Spring has sprung! That means it’s time to start thinking about planning your summer garden. Living in Canada means that summer is the garden’s time to shine so it’s important to make it count. Besides the beauty you get from your garden, gardening itself is a great way to help with your overall well-being. Studies have shown that gardening helps with anxiety, boosts your vitamin D and can even contribute to the delay of dementia symptoms. 

Whether you’re a first-time gardener or a seasoned grower, we’ve got some great tips for planning your garden this summer.

Here Comes the Sun
The first step to making your garden a success is - find that sun! Pay attention to where it tends to shine the most and least during the day in your yard or balcony. Make a garden journal and take a day or two to record where exactly the sun shines on your space throughout the day. Different plants need different amounts of sun to survive so you’re going to need to know what areas are super sunny and which are cool and shaded. Peonies, Russian Sage and tomatoes need a ton of sunlight, whereas lettuce, kale and lobelia tend to do better with some shade.

Planning a Garden Layout
You’ve probably already started visualizing what your perfect summer garden will look like. One of the best ways to make sure you can turn that dream into a reality is with a garden layout map. There are a bunch of free virtual garden planning tools you can use or if you prefer a pen and paper, sketch it out!

Give Your Garden Some Space
Summer gardening is exciting. Stepping into the garden centre is a stimulating experience. Depending on where you go, there are hundreds of incredible flowers and plants to choose from. It can be tempting to leave with every plant in the place but try to resist. Overcrowding your garden can make it hard for plants and flowers to develop – sunlight is blocked and nutrients are depleted. Make sure you save some space!

Make it Colourful and Interesting
One of the main reasons we grow a garden is to enjoy looking at it, so practice proper garden planning to make sure yours is a visual delight!

Colour: You have a wide range of colours to choose from when planning your garden but try not to make it too chaotic. Choose a colour scheme that looks like the different shades are working in harmony rather than looking too busy.

Texture: This is a great way to add contrast between your plants, flowers and vegetables. Try to think of how your plants look in three categories of texture – coarse, medium and fine.

Form: This is all about shape. Each plant has a shape all its own. Circles tend to be soft, while triangles and squares are strong so keep that in mind when planning it out.

It’s All About Your Soil
Just like a good house needs a solid foundation, a flourishing garden needs great soil! The first thing to do is check the quality of your soil by digging a hole about 6 inches deep and taking out a section of it. When you break the soil apart with your fingers, it should have some different-sized lumps that hold their shape under pressure. If it’s too powdery or hard then you’ve got a problem. Also, look for earthworms or other little organisms like beetles or centipedes – this means there’s lots of life that will help your plants grow.

Grow What You Like
This garden is for you to enjoy! You’re going to be putting in the hard work so you should be growing the vegetables and fruit that you like to eat and the flowers and plants you like to look at. Of course, the space you’re working with will dictate a lot of what you can grow. But once you’ve figured that out, make sure you’re picking things you like. Your garden will become something you look forward to working on rather than an annoying chore.

Make it a Bee-Friendly Garden
Bees are a gardener’s best friend. Plants depend on them for pollination and so many of the foods we eat depend on bees for growth. But bees do so much more. By pollinating, bees create healthy habitats for insects, birds and animals. To create a bee-friendly environment, start with your soil. Good soil is not only great for your plants but also provides a proper nesting area for our bee friends. Keep in mind that not all bees like the same flowers so make sure you have a wide variety of flowers for bees to choose from.

Do Some Experimenting
Creating your garden should be a fun experience. Whether it’s a few plants on the balcony of your apartment or a big garden space in your backyard, try and experiment a little. Check out some vegetables that you’ve never heard of or plants you’ve never seen. It‘ll be fun to watch everything grow and to experience some new tastes, sights and scents!

We’ve all been spending a lot of time at home over the past year, so it’s important to make sure we make our spaces somewhere we enjoy. Having a garden adds beauty to our homes and can also be a great way to spend time on your own, with a friend or family. We hope these tips help you in your gardening journey so you can create a great garden this summer.