Planning your Garden

Planning your garden takes a lot of time and consideration.  Using the time in early Spring to pull out the gardening books, or for those who like to go online, visiting Pinterest, is a great way to collect ideas and become inspired for the upcoming planting season.   With a chilly Spring here in Niagara, it has kept us all indoors and frustrated.  For our gardeners, our advice is that you use this time wisely for planning your to-do and to-buy lists so you are ready for the May 24th weekend of planting (not before). 

Tips to consider when planning your garden

Save Time

Replace the Grass

If you are looking to spend less time maintaining your garden, and more time enjoying your garden, consider replacing your grass with a low-maintenance garden, ground cover, shrubs or trees. Cutting down [pun intended] on the amount of grass that needs to be mowed saves time, and it also helps lower your carbon footprint.  Research shows that uUsing a gas-powered lawn mower for an hour is the same as a 100-mile car ride.

Use Native Plants

Native plants are plants indigenous to a given area in geologic time, including plants that have developed, occur naturally, or existed for many years in an area (trees, flowers, grasses, and other plants).  A native garden does not grow overnight, but it will grow with little maintenance and for many years to come.  In the southern part of Niagara, there is a lot of clay. Vervain, rye, aster, and bergamot grow well in clay conditions. [1] .  In Port Dalhousie, and along the Niagara Peninsula shores of Lake Ontario, the soil is quite sandy.  Milkweed, Lavender, Lily of the Valley, Echinacea (Cone Flower), Moss Phlox, Lambs Ear, as well as various Grasses and Evergreens do well in sandy conditions.  [2]

Attract Bees, Butterflies, and Birds

Creating a beautiful garden stimulates all the senses. With a variety of colours and aromas of the flowers, sounds of wildlife, and wonderful taste of berries and vegetable there is such joy in gardening.  To know that you are also offering a sanctuary for bees, butterflies, and birds make it even that much more satisfying.  Read more about how to create a bee friendly and garden, how to attract song birds to your garden, and how to know what plants butterflies like.

Know your Space

Get out the graph paper and start drawing! Remember, your drawing doesn’t have to be perfect. Putting the design down on paper will help you visualize the garden.  Reference backyard photos to jog your memory if needed.  On your drawing make notes about the perennials, shrubs and trees you have, what type of soil there is, and how much light and moisture each area receives. It will help you with planning your annuals, as well as any new garden construction projects such as a raised garden perhaps, or a new arbor.  It will also help you when making your ‘to-do’ list and your ‘to-buy’ list, so you will be all ready for your visit to Seaway Farms in a few weeks. If you don’t want to draw your garden, try one of these online garden design tools.

What type of garden do you want?  Knowing how you want to use your garden will help with planning.  Do you have pets?  Are the grandchildren going to be over and want to play ball in the backyard?  Do you have a noisy road that you want to muffle the sound and offer some privacy?

We hope this gives you some ideas for planning your garden.  Make sure to give our team of garden experts a call if you have any questions, or want some creative ideas for growing your garden.


[1] These Native Plants Love Clay 

[2] Perennials for Sandy Soils a Toronto Master Gardeners Guide