Is your garden looking unruly and overgrown? If you’ve decided it’s time for a refresher, it’s tempting to rush in and get started right away. Before you expend a huge amount of labor and dole out a bunch of money, it pays to take a close look at all the elements of your garden and assess your priorities for the space. This checklist is a good place to start:
Do you know where the slopes and valleys are in your yard? Are there areas where drainage is a problem, and plants will not grow?
What about microclimates? Is there a sheltered location in your garden where you can plant warm-season vegetables, or maybe a borderline-tender shrub? Alternatively, is there an issue with a cold sink anywhere in your garden, where you have to worry about planting frost-fragile squash, for example?
– Are there areas in the garden where the wind batters your plants?
– How much rain and snow falls on all of the areas of your garden?
– Have some of the trees grown in and are now casting a lot of shade on existing flowerbeds?
– Has the pH of your soil changed? Is your soil too saline? Does it have a sufficient amount of organic matter?
– Have some of your groundcovers spread aggressively and become too competitive with other plants in the area?
– Does your garden have winter interest?
– Do you need privacy from your neighbors, or a noise barrier from the street?
– Do any of your plants require pruning or deadheading? Does the hedge need to be shaped?
– Do you need to divide or transplant any large perennials?
– Are you growing any toxic plants that need to be removed due to the presence of children or pets? What about noxious weeds? Check your local weed control act and make sure you’re not accidentally growing anything you shouldn’t be.
– Do you want to focus on growing edible plants over ornamental ones (or vice versa)?
Once you’ve considered the answers to all of these questions, you’ll have a solid foundation to start revitalizing your garden and getting it back into tip-top condition!
By Sheryl Normandeau
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