Gardening for beginners - 10 tips (2024)


Gardening is fun and rewarding. What could be nicer than eating food you have grown yourself or eating an evening meal on the patio surrounded by the fragrance of scented plants you have grown? It can be hard to know when and how to start a garden, but we're here to guide you through the process.

Browse our 10 beginner gardening tips, below.

Get to know your garden

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Before you start, it's a good idea to get to know your garden. Check the aspect – is it south-facing or north-facing? Knowing where the sun hits the ground will help you decide what to grow where. It's also worth knowing what soil type you have. Take a look at what's growing – camellias, magnolias and pieris will tell you the soil is acidic, while absence of these suggests a more alkaline soil. Doing a soil test will further help you know your soil, and therefore what plants you can grow.

More gardening tips on getting to know your garden:

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  • Soil pH level explained
  • Testing soil pH

Plan your garden

Sitting down and planning your garden is a great starting point. This way you can work out what to grow where, rather than getting carried away at the garden centre and ending up with a jumble of plants that don't look good together and might not suit your growing conditions. Planning will also enable you to use colour and structure wisely, which will help you create a garden that looks great throughout the year.

More gardening tips on planning your garden:

  • How to design a garden
  • Gardening for beginners: planting styles
  • Gardening for beginners: combining plants
  • How to start a new garden
  • How to start a cut flower patch

Learn how to plant

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Planting your plants properly will ensure they grow well and live for a long time. Make sure you take time to weed and prepare the soil before planting, and add mulch or fertiliser where necessary. If you're unsure how to plant something, look online for instructions rather than just hoping for the best. Trees planted too deeply will never thrive, and root-balls that sit proud of the soil surface will dry out quickly, leading to the eventual death of the plant.

More gardening tips on planting:

  • How to sow seeds indoors
  • Nine tips for seed sowing success
  • Gardening for beginners: how to plant
  • Gardening for beginners: container gardening

Feed and water plants regularly

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Knowing when and how to water plants is the difference between them living and dying. As a general rule, water the root ball rather than the leaves, as it's the roots that absorb the water. Soaking the rootball every week is better than watering a little bit every day. Feeding is also important - generally you should be looking at feeding every fortnight during growing season (that's spring and summer), although you will need to feed more if growing in containers.

More on watering and feeding your plants:

  • Watering plants effectively
  • Garden guide to summer watering
  • Feeding and watering plants in pots
  • Feeding plants
  • Making comfrey liquid fertiliser

Start small

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When starting a new veg patch or allotment, it can be tempting to take it all on in one go. It's much better to do a little bit at a time. You can easily cover areas you don't want to cultivate with cardboard or black plastic, to stop weeds growing, while you work on a different area.

More gardening tips on creating a veg patch:

  • Starting a new vegetable patch
  • How to start an allotment
  • How to grow vegetables – beginner veg to grow

Keep an eye on pests

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Most garden pests don't do much harm to plants and can be left alone - there are plenty of natural predators that will keep them in check. However, sometimes pest populations can become an infestation, and you need to act. Keeping an eye out for increasing numbers of pests like aphids, slugs and snails, will help keep your plants safe, and save you a lot of heartache.

More gardening tips on dealing with pests:

  • How to control slugs organically
  • How to deal with aphids
  • Organic pest control

Make use of compost

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Composting kitchen and garden waste is good for the environment, wildlife, your purse and also your garden. Let the waste break down for a year and then use it as a mulch around the base of plants in your garden and veg patch.

More gardening tips on composting:

  • Which type of compost bin is best?
  • How to turn your compost
  • How to mulch beds and borders

Don't be afraid to prune

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Pruning plants can seem like a daunting job, but if you learn how to do the job properly, you'll be rewarded with plants that look good, grow well, and they're likely to flower and fruit better, too. The key to successful pruning is to know when to prune, and follow guidance on how to make the cuts and shape the plant. We've got plenty of pruning step-by-step guides and videos to look though – here are some for starters:

  • How to winter-prune clematis
  • Tips for pruning holly
  • When to prune roses
  • Year-round garden pruning guide
  • Five plant types to prune in autumn

Be kind to wildlife

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Many of those new to gardening see wildlife as the enemy - insects and their larvae defoliate plants, birds eat our fruit and mice nibble our pea and bean seeds. But wildlife can be useful in the garden, too. Birds eat a varity of garden pests, including slugs and snails, aphids and caterpillars. Bees pollinate our food crops. A garden wouldn't be half as enjoyable without its wildlife - from frogs and toads, to hedgehogs, bees, butterflies and birds. Creating habitats for them and learning to share your garden with them, is the key to enjoying your space.

More gardening tips on wildlife gardening:

  • Top 10 plants for birds
  • 10 ways to help hedgehogs
  • The best flowers for bumblebees

Enjoy your garden

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Don't forget to enjoy your garden. Make sure you take time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Create a seating area where you can sit and read or eat with friends and family. Plant borders you can enjoy from a window, and hang bird feeders so you can watch their antics.

More gardening tips on enjoying the garden:


  • Nine ideas for garden seating
  • What to feed the birds all year round
  • Fast-growing plants for screens
Gardening for beginners - 10 tips (2024)


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