Sumo Gardener

Best Beginner Gardening Tips and Tricks

There is no greater hobby than gardening, as you can take it at any age. It is a great way to exercise, as you produce something meaningful. It does not matter if you are growing edible produce or just flowers, the end results are always worth it. 

If you have a spacious backyard the best thing to do is start a garden. You can start gardening as a hobby, but the results are so rewarding. Whether you want to grow flowers or delicious foods there are a few tips to ensure you get the right results.

As for now, here are beginner gardening tips and tricks for you to get started. 


The best thing about doing gardening is it takes away a fraction of the amount of money you use to buy vegetables. Most importantly the vegetables are fresh every time you prepare them.

Beginner Gardening Tips

Best Beginner Gardening Tips

1. Plan Your Garden's Location

Location matters in gardening, especially if you have not done it before you might forget you are gardening. You can start with container gardening before moving to a bigger location.

When you start, you want to ensure the location you choose is good with optimal growing conditions for the plants. Avoid spots that are vulnerable to natural disaster elements such as flooding or an old creek bed running through.

2. Consider How Much Sunlight Your Garden Will Receive

Take note of the sun pattern in your garden when choosing a suitable location. If you want to garden properly and yield what you sowed with ease, then you will have to pay attention to how the sun hits and plays all over your plot before you choose your gardening spot.

This is because most edible produce need loads of sun in order to thrive. So consider it with regard to what you are planning to garden. If you are doing produce gardening such as fruits, vegetables, and herbs they need at least 6 hours of sunlight to grow well.

Southward facing gardens are best as vegetable gardens since it receives the most amount of light. If the area is occupied choose the east or west side for gardening.

Elements casting shadows should be considered because it is important that the morning sun is not blocked from the plants but in the afternoon shade is desired.

3. Invest in Good Soil

As a newbie garden, you should always remember that soil is everything in gardening. Therefore, for better gardening ensure you get soil that is well-drained and rich in nutrients with plenty of compost.

If you have no access to it, you can make your own compost by using food waste. You can blend this nutrient-rich soil into the existing one, if you are gardening on the ground. Good organic soils drain well, hold moisture at the same time, they are rich in humus.

Clay soil is best for later crops because it takes longer to break up and warm up. Light soil needs lots of compost and manure to avoid water draining at a high rate and they are the best for vegetables.

Loam soil is ideal for gardening because it is loose, well-aerated which holds and absorbs nutrients and water.

4. Gardening Near a Water Source

As you plan your garden and the plants you will put in it, remember you will need to water every now and then. Therefore, let your garden be near a water source, for efficient gardening.

Also, ensure, you can easily run a hosepipe towards it, to avoid wheel-carting water every time you need to quench its thirst. If you push a finger into the soil and an inch down the soil is dry it is time for watering.

To make it easier when watering, buy a watering can or have a spray nozzle connected to your pipe. 

Check out our hose reel buying guide to find out what are its benefits and how to choose the best for your garden. 

5. Choosing the Right Plant for Your Area

If you plant the wrong kind of plants, no matter the kind of care you give to them, they will disappoint you especially if they are not for that region. You can check online from the plant hardiness zone map.

Pick the right varieties for your area; if you live in warm climates, choose warm tolerant plants because they will perform better under such a climate. The more you know about your hardiness zone, the better you can choose the best plants for your garden zone.

In simple terms, this hardiness zone, describes the coldest place that a plant can grow well, the higher the zone number, the warmer the climate. Choosing the right plants depends on several factors the major ones being the size of the garden, the climate of the area, the soil type and your personal preferences.

Ask about easy to grow plants for a beginner. These plants include onions, basil, tomatoes and some flowers like sunflowers.

6. Know When is the Right Time for Planting

Planting late or early could be disastrous; note the frost dates and calculate when you will harvest because if the cold season finds plants in the garden they might get damaged.

Therefore, you need to be in tune with frost dates to avoid putting your plants out there prematurely or harvesting them too late in the season when they are already damaged by the cold.

7. Make a Layer of Mulch in Your Garden

Mulching reduces the amount of water lost through evaporation and the sun rays are blocked the weeds are reduced. This is very essential because a layer of about 3 inches keeps the weeds from growing.

For mulching, use pine straw, shredded leaves or any other available material. When the mulch layer decays, it acts as manure adding nutrients to your soil. For your garden, you would want to go organic to prevent soil degrading rate.

Soil used to harsh chemical and fertilizers is bound to become weak and prone to diseases. Organically grown plants have better tasting produce. There are organic methods of pest control.

Seek information on what you need to feed your plants regularly starting with great soil, but the plants also need nutrients, air, and water sufficiently to grow in a healthy way.

8. Growing Vegetables in the Garden

Plan ahead, but early spring is the best time to create a vegetable plot. You would want to grow every kind of vegetable, but growing everything will be lots of work, select a few. Have a fence or a barrier which will filter the effects of strong winds to the garden.

Choose to grow vegetables and herbs that you love and buy which constitute a high percentage of your budget. Space should also guide you on what to grow. You would love to plan well so that you harvest through most seasons in the year.

Raised beds serve better for plots of vegetables because they prevent soil washing away, provide good drainage, bar pests such as snails from your vegetables and increase soil temperature.

Mix different kinds of vegetables, flowers, and herbs in one area. Having one kind of plant attracts pests, but when they are all mixed, pests keep away. After harvesting, do not let your garden lie idle have fast fillers such as salad greens, which grow easily, can be easily moved when it’s planting time.

How to Start a Flower Garden

So, you’ve finally made up your mind that you’re going to start your flower garden. You might even have begun searching for the types of flowers you would love to own and plant. But where and how do you start?

The following steps will help you start your flower garden the easy and smart way.

1. Choose a Place for Your Flower Garden

Tips to start your flower garden

You can’t start growing flowers if you have no place to do it, so the first thing to consider is the location. For starters, you can always start small. Your first flower garden can start from a simple container, a window box, a slightly raised garden bed or even a flower bed.

Pick a location near a water source for easy watering. It is also best to choose a space where your garden is noticeable. If it is hidden somewhere in your yard, the tendency is you might forget about it.

2. Know the Sunlight Levels of Your Chosen Location

Once you have chosen a place where your flower garden will be, you to check for the light levels next. For flowers, the more sunlight, the more the flowers bloom. One must know that different types of flowers, like most plants, require different amounts of sunlight.

It is best to spend some of your time outside in different times of the day and note the places where sunlight is prominent and which are usually partially shaded.

3. Get Rid of Grass and Sod

Make sure no sod or grass covers the area where you plan to grow your garden

Make sure no sod or grass covers the area where you plan to grow your garden to give space for your flowers. If there are grasses and aggressive weeds, digging through the soil to get the roots out is what you need to do.

You can also try to dig sods to clear them out faster. If you can still wait for a few months like five or so, you can use newspapers in five layers to smother the sod.

Top it off with potting soil and topsoil combo or soil composts in three coats. All of these will need at least four months to compose.

4. Get Your Soil Ready

Till your soil until it is loose and quickly breaks into smaller pieces. If there are rocks or lumps of earth or clay, you will need to remove those too. Try to make the topsoil smooth for a layer that looks even.

The soil where you will plant your flowers needs necessary nutrients such as potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus as well as other nutrients to grow. Organic materials like compost as well as manure are excellent fertilizers.

If digging is not an option, putting layers of compost or manure on top of your soil will do. You just need 6 inches of these and a few months later will be part of dirt.

5. Choose the Flowers You Want to Grow in Your Garden

Pick the right type of flowering plants for your garden

It is best to consider the amount of light and shade your chosen location gets in picking flowers. Another thing to take into consideration is to make sure the flowers you select can grow on the climate where you are planting them.

Different types of flowers grow on different zones, so make sure to keep this in mind to not waste any effort in the future. How much time and dedication you can provide for you to grow your garden is also necessary to make sure you pick the right type of flowering plants, be it perennials or annuals.

Perennials are plants that can live for more than two years. They can grow during spring and summer time, die during the cold of winter and autumn and come back from their rootstock when spring arrives. Some of the best varieties of perennials are roses, asters, peonies, and daffodils.

Annuals, on the other hand, needs to be planted yearly. Their advantage for perennials, however, is that their blooms last for a more extended period. For those who are newbies when it comes to gardening, your best pick for seeds would be low-maintenance flowers that are easy to grow like sunflowers.

6. Plan Your Flower Garden Structure

Planning your garden structure

If you’re considering to plant various types of flowers, it is best to include color, height, and spacing. Prioritize the small flowers in the front, while the taller ones are to be positioned and planted at the back. It will enable you to organize your garden as well as showcase the beauty of each plant.

7. Buy the Seeds and Starting Planting

If you want to grow the flowers on your own, you can buy seeds on online catalogs or garden centers. Otherwise, you can obtain flowers on a nursery or flower market as well as the garden store.

Remember that you will need extra care and attention if you plan to grow plants on your own. Once the soil is ready and you have your plant or seeds, start planting. For seeds, strictly follow the instructions to make sure our flowers will not die out.

8. Watering Your Plants

If you planted seeds, seedlings should never dry out so make sure to water them regularly. Newly planted transplants also need a daily supply of water up until the roots have settled in place.

It is best to water in the morning, and you need to water deeply and slowly for the soil to absorb it.

9. Clear Up Weeds When You See Them

These unwanted plants will fight over the nutrients in the soil that your plants need, so it’s best to get rid of them. You can use mulch to keep moisture in a while keeping the weeds out.

10. Take Care of Your Flower Garden and Show it Off!

Daily watering and getting rid of weeds are essential to keep your flower garden alive and beautiful. You may also want to show off your garden since you’ve been doing a great job in taking care of it.

Tree Planting Tips for Beginners

Tips to get your tree off to a healthy start

1. Deciding What and Where to Plant Your Tree

We’re assuming you already have an idea of what tree you would like to have. If you haven’t chosen yet, no matter. That’s a detail you can explore later.

The size of the tree when fully grown is one thing that you need to consider. There must be sufficient space all around the tree (below and above ground) for the tree to grow.

This means making sure it is not too close to

  • your house
  • your neighbor’s house
  • utility lines (above and below ground)
  • other trees (which are also busy growing!)
  • parts of your garden that you would prefer to keep as “sunny areas”.

A good rule of thumb is that the shape of the tree’s root system is roughly the shape of the tree above ground, although in some cases the root system might spread wider than the extent of the branches.

The reason for this is that when it rains, the outer branches of the tree form what is called the “drip line”, thereby directing rainwater to the ground above its outermost roots.

There must be sufficient space all around the tree for the tree to grow

Plant the tree where it will have the amount of sunshine it needs. Some trees need full sunshine, while others prefer partial sunshine. Some plants are less hardy than others; these will need a certain amount of shelter from the wind.

Deciduous trees, which are shade-bearing, do best on the south side of the house where they will give you shade in summer and allow light and warmth through the windows in the winter.

Conifers like the north or windy side of the house, where they can serve and windbreaks. There is a good diagram illustrating all these considerations. 

Why don’t you go out into your yard and identify possible sites for your tree now? That way, you’ll be better able to decide on the right tree for the right place.

If you are also dreaming of having the perfect lawn, you’ll need to do a little more research on which grasses are compatible with which trees. Thinking about these things before planting anything saves you a lot of bother later.

2. Know When To Plant Your Tree

Early spring or late fall is generally the best time to plant a tree in the northern hemisphere, but it’s wise to check whether your specific plant is an exception to this rule.

In tropical climates where the difference between summer and winter temperatures is less marked, trees can be planted pretty much at any time of the year. If in doubt, ask the knowledgeable folk at your local nursery.

3. Planning Your Garden

Often, as new homeowners, you need to get rid of existing trees that have grown too old, as can be the case with conifers, which risk falling down and causing damage to your house.

Trees that interfere with utility lines often need to be removed too. To find out more about the tree removal from your garden, you need to contact specialists. Now that you have removed a tree, you’ll need to replace it with something new.

4. How to Choose Your Tree at the Nursery

How to choose your tree at the nursery

Make sure that the pot the tree is in is not too small for the size of the tree. If it is, the roots “grow back on themselves”, and the chances of your tree surviving healthily are reduced.

Packaging may vary, but in all cases, your tree should have a well-developed root ball.

5. Digging the Hole When Planting Trees

If you’re planting on soil covered with grass, dig down a little (about four to six inches) and remove the turf, then start digging the actual soil. The hole should be at least three times the diameter of the container the plant comes in, or the extent of the roots.

The hole should be deep enough for the “trunk flare” to be showing just above the ground. The trunk flare is the base of the trunk where it begins to widen. Dig a little deeper than that to loosen the soil immediately beneath where you will be placing the tree. This makes it easier for the roots to take root.

There is no need to use chemical fertilizers. In fact, these could harm the roots of the trees, and nowadays this is not recommended.

Tips on digging hole for your plant

What some organic gardeners to with clay soils that do not drain well is dig down another six inches or so, and place vegetative matter – such as lawn clippings and dry leaves at the base of the hole, and then a couple of handfuls of worm compost, or indeed, a handful of worms, before covering this with the original soil dug out of the hole.

This seems to help the tree acclimatize to its new location and help with initial plant vigor.

Place your plant upright in the hole, and ensure that you have positioned it straight. If you have someone helping you, you can always get them to look at the tree from several different angles to make sure this is the case.

6. Backfilling and Mulching

Now it is time to backfill – or put the soil you had dug out of the hole back in around the plant. Don’t rush this part of the job. You want to avoid creating air pockets. Ensure you get an even distribution of soil all around the plant.

Once all the soil is in, stand on it to press it down gently. Not a lot of force is required. Most gardeners make a raised lip with the soil around the diameter of the soil to create a kind of “well”.

This is so that when you water the plant the water stays around the base of the tree, which gives the tree maximum benefit.

It is a good idea to put at least six to eight inches of vegetative matter, called mulch, around your newly planted tree. Hay, or straw, is often the cheapest option, but nurseries stock other products which are also very good, such as coir mulch.

A word of warning, though: do not place the mulch right up to the base of the trunk. Leave a little space between the trunk and the mulch itself. This will prevent the base of the trunk from rotting, which happens most often with fruit trees.

Mulch is useful for the purposes of water retention and, as it happens, for providing a nice dark environment for worms and other bugs good for the soil to thrive.

7. Wait for Your Tree to Grow

You’ll know that your tree is happy once you start to see new shoots or buds forming. You’ll soon begin to understand why people find planting trees so rewarding, even years after they first dug the hole.

This is a good time to educate yourself about whether your tree will need pruning, and how and when. We have loads of advice on all sorts of gardening matters on our website and encourage you to browse around and see what other tips you can pick up.

You Can't Go Wrong with these Beginner Gardening Tips 

Gardening is easy when you put these few tips to work. Connect with neighbors who have similar gardens near your area and find out how they are faring on. It is important to get reviews from people who have been gardening for a while or online reviews, you will get priceless advice. 

In conclusion, gardening is fun and enjoyable. You just need to know the basics of it and you will be on a great start. Otherwise, make use of the above beginner gardening tips and tricks for a great gardening season. 

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

follow me on:

Leave a Comment: