Home Gardening Do’s and Don’ts

Home Ownership

Home Gardening Do’s and Don’ts

Gardening is a wonderful hobby, and it’s fun to plant new things each year. But you don’t want to have to start your garden from scratch every spring because last year’s perennials didn’t make it through the winter. To ensure your garden thrives throughout the year, it’s important know the basic do’s and don’ts of home gardening:


Traditional Landscape by Senn Lawn Care, LLC in Chalfont, PA
Traditional Landscape by Senn Lawn Care, LLC in Chalfont, PA

#1 Prep the soil.

If this is your first time planting a garden, your soil isn’t prepared for new flowers and shrubs. Measure out an area for the garden and then dig up and fertilize the soil before you plant anything. Then you can make a plan for what kind of flowers and shrubs you want. If you’re uncertain about what kinds of plants to add, you can consult a lawn care professional about what thrives in your climate.

#2 Know the soil’s pH balance.

If you’re adding certain types of plants or bulbs, it’s imperative to know the pH balance of the soil. Bulbs need to have soil with a pH balance between 6 and 7, otherwise they’ll die. If needed, you can purchase a soil testing kit at your local home improvement store or nursery. You can also have it professionally tested for about $800. To adjust the soil, add minerals like limestone or sulfur.

#3 Mulch.

Your new flowers and shrubs will need additional nutrients to help them grow. While there will already be fertilizer, you should think about adding mulch. It helps to regulate the temperature of the roots and keep the moisture around the roots rather than evaporating. Mulch also eventually breaks down and adds to the soil nutrients. You can pick from organic or inorganic mulch types, depending on what works best for your climate and garden.

#4 Water a lot.

When plants are first inserted, they’re going to need a lot of water. Make sure you water on a regular basis. Some plants will need about an inch of water a week, while other plants will need the soil to be moist. Make sure you completely saturate the soil with water so it gets to the roots.


Contemporary Garden by RPG Construction, LLC in Black Diamond, WA
Contemporary Garden by RPG Construction, LLC in Black Diamond, WA

#1 Put flowering bulbs in the wrong place.

Make sure you read the recommendations for how flowering bulbs thrive. Some require lots of sunlight, while others need partial or full shade. If you plant them in the wrong spot, there’s a chance they’re not going to survive.

#2 Use herbicides.

If you use herbicides in a garden with mostly seeds, they’re not going to sprout. Remember: herbicides, especially pre-emergent herbicides, are used to prevent seeds from growing. They’re great for stopping weed growth, but you don’t want your new flowers suffering in the process. You can use herbicides in a garden with mostly young sprouts or bushes, but you should probably wait until they’ve had time to grow.

#3 Work the soil while it’s wet.

If you start working the soil while it’s wet with new fertilizer or after a watering, you’ll destroy the structure. If the soil is wet and you’ve messed with it a lot, it’s difficult to plant new shrubs or flowers. You will only have dirt clods, and it’s a grueling process to break them apart again. Just give the soil time to dry.

#4 Overwork soil.

Soil comes in many different sizes because it contains a lot of organic material. However, you might attempt to break the soil down into finer particles. Do not do that. The different sizes allow the soil to retain water and other nutrients, which help plants to grow. If you do break down the soil too much, you can mix in more organic materials. That includes mulch — compost, wood chips, etc. — or a fertilizer. You can also have your garden fertilized professionally for about $250.


These are only some of the tips for home gardens. You should also pay attention to the needs of the kinds of flowers and shrubs you want. You might lean towards perennials if you want long-term plants with less maintenance. If you like to change up your garden plants every year, then annuals might be the way to go. If you want more tips on spring gardening, check out this recent post from HuffPost Homes.

Andrea Davis works for HomeAdvisor, which helps homeowners find the right home improvement professionals and now makes the process simple from start to finish for everyone using Mhelpdesk. Homeowners can use HomeAdvisor Reviews to see what past customers have to say about each professional, and can calculate average local and national costs for a variety of home projects using Cost Guides. Access to all information and features is free for homeowners.

Note: This is a guest post; the views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Redfin.

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