around a theme. Do you want a Japanese tea garden, a butterfly garden, an organic vegetable garden, or simply a landscape to sit and relax in? Will your family want a lawn to play catch on? An outdoor room to host dinner parties in? Something low maintenance, or a place to spend a lot of time playing with plants?

Plant the best garden plants.

Consider Using Native Plants. When planning a garden, it's tempting to pick out exotic plants imported from somewhere else or to try and re-create a garden from "back home." But you'll get better results if you use plants that are native to your area or from a compatible climate zone. They can also provide a valuable source of food for birds, butterflies, and other indigenous fauna.

15. Fertilizer is not the answer to growing the best plants; soil quality is. Add organic amendments such as compost and well-aged manure to your soil. The best soil structure is crumbly, easy to dig, readily accepts water, and loose enough to provide oxygen for plant roots. If you use fertilizer, use an organic one to add nitrogen, phosphate, and potash (the form of potassium plants can use).

Care for your garden in the fall and winter.

Don't forget to enjoy your garden. Make sure you take time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Create a seating area where you can sit and read or eat with friends and family. Plant borders you can enjoy from a window, and hang bird feeders so you can watch their antics.

Feed and protect your garden soil. Soil must be replenished with compost, rotted mature, or organic matter in the fall because the microorganisms will break it down throughout the winter. After your garden has gone dormant, lightly mix organic matter into the top 4 to 6 inches of your beds so that when spring arrives you can plant immediately without worrying about working the soil during wet weather. You can plant directly in this material next spring or turn it over into the top 6 inches. Another option is to plant “cover” crops to enrich the soil over winter.