Garden designer David Morello went rogue and replaced his ho-hum lawn with a collage of flowers and shrubs

Photo: Alison Miksch

You'll have a thriving garden in no time with these super easy garden tips.

Research Appropriate Plants

Borrow the Master Gardener’s mantra of “right plant for the right spot” which breaks down to mean you need to do your research on the plot of land that you want to cultivate. Is it in full sun, partial sun or in the shade? Does it get a lot of water? From there you need to focus your plant search on plants that are appropriate to your plot’s specifications.

Think About Your Needs

Once you know what kinds of plants and flowers will grow in your plot. Think about how you want your garden to look and function. Is this going to be a garden bed to add color to your otherwise all white home? Seek flowers with color. Is this a garden bed along the side of your house to camoflauge an unsightly HVAC? Then you’ll need to consider plants with height and density. Are you aiming for a kitchen garden? Focus your plantings on seasonal produce.

Be Realistic

Even the most low maintenance gardens still require some maintenance. Think honestly about how much work, time, and money you have to devote to your garden. If you are daydreaming about a whimsical English cottage garden, but realize that you travel 4 days a week and don’t have a big budget then consider limiting yourself to colorful (and easier) planters by your front door.

Prep Your Soil

Healthy garden soil is key to healthy plants and it’s not a one-size-fits-all type of thing. Vegetable gardens require different needs from flower gardens. Do your research, but know that good soil supports plant roots and gives them access to nutrients, water, and air. Soil needs to be quick draining yet moisture retentive. It’ can’t be too dense or too loose. Topsoil is the upper layer and very important for the roots. It’s also home to other important critters like earthworms, mircrobes, and other beneficial organisms.

Master the Needs of Your Plants

Learn how to plant each plant. Does it need an extra-deep root hole? Does it need to be fertilized several times to take root? Watered once a week. Pruned right after the first bloom? If you don’t care for your plants once they are in the ground, then your garden definitely won’t thrive and may not even survive.