Easy Step-by-Step Guide to Planting Flowers, Gardening, and Mulching for Beginners

Updated on May 1, 2019
easylearningweb profile image

I love gardening, but I remember how tough it was when I first started. That's why I like sharing tips to help fledgling gardeners!

Beautiful Flowers
Beautiful Flowers

Planting flowers can enhance the beauty of your lawn and provide a colorful landscape in your garden. But if you are new to planting flowers, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to begin, what flowers to plant, how often to water flowers, and how to maintain your garden. Luckily, you don't have to be an expert to plant flowers and embark on gardening.

Where Do I Begin?

With a few simple goals in mind, a little motivation, and a little hard work, planting flowers can be a rewarding experience.

First, select an area of your lawn or yard where you would like to plant flowers. Take a picture of the area (on your cell phone) and bring with you when picking out flowers.

Next, visit your favorite gardening center and purchase some flowers, keeping size, color and how much sun the flowers need. Try to select colors that will compliment your home. Ask the gardening experts lots of questions while you there, especially if you're not sure about which plants to purchase for the different areas of your garden around your house. In addition, you will need to estimate how many plants to purchase based on the size of the area where you will be planting.

Preparing to plant flowers
Preparing to plant flowers

What Kind of Gardening Tools Do I Need?

In addition to purchasing flowers to plant, you'll need to purchase the following supplies:

  • Gloves (I would recommend a sturdy pair of mud gloves, rather than cloth gardening gloves, which are sturdy for planting and easy to wash)
  • Top soil
  • Gardening shovel
  • Gardening rake
  • Gardening fork (especially for weeding)
  • Watering can

Optional but recommended if you are weeding or would like to prevent weeds:

  • Weeding bucket (to collect weeds and debris)
  • Tarp and pins
  • pruning shears
  • Bags of mulch, in color and type of your choice (# of bags depends on size of area you are covering; I usually buy 8-10 bags to cover areas around front of house)

Weeding and Preparing the Ground/Soil

After purchasing your flowers and supplies, get excited and ready to do some planting! First, you need to do a little preparation. Is the area you want to plant flowers full of weeds or old mulch? If so, first, clear the area where you will be planting of any weeds, and rake the area a bit to remove any old mulch and debris.

If necessary, line up your flower plants along side where you are planning on planting them, so you can get an idea of how far apart to plant each one.

Laying tarp down before planting to prevent weeds
Laying tarp down before planting to prevent weeds

Laying Tarp Down to Prevent Weeds

If the area you will be planting in, tends to be a high weed area, consider putting tarp down to try to prevent weeds. Although this will not prevent all weeds, it will help to block weeds around your plants. If you're not laying tarp down, you can skip to the next step to start planting.

  • Unroll and cut pieces of tarp (rolls of tarp can be purchased from your gardening store).
  • Adhere the tarp to the ground by placing tarp pins along the corners of the tarp. Then, cut openings in the tarp (a little wider than the width of the plant), for each location where you planning on planting a flower plant.

Adhering gardening tarp down before planting.
Adhering gardening tarp down before planting.
  • Next, for each dig a hole slightly wider and deeper than the plant.
  • Loosen the plant and then remove it from the container you purchased it in, then place it in the hole, making sure that the base of the plant is level with the surrounding soil.
  • Add top soil as needed and pack down the soil around the plant.
  • Repeat for each plant.

Planting flowers and adding top soil.
Planting flowers and adding top soil.
  • When you are finishing planting all your flowers, remove any excess soil from on top of the tarp to prevent weed growth.
  • Next, add 1 to 2 inches of mulch around your plants.
  • Finally, water all your flowers thoroughly.

  • Continue watering your plants daily, or according to instructions based on the type of plant you purchased.

Multicolored Celosia flowers (this is how the flowers will look after mulching).
Multicolored Celosia flowers (this is how the flowers will look after mulching).

Suggested Annuals for Planting

Here are some suggestions for colorful annuals to plant:

  • begonias (light: sun/part sun/shade)
  • petunias (light: sun/part sun)
  • pansies (light: sun/part sun)
  • african marigold (light: sun)
  • impatiens (light: shade)

Pink and White Petunias
Pink and White Petunias

Good Resources With Alphabetical List of Annuals and Perennials

I found an excellent resource for descriptions and photos of annuals on the Better Homes and Gardens website alphabetic listing of annuals with pictures.

Go Green When Controlling Pests in Your Garden

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • Is it possible to mulch before you plant the flowers? What mulch is best for flower beds?

    If you are planning on planting flowers soon, then it is probably best to plant the flowers first and then mulch; otherwise, it will be more difficult to dig in the mulch to get to the soil level in order to plant the flowers. If your garden bed has some mulch already, what you could do is select a particular area (or areas) to dig and plant flowers, but then you will need to add mulch back in those areas so that the soil is not exposed, which may cause weeds to grow. Be sure to add a nice, thick layer of mulch. Mulch helps to moderate the soil temperature as well as retain soil moisture, so this will help to promote the good health of your plants. Adding a layer of mulch also improves the appearance of your flower beds, and again, may suppress weed growth.

    As far as the type of mulch, I usually use bagged mulch from the local garden store, (or Home Depot or Lowe's). A combination of compost, shredded leaves, grass clippings and/or straw are good options, as they break down quickly each season, and they add nutrients that plants take from the soil. Other alternatives: straw, salt hay, or weed-free hay. It also can be a matter of cost as well. For example, bags of mulch may be more expensive than having a pile of mulch delivered from a garden store; however, it may be easier to spread from the bag, so it is a matter of preference.

  • When is the best time to plant your flower garden?

    My favorite time to plant flowers is in the spring, but it really depends what type of flowers you are planting. When I wrote the article for this topic, I purchased plants and planted them in later spring. If you are planting flowers using bulbs, it's best to wait until there is no danger of frost, so late spring may be best, or even early summer.

    If you're not sure whether to plant in spring or summer, go with early summer for your perennial plants.

    If you live in an area where July and August get extremely hot, then it's best not to wait until then, otherwise you will have to do some extra watering to be sure the plants don't dry out from the hot sun.

© 2012 Amelia Griggs


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    • easylearningweb profile imageAUTHOR

      Amelia Griggs 

      7 years ago from U.S.

      Give it a try, Jmillis2006, and you may be surprised how easy planting can be. With a little elbow grease and some ready-to-grow plants, you can have a garden in no time. I just watered each day especially the first couple of weeks. I do better with outdoor plants, because with indoor plants I can never seem to get the right light and water. Good luck!

    • Jmillis2006 profile image


      7 years ago from North Carolina

      I may try the tips you have provided here, I really like the look of a nice garden but my green thumb seems to be the thumb of death to plants, as I can never keep them alive.

    • easylearningweb profile imageAUTHOR

      Amelia Griggs 

      7 years ago from U.S.

      Hello mizjo,

      That's great to hear! I'm sure your window garden looks beautiful. :-)

      And thanks for voting this up.

      Regards and Happy Planting,


    • mizjo profile image


      7 years ago from New York City, NY

      Lovely hub on my favorite subject, gardening. I used all your methods when I had a garden in upstate New York . Now I have a small window garden in my little city apartment and bugs aren't much of a problem. I'm going to link your hub to my hub about 'growing food'.

      Thanks for the nice read. Voted UP.

    • easylearningweb profile imageAUTHOR

      Amelia Griggs 

      7 years ago from U.S.

      Glad your flowers sprouted. :-). I think with trial and error, we can all make our lawns beautiful...happy planting!



    • Londonlady profile image

      Laura Writes 

      7 years ago

      I wish I would have read this before trying to plant my Mimosa Pudica. I planted the seeds way too deep and for a week and a half I wondered why nothing was sprouting. Thankfully I still have some little plants now, they managed to sprout. Voted up!

    • easylearningweb profile imageAUTHOR

      Amelia Griggs 

      7 years ago from U.S.

      Thanks for your comment, Jim and Laura. Glad you liked the hub and photos. :-) As far as gloves, over the years, I used to buy the cloth kind, and they wouldn't hold up, then a nice lady in the store told me that mud gloves are the way to go, and she was so right!

    • Jim and Laura profile image

      Jim and Laura 

      7 years ago from Chicago area

      Great information and beautiful photos on your Hub! I agree a sturdy pair of mud gloves is the way to go when planting & weeding.

    • easylearningweb profile imageAUTHOR

      Amelia Griggs 

      7 years ago from U.S.

      Thanks, jessfutch. Glad that you found the gardening tips helpful. :-)

    • jessefutch profile image


      7 years ago from North Carolina

      We love garden in my house. There are some great tips here. Voted and shared.

    • easylearningweb profile imageAUTHOR

      Amelia Griggs 

      7 years ago from U.S.

      I'm happy to hear that you found this hub helpful, Stephanie. I appreciate your comments. I just love to write detailed instructions and with gardening, that was lots of room for details!

    • easylearningweb profile imageAUTHOR

      Amelia Griggs 

      7 years ago from U.S.

      Thanks for your comment, Dobson. I'm glad your found the hub helpful. :-). I think trial and error helps a lot to identify what works best.

    • Dobson profile image


      7 years ago from Virginia

      You present this information in a great step by step way that I am sure many gardeners will love to discover. You obviously have a good grasp of the best concepts to having great looking and low maintenance flower beds. Nice job!

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 

      7 years ago from New Jersey

      Beautifully done and useful. You write a lot of pertinent information for novices and those with some experience. Thanks for sharing.

    • easylearningweb profile imageAUTHOR

      Amelia Griggs 

      7 years ago from U.S.

      It's worth it if you have an area that is very sunny and tends to get a lot of weeds. I also liked that method more so than using poison spray which will damage the grass. Glad you liked the hub. :-)

    • easylearningweb profile imageAUTHOR

      Amelia Griggs 

      7 years ago from U.S.

      Thank you, Sinea Pies, and much appreciated. Tarping is more work, but that area gets so many weeds. The area where I planted the petunias doesn't get as many weeks, so not tarp was needed there...horray!

      One thing about the petunias is that someone warned me that they tend to spread a bit over time, and that they did. Now that fall has arrived, I pulled the flowers out and will replant in the spring. I loved the petunias, but I want to try impatiens next year because I heard they stay closer to the ground.

    • easylearningweb profile imageAUTHOR

      Amelia Griggs 

      7 years ago from U.S.

      Thank you, Peggy W. I was happier with the way the petunias turned out. The Celosia flowers were also beautiful for the spring months, but the area where they were plants is extra sunny and the flowers got extra thirsty, and dried out faster.

      As far as the tarp, it definitely helps, and lots of mulch too!

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

      Pavlo Badovskyi 

      7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      Hi, we never tried to use tarping but I know that many people do it and your hub is a good example of it. I have to try it again.

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 

      7 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Your gardens are so beautiful. I have to admit, tarping seems like so much work but it's obvious here that it's worth it. This is a very good hub for anyone who wants to take their gardening seriously. Voted up and beautiful and shared! In fact, I am going to add a link to my hub about Mulch. It'll be a wonderful addition.

    • easylearningweb profile imageAUTHOR

      Amelia Griggs 

      7 years ago from U.S.

      Thanks for your comment, carol7777. It takes a little work, but afterwards when you step back and admire the beauty of the flowers you planted, it is so well worth it!



    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Your beds look beautiful. I have never used a tarp but it would surely cut down on the weeding! I do mulch however and that really helps. Even if the weeds make it through the mulch, they are easier to pull. Up and useful votes and will share.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Now that I have perfect instructions...I just have to do it. We have terrible soil here and often talk about raised beds. Maybe we will wait until spring. I will bookmark this for that future date. Great hub and worthy UP.


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