To create a garden with beauty and balance, begin with planning, not digging.

Key Planning Tips

Start Small. If you decide to plant up some new areas this year, start small so that you can test for success and appearance. You can always make it bigger next year.

Consider water access. If you are planting an area far from a water source, figure out how you are going to get water there. If a long hose isn’t practical, you may have to carry water there, or plan on carrying the plants (assuming they are in containers) to the water source.

Try something new each year. If something in a seed catalogue or in the garden centre captures your imagination – try it. Starting on a small scale and a new spot, you can test the plant without a lot of expense or disappointment if it doesn’t please or doesn’t succeed.

Go for variety. Even within the confines of a colour family you can achieve a pleasing mixture of different flower forms, heights and textures. While large displays of a single flower can be awesome, too much of a good thing can be boring.

Keep a “cookbook.” In a notebook, write down which classes and varieties you planted where. Often you can just tape a plant label to a page and write “front door,” or “patio tubs” next to it. At the end of the season you can write down how it performed and whether you want to plant those again, try them somewhere else, or try something new.