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Gardening For Novices

Updated on February 21, 2011

Now to look at me you wouldn't think i had green fingers,in fact up until a few years ago i didn't,the only thing i did in the garden was sunbathe or drink beer,but it was a few years ago when my sister decided she wanted to totally change her garden and was going to pay me for helping her did i get interested,so after a few days of knocking down greenhouses and digging up turf and then creating a winding gravel path did i realise i had a bit of a knack for it,now don't get me wrong I'm no Alan titchmarsh but I'm just a beginner still who knows how to keep a garden looking tidy and how to inject a little bit of colour without having to spend every waking hour tending to your garden,so what follows is a bit of garden advice for beginners if you will.

So what type of garden is best for novices,well i suggest that you need a small piece of lawn,no bigger than 5metres squared otherwise it becomes a pain mowing it,two or three borders around the lawn that you can put a splash of colour in and that is all you really need,maybe a few big pots to put some nice plants in.The tip to managing your garden is to have a small lawn and when planting plants and flowers make sure they are hardy as they will be ok if you forget to water them or prune them,what you are looking for is a medium amount of effort to begin with and then a small amount of effort from there on in.Next Step is what tools you may need.

Tools

When you are looking to keep a low maintenance garden you really don't need a lot of tools,firstly you will need a lawnmower to keep that lawn nice and trim,id go with a hover mower as they are light and perfect for a small lawn,you will need some gardening gloves,a big spade,a big fork,little hand trowels both normal and the forked variety,a kneeling pad,some garden waste sacks,a hose reel of some description and that is pretty much it,maybe some slug tablets and weed killer.That's it and it needn't cost you the earth,make sure the hand tools are good quality but the large spade and fork don't need to be as due to their size they are usually fairly strong.

Creating Borders

This is the best part in my opinion,you are going to first prepare your borders to accept plants so first you are going to need to get on you hands and knees I'm afraid,now i like to make my borders stand out by having log edging to hem the borders in and you may want to do the same,next you need to get your trowel and rake through and clear out any large stones and bits of rubble and clear it free of weeds,Once this is done you can get you rake or big fork and rake it or fork it over and then add some compost or preferably top soil so the earth is nice and ready for your flowers or plants.Once this is done i would pick some plants to go in your borders,if you are like me and you don't want to have to remember to go and water your plants every 5 minutes then go for hardy plants such as ferns,i have gone for red ferns that believe it or not can grow up to 5 feet high and 6 feet wide so bear that in mind when planting,leave enough room between one plant and another and if your not sure it always says on the label how big the plant will get,that's it really just make sure you buy lots of hardy plants that don't need much attention and a good looking border can be yours.

Lawns

i have already done a guide for lawns which can be found here but i will go over i briefly,you need to mark out the area you are going to put your lawn in and this can be done with either chalk or i prefer string,make sure you buy top quality soil and buy it the day you are going to lay it as it will dry out otherwise,buy too much just in case you haven't measured it out right and once you have prepared your earth by turning it over twice,picking out stones and then levelling it and laying down top soil you are ready to begin,stagger your lawn rolls like you were laying bricks in a wall,make sure the ground underneath is well watered and then water the lawn twice daily until it is settled.

That's all there is to it really,just remember keep it simple and you cant go wrong,if in doubt don't do it that's my advice,so lay your lawn and water it well and then create beautiful borders just by adding a splash of colour to them and you can enjoy your simple but effective garden for years to come.

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