With a full time job and 2 kids in the house, I understand that it’s hard to find the time pursue the perfect backyard. It’s frustrating to spend time and money on new plants, only to have them die over the winter or to survive but not flower the next year. It seems like all your hard work was for nothing. Whether it’s time or money we don’t want to waste either so here are the top four essentials to having the yard you want.Garden decoration protection

1. Prepare.

Preparation is the key and the most important of the group. Skip this one and I can guarantee you will be disappointed. The first thing to do is to evaluate your soil.

· Evaluate Your Soil – You can test it by squeezing a handful of soil and then rub it between your fingers. If the soil feels gritty, you have sandy soil. If it sticks together or feels slippery, it’s clay. This will tell you something about how your garden uses water and nutrients. Sandy soil dries out quickly, so your plants roots dry out faster, too. In hard clay, the soil stays wet but it’s difficult for the roots to absorb the water as well as nutrients and oxygen

· Loam – For most plants, loam is ideal. it contains clay, sand and silt, plus organic material such as decayed plant matter which will encourage the growth of microorganisms and bacteria, therefore providing food for your plants.

· Compost – Adding compost is the single best thing you can do for your soil. It adds bulk to sandy soil and helps it hold in moisture, while dense clay, will become lighter and fluffier. Compost provides nutrients for any type of soil. If you can’t make your own compost, it can be purchased by the bag at any garden center. Apply compost by spreading evenly about 2 inches deep. Till or turn the soil to a depth of about 6 inches or so and put in your plants. It’s also important to add about an inch of composted soil to tip each year.

2. Garden Decorative Items

After you’ve planted, adding a personal touch to your garden by adding garden decorative items will make it more enjoyable for you, your family and your guests. Here are some ideas to get your started.

· Put a garden bench in a niche or cranny of your garden for a quiet spot to sit and relax or to read or meditate.

· A fountain is a smart addition to garden. The sound of running water is proven to reduce stress.Garden decoration protection

· Garden statues and/or stakes are common garden decorative items that help brighten your landscape and add to it’s sense of style. Gazing balls, sundials, and decorative planters all bring your design together for a total look.

· Don’t forget your feathered friends. Garden decorative items include bird houses, bird baths, and bird feeders. You will enjoy watching the birds and might even be surprised by the species of birds you attract.

· Keep entertaining in mind. Outdoor living furniture, potted plants, and tabletop fountains make your outdoor environment ideal for you to entertain your guests.

3. Upkeep

Once you’ve got everything planted, there are only 3 things you need to focus on during the growing season; watering, fertilizing, and maintaining the foundation. Here are some tips to guide you.

Watering

Watering by hand is the best system to keeping your plants healthy. Sprinklers just don’t do the best job. Use sprinklers only when you are unable to water by hand.

· It’s best to water in the morning but evening will do if that is the only time that you have to do it. Never water during the heat of the day. The sun will burn the plants.

· Over watering is a common mistake. Only water when the soil is dry to a depth of two inches; more than that is over watering.

· Start watering at one end of your garden and use a nozzle with a gentle flow. Water each plant at its base for about 30 seconds then move on to the next plant.

· When you have watered all the plants, repeat and go around one more time.

· Check the top 6 inches of soil. When it’s wet to 6 inches, you’ve watered enough.

FertilizerGarden decoration protection

Fertilizer is a necessary component to the upkeep of your garden however it can be easy to overdo fertilizing. Nature has its own process of feeding and if you planted with good compost, you probably do not need extra fertilizer. If in doubt, take a sample to your local extension office. For a small fee, the lab will test your soil and tell you what type of nutrients your soil needs.

Keeping it Clean

Maintaining the structure of your garden is also important. Keeping a clean garden makes your hard work more rewarding and regular upkeep keeps it from becoming too overwhelming. Pulling out weeds, keeping your plants in shape by keeping them pruned, and removing spent flowers are all that is really required.. You might want to try using a layer of bark mulch to keeping the weeding to a minimum. Mulch keeps the soil cool and retains moisture making intervals between watering longer.

4. Winterizing

In the fall, rake leaves and put them in your compost pile if you are composting. Protect tender shrubs by covering them with burlap. If you live in an area where the temperatures get to freezing, after the ground freezes, put mulch around your dormant plants. This will keep the soil temperatures even, protecting the roots from frequent freezing and thawing. Another benefit of this is that as the mulch breaks down, it will add nutrients to the soil.

Don’t forget about your garden tools. Cleaning them and then oiling them with WD-40 will make them ready for use next spring after they have been stored all the winter.

That’s all there is to it. Anyone can have a green thumb by following these simple suggestions. You will be pleasantly surprised at the garden you have begun and in just a few short years your garden will flourish into a beautiful landscape. Happy Gardening!

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Article Source: http://princegardening.com