The world of gardening is vast and varied, filled with soil amendments, sun and water requirements, and annual and perennial plants, trees, bushes, herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables. Your backyard is but one small part of that green and growing world. Gardening can be addictive, but it doesn't have to be complicated. Keeping it simple is the key to backyard garden success, especially if you're a busy or inexperienced gardener.
A corner of the yard is a good place for a simple backyard garden. If your corner is sunny and you want flowers, fill it with sunflowers, marigolds and zinnias, easy annual flowers you can grow from seed with little work or special care other than planting the seeds and watering regularly. A sunny corner is also a great place for a few easy vegetables like tomatoes, green peppers and chives. A shady corner is a nice place for shade-tolerant flowering plants like hostas, columbines and primroses. A small fountain or stone statue or an interesting large rock or stone make attractive accents for corner gardens.
If you don't have a lot of time or space for your backyard garden, consider vertical gardening. A few large planters with trellises will accommodate almost any kind of plants you wish to tend. If you want vegetables, tomatoes and cucumbers will grow up trellises nicely. If flowers are your interest, morning glories provide a pretty display in a variety of colours. For larger plants, trellises on a wall provide more space for flowering vines like climbing roses, trumpet vines and clematis. If you're interested in a simple gardening project, consider hanging gardening bags on a fence or wall and planting them with succulents, strawberry plants or herbs.
To keep things really simple in your backyard garden, pick your favourite plant and concentrate on that. If roses are your favourites, don't worry about annuals or borders. Concentrate on preparing the soil for roses, choosing one or two beautiful varieties, reading about them and asking a local master gardener about rose cultivation. Then spend your gardening time and budget on growing roses. If tomatoes are your passion, spend your time on them. Or just care for one apple tree and enjoy the harvest each fall.
To keep your backyard beautiful without too much time and effort, create a simple maintenance plan for spring through fall. Schedule one hour a week for mowing grass and trimming weeds, half an hour three times a week for watering and a few hours once a month for larger tasks such as tree trimming, composting and mulching. Assign tasks to each person in the family or schedule a family gardening chore day once every few weeks to tackle the yard all together.
- "Easy Garden Projects to Make, Build, and Grow: 200 Do-It-Yourself Ideas to Help You Grow Your Best Garden Ever", Editors of Yankee Magazine and Barbara Pleasant, 2006
- "Easy Answers for Great Gardens: 500 Tips, Techniques, and Outlandish Ideas", Marianne Binetti, 2002
- "Trowel and Error: Over 700 Tips, Remedies and Shortcuts for the Gardener", Sharon Lovejoy, 2002