6 Top Tips For Creating a Garden From Scratch.

There are many people that often tell me, “I wouldn’t know where to start in my garden!” Or “My garden is a pile of weeds so there is no point doing anything.” That’s such a shame as gardening is such a healthy hobby. It’s good for us physically and it’s good for the soul as it brings such pleasure. What could be more lovely than being surrounded by beautiful plants or pretty flowers, especially if you have helped to nurture them? Or how about eating your own produce? This post is dedicated to all of you who would like to create a garden from scratch and are not sure how to go about it.

Before moving into the Old House, we lived in a typical new build, estate house with a postage stamp sized garden. I always loved gardening but had to make do with a few tiny borders where local cats used them as their loo! I know what it is like to be frustrated by your child kicking their football against your row of sunflowers or amongst your peas. I also know what it’s like coming home with plants that you just couldn’t leave at a plant fair and wondering where you’re going to put them! Anyone can create a garden from even the tiniest patch of land and in my opinion, everyone should as it’s not only great for us but will help local wildlife too. Children love to help in the garden so gardening is a great activity for all the family.

6 top tips for creating a garden from scratch. Oldhouseintheshires. #gardening
Find where you would like to sit.

Here are my top tips to creating a garden from scratch:

1. Understand your space

Understanding your space is important as it will determine what will grow there and what won’t. Plants can be expensive so you don’t want to make mistakes when buying them. Think about how much sun the area will get. Is it south facing (lots of sun) or north facing (it won’t get so much sun) in the U.K. Watch how the sun moves throughout the day and use this to think about where you would sit to make full use of the sun’s position. Once you have a seating area in your mind you can plan for where any borders will be. This area may just be a simple bench/seat on gravel or a patio/decked area but this is important as it will determine everything else.

2. Plan your space 

I always start with, “where will we sit?” Once you know where your seating area will be, you can plan around it. Start with an overall plan or layout.  Having a design or plan of the entire space will enable you to play around with ideas and get an overall outline of the space. Use graph paper if you want to make it to scale.; this is especially important in a smaller garden. What do you want from your garden? Do you want lots of colour or do you want lots of pretty flowers? Do you want to grow vegetables or attract lots of wildlife into your garden? Do you want an area for a sand pit or football goal for the children or a BBQ area for entertaining? Really think about how you will use this space as a family. When my children were little, we had a sand pit with a lid which was the most played with item for the first 6 years of their lives. After that, we bought a small trampoline with a safety net. Both these items killed the lawn but that was ok as they had their section of the garden! I still managed to have other areas for the things I wanted and that garden was small. Knowing how you will use your garden will determine what you will add to it. Add all of these things to your plan; if necessary you may have to compromise. Planning your space in this way will enable you to budget for the various sections.

6 top tips for creating a garden from scratch. Oldhouseintheshires. #gardening.
Try to do any hard landscaping first. This patio circle cost £199.

3. Tackle any hard landscaping first

If possible, tackle any larger jobs first. By hard landscaping I mean laying patios, creating paths or walkways, edging a border or putting up a shed.  These jobs should be done first before you get planting is possible. These hard landscaping jobs don’t have to be expensive if you can do the work for yourself.  Choose your materials carefully as using lots of different materials in one space can look cluttered. For example, use stone to edge a border to match your patio or choose a wooden edging material if you have a deck. Have an overall plan in mind before you start will help with these choices.

4. Know you soil.

This is more important than you think as it will affect what will grow in your garden. If you are in a new build house, it may be that you’re garden is full of builders rubble or if you live by the sea, your soil may be very sandy. You can test your soil for its PH to see if it is acidic, alkaline or neutral. Some shrubs such as Azaleas love acidic soil so working with what you have will ensure your plants flourish. You can make raised beds of course, and then you can add the correct soil for your favourite plants but knowing your soil will help you make informed plant choices at the start. I would always add compost to any new bed and extra nutrients such as manure or blood, fish and bone. Not only is this a fertiliser but it will also support beneficial bacteria and fungi in the soil meaning you will have stronger plants.

5. Choosing the right plants

With all the preparation complete, you are now ready to choose your plants. As a general rule, it is best to plant a new garden in the Spring or in Autumn to give them the best chance. You need to think about colour schemes and a design in terms of heights. Do you want climbers? Do you want striking foliage or colourful flowers? Take care to read the labels or ask at your local garden centre for advice, if you are unsure. Some plants will grow to be quite large so would do better at the back of a border whilst others need to be nearer the front as they are lower to the ground. My only other advice is don’t buy too many if you are unsure. Many plants will grow and spread quickly so you may find that your border is full. You can then add to your borders the following year with new plants or bulbs when you can see which plants grow well in your new space.

6 top tips for creating a garden from scratch. Oldhouseintheshires. #gardening
Choose the right plant for your space.



6. Maintaining your new garden.

With a new garden, you will need to give it a little love and attention especially in the first year. It will need watering in dry spells so water regularly, even if it rains. If you have not added nutrients before planting, your new plants will need feeding each week during the growing season. I tend to do this with a feed that I can add to my watering can. You may want to add a mulch (a weed barrier) surrounding your new plants to help keep the weeds at bay. I use bark or a homemade leaf mulch but there are many on the market that you can choose. If you have climbers, you will need to tie them to a support to help them grow upwards.

Lastly, it’s time to enjoy your new garden. You will be amazed how much joy it will give you! You will also be providing a new habitat for insects and other wildlife. Even if gardening is not the hobby for you, you can now enjoy sitting surrounded by your new garden. Have fun!

6 top tips for creating a garden from scratch. Oldhouseintheshires. #gardening

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  • Fantastic tips 🙂 After the sunshine last week we are thinking about how we can transform our garden ready for the summer, but we’re so indecisive! #BloggerClubUK

    • Go for it! A lovely garden will always be a joy. X

  • Great advice….I would love to have a proper garden but we only have a concrete back yard and the front is all stones. We do have a couple of plants out there. #bloggersbest

    • Pots, pots and more pots! Pots will always brighten up any space.

    • Yes……enjoy your garden! Goes without saying really. 🤓

  • Really good tips. I have a gardener to maintain a lovely garden here which is a good job as I am useless at gardening. I would like to be good and I try but then quickly lose interest. #PoLoCo

    • Well it’s not everyone’s hobby but a lovely garden is perfect on a sunny day. X

  • some great tips there. We really did create a garden from scratch in our new home earlier this year. We had a walled area outside the back door just with sand and nothing else. it was great being able to actually do everything from scratch #pocolo

    • I remember you post actually lovely. It did look wonderful. Hope it’s still looking beautiful!

    • It is exciting creating a new garden. X

  • Really helpful advice here – your garden is looking beautiful. I found no. 5 particularly helpful especially about ‘filling out’ the borders with bulbs etc. You are so right that it’s a health hobby and we have some very happy family times when the kids are helping us in the garden whether is weeding or planting the annual sunflowers and tomato plants! xx #thesatsesh

    • That’s it Hayley. Just be careful with little ones and bulbs as many are poisonous. Xx

  • Fab tips I’m looking at the garden and thinking I have to start working out there Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    • Yes! Get in there Nige…it’s good for your health…xx

  • I’m forwarding this post to my sister who has just bought a new build and only has a square of lawn so far. Starting with a seating space is genius and accepting things like a scrubby lawn due to children’s playthings is also great advice. I’d probably put wood chips under a trampoline in future. Thanks for the inspiration #MyGloriousGardens
    Kids of the Wild recently posted…Postcard from Perranporth – Cancer, Cornwall & DennisMy Profile

    • Glad you liked it,yes we always start with where we are going to sit!

  • Great tips – thank you. Still very much a beginner here but learning as I go. The hammock is up which was one of the 1st jobs for spring 😉

    • Always start with a lace to sit….a hammock sounds divine in Limousin! X

    • Yes me too although some of the Old House garden has evolved and that’s ok too.

  • I really enjoyed this post, as it had some really good ideas, which were explained so well for new gardeners. It is always so exciting creating a new garden!

    • Oh it really is isn’t it? I know so many people don’t know where to start so I thought I would start with the basics. Thanks for linking up this month Jane, x

  • I love this post! Its so true that anybody can start a garden from anywhere. My balcony is the size of a modest bathroom and I’ve managed to create a little green oasis out of many container plants. I know container gardening is a little different than ground gardening, but all the basics still apply. And gardening is so healthy for you too! Thanks for sharing these great tips! #mygloriousgardens

  • Every Spring I think “right, this is the year we will actually do something with our garden” and every Autumn it’s still just a large patch of grass! I really want to get started but it just seems such a huge task! These are great tips…maybe it will give me the motivation to get started! #bloggerclubuk

    • Hope so! I think anyone can start a garden.

    • Ooh yes a vertical garden! I think Ann over at gardenlimite has a post…I’ll see if I can find it. X

  • A great post! I agree that everyone can garden, in some form, even if its just a few pots. And its so good for you that everyone should garden if they can, and this is good advice on how to get a garden started. #MyGloriousGardens

    • Thanks Paul. Yes, simple advice but anyone can garden.

  • Hello Sophie, your blog is awesome and you have really beautiful garden too. I will try your tips for my garden. Thank you for this useful blog. Keep posting.

    • Thankyou Jane, that is very kind of you. I’m glad you find my posts useful.

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