Horticulture/First Steps in Planning a Garden
Growing a garden is an ancient practice we have perfected over thousands of years. However, in modern times, we are not all raised with a garden in the back yard, so it's good to approach a new garden with careful forethought and a plan to follow.
Before starting the plan, the gardener should first come up with a list of priorities for the garden, perhaps asking questions such as these:
- What will be the main purpose of the garden? A hobby? A place to grow food? A place to entertain? All of the above?
- How much time will I have to spend in the garden?
- How much money will be in the gardening budget?
These are all important questions, because the approach to garden planning and design will vary greatly according to how they are answered. We'll begin by going over these topics in detail.
The aims of the garden
Gardens are grown for many reasons, such as for a hobby (where the act of gardening becomes its own reward), a place to grow food for the family or the market, or as a place to entertain.
Hobby gardens tend to come about slowly, one bed at a time, and one plant at a time. Hobby gardening often verges on obsession, as the gardener learns of new plants to grow, and tries to utilize every inch of soil to its greatest potential. The best approach to a hobby garden is to start small, then expand the project as you get a feel for how much work is involved.
When growing fruits and vegetables, the primary interest is in the final products (the produce), and so the garden should be planned to get the most production from the time and space available to the grower.
When the garden is intended as a place to entertain, the planning needs to take into account how much space will be needed for your guests, what time of year it will be used, and what sort of entertaining you'll be doing.