Learn DIY Landscaping and beautify your own Garden

Here is a simplified approach to DIY landscaping. You can now improve your own garden. Learn to design a garden, prepare for planting and install your own garden design. This is the most exciting part of gardening; seeing your own ideas becoming a reality.

Complete your Landscape Design

The first step in DIY landscaping is to do your own garden design. During your design you finalize your garden style and theme. Visit our garden design page to complete your design and to get some inspiration. Our garden design page contains basic steps to assist you in finalizing your landscape design. You also need a drawing of your completed garden design before you start with your DIY landscaping.

Click Picture to see finished Pond

DIY landscaping in process
(click on picture to see finished pond)

Preparing your Garden Site

Now is the time to be ruthless. Remove all the trees, shrubs, plants, lawn, paving, and other hard landscaped items, not forming part of the new garden design. Ensure that it is legal to remove trees where you live. Obtain the necessary permission if required. A difficult task is to remove the root balls of all the trees and shrubs that were taken out. This is not pleasant, but an essential task. Any large roots that remain will interfere with the DIY landscaping of the new garden.

Take care when removing plants that will be replanted during your DIY landscaping. Try and preserve as much of the root ball as possible. If the ground is very hard, water the plants that are to be relocated very well three days before removing them (in sandy soil the day before). This will soften the ground, but not cause mud when removing the plants.

If you are going to make compost, retain the suitable vegetation. Remove all the rest of the plant material and all the rubble. Take it to a suitable dump. Your local authority will be able to direct you. You cannot do your DIY landscaping in a cluttered environment.

Carefully transfer your design to the site, by measuring distances on your plan, and transferring it to the site after scaling it up to the correct distance. Hit stakes into the ground at the positions of important measurements, so that your garden layout will be perfect as per your garden design.

By now you will probably realize that DIY landscaping, takes up much more time and effort than you bargained for in the beginning!!

Complete the Hard Landscaping.

Your hard landscaping items must be put in first after the layout has been completed. If you are going to build, a barbeque, gazebo, a deck, pave or build terraces etc., first ensure that you are not building over a route to be taken by your irrigation or lighting!

If you are, then first dig a trench and put pipes underneath the hard landscaping. Make sure that the diameter of these pipes, are large enough to accommodate all the pipes and wires to be routed through them. You can then route the irrigation and wires through the pipes when you get to that stage in your DIY landscaping. See the importance of having done the drawings of your garden design properly to scale?!

You may now do all your hard landscaping. If you are doing it yourself, have fun! If not, chase the contractors! By now you can’t wait planting your masterpiece! “Phew! Has it really taken this long since I started with my garden design?”

Oh yes, I almost forgot. Don’t forget to clear the site properly again after the hard landscaping has been completed. Clutter on site fogs up the brain and inspiration struggles to flow freely!

Soil Preparation

Remember, a healthy garden is a happy garden. The most important part of any garden is the soil. Without good and healthy soil, plants struggle to grow, and your DIY landscaping will be a failure.

Prepare your site, especially where plants need to grow, by double digging the soil. The process is explained in garden soil preparation. Rake all the soil flat, and remove any roots and rocks that may have been unearthed. Redraw the lines of your flower beds at this time. Now is a good time to install your irrigation system and your garden lighting system. All preparations for your DIY landscaping are completed. Only the planting of the plants remain to be done! So off to the nursery we go!

Laying out your plants

The final most enjoyable stage of DIY landscaping is the actual planting of the plants. Always go to the nursery with a planned list of plants. If you don’t have a list you will return home with plants that don’t match your style and soil type. When you see the plants that are in season when you get to the nursery, you will easily be distracted and buy the incorrect plants.

Select only three to four varieties. Grade your plants according to water requirements, color, size and scale, and beauty. Plants are always grouped in groups of three, five or one. Never group in two’s and fours. Repeat the pattern over and over until the garden is complete. This creates unity and harmony in the garden.

Never plant plants on top of each other. Always allow space for growth. There must be enough space around each plant for a butterfly to fly right around it without touching the next plant. Each plant is unique and must have the opportunity to show itself off!

Plant the plants to the same level as they were planted in their containers or bag. If you plant it to deep you will suffocate the plant, and if you plant it too shallow, its roots will dry out. It is a good idea to place all the plants in their right positions as indicated on the drawing of your garden design.

You can then stand back and look at the overall impression they make. You may find that you have to make small adjustments at this stage. Just remember that the heights of the plants will be lower when planted (they will no longer be in their bags standing above the ground). Also turn the plants to show of their best sides.

Once you are satisfied, move each plant away from its position. Dig a suitable hole in the place from which you removed it. When done take it out of its bag and plant it. Repeat until all the plants are planted.

Get a chair, turn on the sprinklers, get a drink and watch your beautiful DIY landscaping effort! Pat yourself on the back and say I’ve done it!

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