11 Must-Try Gardening Tips for Newbs

Jealous of your neighbor's lush garden? We'll get you that green thumb in no time.

While I wholeheartedly believe that we can learn almost any skill if we put our minds to it, for me, this hasn’t worked so well with gardening. I’ve tried a variety of projects, and yet my gardening thumbs are still black. However, even after a string of gardening disappointments, I’m still not ready to completely give up.

With spring in full swing, I want to share some tips for those of you who, like me, need some help in the gardening department. There are still some easy ways to get garden-y that doesn't feel quite so overwhelming.

Try an Herb Garden

Woolly Pocket Living Wall Planter

Woolly Pocket Living Wall Planter

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Woolly Pocket

Photo courtesy of Woolly Pocket

An herb garden is a great beginner project, even if you live in an apartment and don’t have any outdoor space. If you happen to have a windowsill in your kitchen or some available counter space that gets some natural light, you have the makings of an herb garden.

These have become so popular, you can often find the most common herb plants in your local gourmet supermarket. Choose herbs that you and your family will enjoy in the recipes and types of foods you like to eat. Even if you’re someone who doesn’t cook a lot, a simple basil plant could be great to use in dishes like scrambled eggs or pasta.

Drop the herb plants into pretty pots, line them up on your counter, read the care directions for each and set a recurring reminder on your phone each week so you don’t forget.

Try Out a Terrarium

Terrarium With Ammonite Fossil

Terrarium With Ammonite Fossil

Photo by: DoodleBirdie

DoodleBirdie

Another great beginner gardening project is to create a simple terrarium in a large glass bowl or container. You can choose to keep your terrarium either inside or out (depending on where you live), and fill it up with easy to care for plants.

If you’re still feeling a bit uneasy about including too many plants, focus on adding other natural elements to your terrarium such as shells, rocks and pebbles.

Make sure to snap a photo on your phone of the care instructions for any plants that you include, and think of your terrarium as your gardening training wheels. Once you master caring for it, you’ll be ready to take on more projects.

Create a Container Garden

Winter Plants

Winter Plants

Somehow, keeping plants in pots feels way less overwhelming to me. Container gardens allow you to easily move your plants and flowers around to create the best-looking outdoor space you possibly can. For ease, I always choose pots that are a bit bigger than the original so I can easily drop plants in while keeping them in their original containers.

I haven’t been great at keeping up with watering, so I’ve started grouping my containers together according to how much water they need. If you happen to have a few plants that require watering more than once a week, line them up or group them together.

20 Stunning Low-Budget Container Gardens

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A Hanging Garden

At the Beach

Basket Cases

Beyond the Pails

Case by Case

Color Your World

Dad's Garden

For the Birds

Hats Off

Have a Seat

Kitchen Capers

Going Fishing

Office Space

On the Farm

Picnic Planters

Thrifting With Shoes

Time for Tea

Portable Gardens

Wetting Your Plants

Yes, You Can

Embrace Air Plants

Tillandsia Air Plants on a Wall

Tillandsia Air Plants on a Wall

Photo by: Terrain

Terrain

If the phrase “get your hands dirty” puts you on high alert, you might be a good candidate for air plants. Air plants magically don’t even require soil! They also don’t require typical watering (though you will need to mist them).

Because they're so flexible, you can get creative with the containers you use for them, and go crazy when incorporating them into your decor. I especially love to use them in bathrooms or bookshelves when styling “shelfies.”

Get More: Air Plant Decor

Succulents Are Your Friend

Accent Pillows and Coffee Table

Accent Pillows and Coffee Table

Photo by: Rebecca Zajac

Rebecca Zajac

Succulents and cacti are another group of plants that are perfect if you’re not exactly a ninja gardener.

Succulents are able to store water in their leaves, so they don’t need to be watered nearly as often as other plants. I’m lucky enough to live in Southern California, and even though it doesn’t rain here often, it rains enough that I still don’t need to water any of my succulents.

Low-Water Succulents Are Earth-Smart

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Miniature Garden

Echeverias and Other Succulents in Mixed Pots

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Special Collection of Plants Displayed in Grouping

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

A Modern Succulent Bowl

Succulents Fill Small Metal Planters

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Succulent Containers

Alpines and Succulents Paired Together in Pot

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Wild Wild West in a Cactus Dish Garden

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Conical Container Complements Trailing Plants

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Repurposed Strawberry Pot

Black and Green

Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana Goes Vertical

Succulent Arrangement

Sedum Tower

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Ford

Start Small

Colorful Modern House with Rooftop Patio

Colorful Modern House with Rooftop Patio

Photo by: Tom Bonner

Tom Bonner

If you’re interested in testing out the waters in the world of gardening, there's no need to purchase 30 plants of differing varieties. Start off slow with two or three, and as you start to feel a bit more comfortable, you can add to your plant and flower family from there. This will also help you figure out which types of plants you enjoy caring for the most (or not!).

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Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin C

Green Up a Privacy Wall

Pot Patio Roses

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Grow Strawberries in a Windowbox

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Group Pots Together

Photo By: DK - Grow Plants in Pots © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Put Railings to Work

Get the Kids Involved

Photo By: DK - Ready, Set, Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Be Selective When Picking Shrubs

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Sunny, Warm Spot? Plant Chiles

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Opt for Low-Care Succulents

Add Columns of Color With Flowering Vines

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Make a Mobile Garden

Grow Tomatoes From Seed

Build a Windowbox for Herbs

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Get Creative With Containers

Garden Vertically

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Fruits and Vegetables in Pots © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Choose the Right Potting Soil

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Pick the Right Shrub for Shade

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Fresh Salad At Your Fingertips

Photo By: DK - Ready Set Grow! © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Grow Your Own Blackberries

Tags: 
  1. blackberry

7 Tips for Prepping Containers Before Planting

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Green Up Outdoor Rooms

Apples in the City

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Winter-Worthy Plants

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Hanging Herb and Veggie Basket

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Save Space With Raised Beds

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Plant a Mini Orchard of Peaches

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Pot a Variety

Green Dining

Pot a Pair of Blueberries

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Use a Water Monitor

Wireless Plant Water Monitor

Wireless Plant Water Monitor

Photo by: Eric Perry ©2014, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Eric Perry, 2014, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

If you know that you can't be trusted to water your plants, then embrace technology and use a water monitor.

A company called Parrot created a product and coordinating smartphone app called Flower Power which tracks the moisture, sunlight and fertilizer level of your plants. It will then send an alert to your smartphone when you need to take care of it. This is as close to “set it and forget it” as you can get with gardening. http://www.parrot.com/usa/products/flower-power/

Do Your Research

‘Desert Rose’ Paddle Plant

‘Desert Rose’ Paddle Plant

Photo by: Photo by Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

Photo by Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

There's endless information available online on every subject and gardening is no exception. Before you embark on your gardening adventures, make sure to spend some time doing a bit of research and figure out what types of flowers or plants do best in your climate or part of the country. You want to make sure you'll be making things as easy as possible for yourself.

Use Plant Caddies

Garden On The Move

Garden On The Move

Photo by: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo by Sam Henderson

I have a love for large plants and giant pots; however, they're insanely hard to move around. If you too are a giant plant lover, make sure you think through how you might move these giants if you ever need to. Plant caddies are the ticket. You can put your larger plants on top of one and have the flexibility to move it wherever you need to.

Our Product Pick: Plant Caddy, Target

Set Up Gardening Appointments

Original_Carley-Knobloch-SSS-gardening-apps-perennial-match_h

Original_Carley-Knobloch-SSS-gardening-apps-perennial-match_h

Another good trick for staying on top of your plant care is to add recurring appointments in your calendar (or reminders on your phone). Figure out how often your plants/garden will require your care, create individual appointments and set them to repeat each week (or several times a week).

This will go a long way in ensuring you don’t neglect your new green friends, as well as help you to create a routine around your gardening practice.

Combine Gardening With Design

Colorful Hexagonal Planters With Climbing Plants

Colorful Hexagonal Planters With Climbing Plants

From

Sarah Taylor

Photo by: Sarah Taylor

Sarah Taylor

Another thing that’s helped me overcome my fear of gardening is the idea that you can truly incorporate plant life into the design of your home. Again, this is another mind shift that helped to make gardening feel a bit less overwhelming. Take some time to choose pretty pots and plant stands, choose plants of varying heights and look at your plant and flower selection as if it were a design project in your home.

Learn the Basics 8 Videos

Combine plants and meet top perennial picks. You'll become a pro in no time!

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