I am the ULTIMATE newbie. I say this because I am not an expert or even experienced in any one subject but so many fascinate me. I can’t count how many times I have said, “I am attempting to learn…” this subject and that one. And I am not lying I do attempt to learn as much as I can about everything but only to a certain level. I am a newbie photographer, I am a newbie cook and baker, I am a newbie Spanish speaker, I am a newbie crafter, I am a newbie parent… the list goes on and on. Today I am new to gardening.
The sun it out and spring is here, and I want to get to gardening. Since we moved into this house almost three years ago we have done nothing with our backyard (garden). The warm air kicked something inside me today, and I just want to get out there and start gardening. But where to begin?
Our backyard is a complete square so there are so many options we could really do with it. I am good at drawing my ideas down on paper but when I finish, it always looks like it’s going to cost a fortune and a lot of man power to do. We decided to keep saving up to do it proper with decking, swirling flower beds with different levels and lighting. We envision the whole nine yards literally. Landscaping can be extremely expensive and every time we start talking about it our ideas get bigger and so does that budget. But for now, I just want to cut around the outer edge and plant some shrubs and flowers to give it a mini makeover until we can afford something more spectacular. Like putting on mascara to go get some milk, just want a little help so it’s not so dull looking.
I have been watching YouTube videos for hours trying to see what’s the best way to go about it. Do I dig the grass up and lay down tarp to have a sunken flower bed or should I lay down tarp on what I have now and build a raised flower bed?
Even on a budget the choices are endless. I keep changing my mind. I know the latter would be less digging and less hard work but would it look right? I was thinking of doing grey stone as the edge trim so that when Buba is kicking that soccer ball it can hit off the stone edge and not right into the flowers themselves. Although I know this will happen anyways. But stone can be expensive too. So many things to consider on a small budget.
WHAT FLOWERS AND SHRUBS TO BUY?
My next mission is to learn what exact shrubs and flowers I want to put in that won’t cost me a fortune and will fill this big space? I have been reading garden blogs this evening trying to research but I will be honest I have no knowledge of plants and flowers and I didn’t even realize that you need different dirt for different plants until tonight. I know what I want it to look like, it’s just choosing the right ones so I don’t end up wasting money.
In frustration of my lack of knowledge and not finding all the answer in one place online, I went to weed the front yard (garden) which was done for us when we moved in by Redrow themselves. After an hour of pulling weeds, trimming the hedges, and many blisters because I did it without gloves and in frustration I still didn’t have a clear idea what I wanted to do with it.
Mr P and I have taken on this challenge and instead of doing what we always do and just get someone else to do it we are trying to learn and do it ourselves, hoping to save some money and giving us a project to work on together in the warm evenings when the kids are in bed. I am really looking forward to working on it with him, we don’t have that many things that we both are really interested in so it will be interesting to see if we have a great time or being two strong headed Capricorns, kill each other in the process.
I often wonder though is DIY really any cheaper, especially when we don’t know what we are doing!
Anyone have any advice on fantastic shrubs and flowers to use together that will last year after year? Or where to go to grab some great advice for a newbie gardener like me?
UPDATE 2020: See our latest garden renovations here.
I have absolutely no advice whatsoever but can totally to relate to your addiction to learning new things! I am exactly the same…photography is my latest thing 😉 Good luck with the garden. I am certain you will achiever it, us motivated types usually do 🙂
Hahaha Thanks Suzanne. I am always attempting to learn something everyone in my family are always laughing at me. What’s LTM learning this week? hahaha
Emily G says
I have a new garden which is literally just mud so I have no clue but I will be following with interest x
Thanks Emily. It will be a long process. I am sure I will mess up a few times but I will be documenting it all here. Stay tuned.
Emma T says
I have absolutely no idea about gardens, and seriously need someone to cut out a border for me, plant a small tree, and put in a fence. The OH could do the border easily with equipment on the farm, and also put in a fence, but 12 years later, our garden’s still a paddock. I need to win a gardening competition to get someone to makeover the garden. I had no interest and kill plants really easily too. So there’s not much hope.
Good luck with yours – I’d say, find someone to give you cuttings as I was astounded by the price of plants.
Ya plants are price, so is dirt and stones. I can do the labor myself it’s just making sure I do it straight and don’t kill everything afterwards. I have so many worries. I have contemplate hiring someone while Mr P is at work to do little bits here and there and say look what I did today. hahahaa
Sadly, I didn’t inherit my momma’s green thumb! She is so good with gardening know-how whereas I am just clueless when it comes to knowing which plants do best in which climates and lighting! We tried to grow tomatoes last year and we did manage to get some to come in, but they barely got bigger than golf balls and before they would fully ripen they would start to dry rot…but I do wish you the best of luck!
I’m no expert but I wanted to leave you a couple of tips as I did my first bit of gardening last year in a big empty flower bed that i weeded and topped up with new compost….
99% of the shrubs and flowers I bought lasted all summer and if I’d cut them back they would be growing back now…. But I didn’t so had to dig them up last week but….
Lavender… I planted about 5 of these last year and they’ve all survived! Low maintenance, smell lovely and bees love them!
Lobelia… These were the fave flowers I planted last year, they’re trailing and ended up like a lovely carpet effect! Grows quickly and again low maintenance!
If you’re starting with a concrete yard, if a lawn is too daunting, it might be better to just start with a load of potted plants/flowers?
Good luck and keep us posted, hope this helped!
Thank you soooo very much for all your advice. I will definitely be taking lots of before and after and during photos and blogging about my progress. It’s all a big grassy area so lots to shape and dig up! I also have to stain the fence first. EEEK