Where should I begin?

May 1, 2011

Today I want to talk about where to begin, because if you're anything like me, this whole thing can seem a bit daunting.

So here's my advice:

Start simple.

Any project can be broken down into small pieces which are easy to manage.

Let's start from where you are. Have you thought about what you want your yard to look like once it's done, and drawn out a plan (at least in your mind)?

If not, that's where you should start. Take a look at my garden layouts page for some basic advice.

Do you already have a plan? Great! Next you need to decide whether you're going to do it yourself, do some of it yourself, or hire it all out.

If you're going to hire a landscaping company, your next step is to contact some companies and begin getting estimates.

If you plan to do some or all of the transformation yourself, some basic decisions need to be made.

There are several ways people think about this -- some like to put edible plants in among their ordinary landscaping. Others want to redo their original landscaping to make it as much edible as possible. Still others want an entirely different landscape, using edible plants.

Any of these approaches is fine -- what matters is that you are creating the home landscape YOU want.

The big question is: are you going to remove any plants that are already there?

In the case of large shrubs or trees, you may want to do this first, especially if you plan to put in ground cover around the area where the shrub or tree is, because this will be damaged if you remove the tree or shrub later.

Of course, if you're just swapping out a non-edible plant for an edible one, the decision is easy. I've put my non-edible shrubs up on Freecycle and gotten people to dig them out for me! (people who love plants and gardening are wonderful folks, and it's been fun to meet them)

Once you've gotten that out of the way, then the fun begins -- you get to start planting!

Here's some questions to ask yourself:

  • What edible plants will grow in my area?

  • What edible plants will my family eat?

  • What edible plants do I love the look of?

  • What areas of my garden would be the best match for these plants? (don't forget walls, fences and trellises to provide some vertical interest)

Start putting those ideas into your plan, and you're off and running!

Take a look at my "how to plan your perennial garden design" page for more guidance and ideas.

Or you can get my workbook "How to make your own garden landscape design plans" for step by step help and advice.

If you'd like me to personally help you design your edible garden, consider an edible garden consultation, my garden coaching services, or my Tasteful Yard Design course.

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