Design a Simple Garden Plan

Whether you want to start a butterfly garden or grow vegetables for the table, create a simple garden plan before digging up the yard. Your garden plan includes the site layout, a list of all the desired plants or seeds, and any necessary soil amendments. Start your planning well in advance of planting to allow yourself time to gather information and to send away for seeds or seedlings, if necessary.

Choose your garden location. Measure the site and check for shady areas, the hours of direct sunlight and the availability of water or irrigation. Take a soil sample to your local cooperative extension office to test the soil's nutrient content, pH level and texture.

Sketch your garden to scale on a piece of paper with a pencil. Include existing shade trees and notations about sunlight.

Make a list on a separate piece of paper of the plants you want to grow. Designate whether each crop will be planted as a seed or transplanted as a seedling, and decide where you'll be purchasing each plant or seed packet. Check with your cooperative extension office for the best planting dates and mark the information on your list. Make a separate list of soil additives that the extension office recommends as a result of your soil sample test.

Place your desired plants into your garden sketch based on their shade, sunlight and space requirements. Draw rows for your vegetable garden, penciling in each crop. For a flower or butterfly garden, add plants according to their shade, sunlight and space requirements, keeping in mind that flower gardens are grown for appearance. Place shorter plants in front and taller plants to the rear of the garden in a tiered or stepped fashion.


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