Experts Share How to Create the Perfect Home Garden in Your Backyard

March 30, 2021

With spring officially here and sunny, warm weather ahead, you may be itching to get outside and start gardening in your backyard. From pitching a greenhouse to setting up planter boxes, there are many ways to create a thriving garden.

To help you get started, we reached out to farmers from Encinitas, CA to Williston, VT to share their expert tips on how to create the perfect garden setup. Take a look at what they had to say so you can start growing your own flowers,  fruits, vegetables, or herbs today.



Draw a plan before you start a home garden

Draw out a plan as complete as possible and stick to it even if you can’t install everything at once. If you start buying plants on a whim and installing them willy-nilly, there will be no cohesion. If you choose affordable sections of the plan to install as you can afford them and stick to the design, then you’re going to have a quality landscape in the end – not a bunch of disjointed design elements that don’t flow in form or function. – Turner Family Farms

Use hardware cloth


Frisky squirrels are adorable but less charming when they tunnel into my vegetable garden. Using hardware cloth everywhere is worth the trouble and additional expense (don’t be fooled by chicken wire’s cheap promises – lettuce-eating birds go right through it). We lined the bottoms of our raised beds with hardware cloth, leaving a tiny hole to run irrigation. We topped the beds with hardware cloth cages, removable hardware cloth lids, and hinged sides for easy access for farmers only. Squirrels, stay in your lane. – Farmer Elizabeth, Sugar Sweet Farm

Be aware of your natural environment


Focus on native plants – both for hosts and nectar. Restoring native plant habitat is important for the preservation of the environment. – Isham Family Farm

Know when the best time to prune plants is


The best time to prune Azaleas and other spring-flowering plants are right after they bloom. You may cut them back at least halfway down if needed, which will simultaneously also remove the old blooms. In addition, be sure to fertilize at this time. – Mitchell’s Nursery 

Be intentional about where you set up your greenhouse 


When it comes to buying a greenhouse, think beyond just sowing seeds and overwintering. By setting up the space to surround yourself with nature, be it with friends or just a good book, you’ll maximize your opportunity to grow and can potentially add value to your home. – Alitex



Don’t crowd your crops

If you are going to grow a competition-level giant pumpkin, it could take up to 1200 square feet.  More typically, for a big jack-o-lantern variety like Large Marge, you will need approximately 72 square feet, compared to only 12 square feet for a miniature variety like Jack-B-Little. With proper planning, you’ll have a fall porch to envy without overtaking your whole yard. – Lowe Family Farmstead

Save water with a rain barrel


Water costs can increase significantly in the summer months especially with a garden, however, don’t let that stop you. One way we have saved on not only cost, but time as well, has been by collecting water in a rain barrel. Something simple like a rain barrel is amazing for its functionality and you can incorporate it to be a unique and fun design feature too. – Strandquist Family Farm

Use a vegetable planner 


Using a vegetable garden planner to layout and plan your garden will help you bring in a plentiful harvest. It will help you decide how many seeds to plant, what seeds to start indoors and when, when to transplant outside, what seeds to sow directly in the ground, and it will even help you estimate when you’ll harvest your first crop. Planning out your garden with all of this information ahead of time will help you make the most of your seed, time and effort, giving you the best chance of success in the upcoming growing season. – Liberty Mission Farms

Consider a mini pastured poultry-set up


Hey backyard farmers, when considering poultry for your garden. Think about getting some movement into your plan. Instead of purchasing store-bought fertilizer for your grass use a mobile coop that can be moved around every few days. Your mini pastured poultry set-up will save you money and grow healthier meat and eggs.  –  Deck Family Farm

Plant fresh herbs on your windowsill


Fresh herbs on your counter can transform your kitchen and your cooking. If you have a sunny window, small pots of basil and rosemary will thrive. But if your kitchen is on the dark side, stick with less fussy herbs such as parsley, mint, and chives—unless you provide supplemental light. You’ll never be more than a few steps away from the aroma of fresh, delicious herbs. – Michigan Farm to Family 



Use olla pots

Save water, time, and money by using ollas (pronounced oh-yahs) in the garden to efficiently water plants during hot summers. Ollas are buried in the ground to prevent water evaporation while keeping plants consistently moist without over-watering.  Go away for a week-long vacation with peace of mind. – Pioneer Farms

Keep your tools close


Add mirrors, water features, and even a small dish of water will draw butterflies. Keep scissors and pruners on a string by the door, a camera to capture the gifts of mother nature, a simple chair, or a smooth rock for seating. A small spade, the ever necessary sun hat, and a hula hoe are the tools of any first-class garden. – Boldheart Farms

Make a greenhouse an extension of your home


Make your greenhouse an oasis, a place to go to even on the coldest of winter days to experience the beauty of nature. Place a comfy chair in there and even a small table. You’ll enjoy having the greenhouse as an extension of your home – Annette from Azure Farm 

Stay a weekend at a farm


Did you know there are small working farms here in the U.S. that host guests overnight and are happy to teach you what they know about growing produce and flowers, or even raising chickens? There are many small farms across the United States that might be just the ticket for those looking to learn about raised-bed gardens. So if you’re looking for tips, why not spend a weekend (or a week) living the farm life? – Farm Stay US

Tim Schroeder

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