What Kind of Garden Do You Have?

What you do with your garden will be affected by whether it is brand new, established or neglected. Here's how to tell which kind you have, and how you can make it flourish.
From: DK Books - Learn to Garden
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Mature Garden Needs Special Care

Mature Garden Needs Special Care

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

A mature garden will need special care to ensure that trees, shrubs and plants remain healthy and disease free. Regular pruning and maintenance is necessary to keep the space inviting.

New Garden 

  • Your soil: If it is terrible, buy in good quality topsoil from a local source. Reject soil that is dusty, stony, weedy, wet, or “blue” (which is what happens when the air has been squeezed out). Before the soil is unloaded from the truck, check that the pH is close to your own garden’s pH. 
  • Establish your priorities: Once the plan is complete, decide which elements to establish first. It may be more practical to install a patio, a garden shed, and a compost bin before a pond and fountain.

Neglected Garden 

  • Think before you act: Beneath some neglected gardens are treasures waiting to be revealed. 
  • Weeding: On a small scale, you can hand-weed; if the problem is overwhelming, using chemical weedkillers may be the only option. For an organic approach, clear the area with a string trimmer, then cover it with light-excluding tarpaulin or old carpet (this can take a few months to work). 
  • A clean sweep: If progressive renovation is out of the question, perhaps the best option is to think of the garden as “new” and consider the steps above. 

Mature Garden 

  • Assess the style: Reconstructing an established garden can be hard, but putting your own personality on a place is part of the experience of developing and enjoying a garden.
  • Choose what to keep: Some features may be there for a good reason. A mature tree might conceal a distant high-rise or screen your yard from the neighbors’ windows, so consider the existing features with care. 
  • Assess the utilities and hard landscaping: Gardens must be practical as well as beautiful. Take time to make sure you are not removing something you need. Conversely, is the garden missing something you consider essential, like an outdoor faucet or space for a grill?

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