Get the Bulbs Rolling: A Complete Beginner’s Guide on How to Start a Flower Garden

Do you want to start a flower garden but don't know where to begin? We explain exactly how to get the bulbs rolling in this beginner's guide.

As the days get longer and the grass starts to green, you begin to realize how much you need a pop of color in your yard. You want flowers.

You could go to the local florist and just grab a bouquet for the dining room table, but having flowers does not bring the same satisfaction as growing flowers. Little brings a satisfaction like successfully growing your own flower garden. Some experts even claim gardening can boost your mood as much as exercise. 

Keep reading for a step-by-step guide on how to start a flower garden. 


Start with some basic research of your area. You need to understand dirt, plants, and your climate before you begin filling your greenhouse shopping cart with plants. 

Your Dirt

Not all dirt is the same. You may have sandy soil or a clay base. You may even have dirt with a fungus in it that will prevent healthy plants from growing. 

If you have an area in your yard where nothing will grow, not even grass, beware. This may not be the perfect place for a flower garden. After all, if even weeds won’t grow there, how can you get flowers to grow there? 

So begin by doing a soil test. Dig a hole one foot deep in the areas where you want your garden. Then repeat this step in different areas of the garden until you’ve filled a quart jar. 

Send the soil to your local extension agent for testing. The results will tell you if you need to add anything to the soil before you begin to plant your garden. 

Your Plants

If you know nothing about flowers, then make yourself a student of them when you prepare to plant a flower garden. Look for nearby nature preserves that have a similar look to your landscape. Take note of what plants work well in that area. 

If you’re still not sure, look for a list of the most difficult flowers to kill. Sunflowers top the list, naturally, since some areas of the country consider them weeds. You want to curb your odds for success, so pick the hardiest flowers you can find from the start. 

Your Climate 

Not all plants grow in all areas. Maybe you saw some beautiful flowers in Georgia while on vacation. This does not mean you can plan on raising the same flowers in northern Michigan. 

Learn about the frost cycle where you live. You want your newly planted garden to survive the basic seasons, so research the days of the first and last frost. 

Once you know the last frost date, start your flower seeds indoors four to six weeks before the date. This will give your plants the necessary time to grow and the best opportunity to survive. 

You do not need a greenhouse to start your seeds. Purchase a covered seed tray and some indoor growing lights, and plant your seeds. 

Balance Reality With Fantasy

Now that you’ve done your research and know what will work best where you live, you can begin to dream more realistically. The success of your garden lies in accepting reality while working with what you have to make your dreams come true. Begin with your landscape. 

Use Your Landscape

Examine your garden area carefully, and draw it out with graph paper and colored pencils. This will allow you the best opportunity to see what you’ve visualized and planned for it to successfully come to life. 

Consider the location of the sun in relation to your garden plot. Will it be in the shade most of the time? Does it have full sun all day? 

Then plan your plants according to how much sunlight they will receive. 

Control the Controllable

While you cannot control the location of the sun, you do have some control over the color palette of your garden. 

Begin by picking a color palette that will unify your landscape. Pick a color that you want to dominate, and then use variations of that color in your garden. 

Then select colors that will compliment your dominant color. Think of colors on the opposite side of the color wheel that will make your dominant color pop out more. 

For example, colors like orange, red, and yellow stand out the most in full sunlight. But these colors need blues to really pop out of the landscape. 

Consider how you can create some peaceful areas as well. You don’t need all of the colors to scream at you. Do you have an area of your yard where you can create a garden with softer hues instead of just the intense colors? 

Soft pinks, lavenders, and whites will help create a more peaceful landscape than the hot reds, oranges, and yellows. 

Plant Choices

Once you’ve chosen your color palette. move unto determining your plants and their placement. Select your plants based on their color as well as their height and spacing. 

Shrubs and taller plants go in the back of the garden and place your smaller plants upfront. This will allow you to showcase all of your plants without anyone plant overshadowing the others. 

Ornamental grasses and shrubs can anchor the bed and create the necessary evergreen interest in the cooler seasons when flowers won’t bloom. So consider these plants as borders for your flowers.  

Gardening for beginners might seem a little overwhelming, even with flower garden basics like the tips already mentioned. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, call in an expert to help you plan. The garden pros at places like can help you make wise decisions for your space. 

Start a Flower Garden Today

As the sun begins to warm the soil and the chill of winter fades, the urge to start a flower garden will set in even more. Begin this journey today. A flower garden will give you a healthy habit and boost your mood. 

Plus, it makes your yard look fabulous. 

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