Easy Step-by-Step Guide to Planting Flowers, Gardening, and Mulching for Beginners
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.
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 , rather than cloth gardening gloves, which are sturdy for planting and easy to wash) sturdy pair of mud gloves
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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)
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.Helpful 20
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.Helpful 9
© 2012 Amelia Griggs