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Gardening Tips for Beginners in Kansas City

Gardening Tips for Beginners from a Professional Landscaper

Garden Design / May 11, 2023

If you’re new to gardening, it can be challenging to know where to begin. You can be an expert at mowing your lawn and great with pruning shears and still need the know-how to keep a garden. That’s why the team here at Lifestyle Outdoor thought it might be helpful to compile some introductory tips for our KC community’s would-be gardeners.

So, whether you’re looking to plant a few flowers or start a vegetable garden, there are several gardening tips for beginners that you can follow to ensure a successful and enjoyable gardening experience.

In this blog post, we’ll review the gardening basics—including soil preparation, planting, and maintenance tips to help you create a thriving garden. So let’s get started!

Gardening Tips for Beginners

No matter your skill level, there are a few basics to remember. So, if you’re starting a new garden or looking to improve your existing one, these essential gardening tips for beginners will help you get on the right track.

Start with the Right Soil

The first of our gardening tips for beginners: study your soil. Using the right soil is essential for the success of your personal garden. The soil provides plants with essential nutrients, water, and oxygen necessary for their growth and development. However, not all soil is created equal, and different plants require specific soil types to thrive.

Before planting your garden, it’s important to test the soil to determine its pH level, nutrient content, and texture. You can purchase a soil testing kit from a gardening store or find one online. This will help you understand what type of soil you have and what amendments may be necessary to improve its quality. 

For instance, if you’re dealing with more naturally acidic soil, you can add sulfur/lime to balance out the pH. As a rule, though, the Kansas City area tends to have more alkaline soil.

Soil Types

The three main types of soil are sandy, clay, and loamy. Sandy soil is composed of large particles and drains quickly, making it ideal for plants that require good drainage. 

Clay soil, on the other hand, is composed of small particles and retains moisture well, making it ideal for plants that require a lot of water. 

Loamy soil is a mix of both sandy and clay soil and is considered the ideal soil type for gardening as it provides good drainage and moisture retention.

Once you’ve determined your soil type, you can add amendments to improve its quality. For example, if you have sandy soil, you can add organic matter such as compost or leaf mold to improve its water-holding capacity. This is also a great addition to clay soil, as it helps with water distribution and soil softening. 

To dispel a common misconception, really quick: you want to avoid adding sand to clay soil. Sand won’t change the soil texture, it will actually worsen drainage and make the soil harder to manage.

It’s important to note that different plants have different soil requirements, so it’s essential to research the soil needs of the plants you intend to grow. For example, acid-loving plants like blueberries require acidic soil, while alkaline-loving plants like lavender require alkaline soil.

Choose the Right Plants

As you likely can already guess, different plants have different requirements when it comes to soil type, light, water, and temperature. Understanding these requirements can help you select plants that are best suited for your garden’s growing conditions!

The first step in choosing plants is to determine your garden’s sunlight and shade conditions. Some plants require full sun, while others thrive in partial or full shade. Make sure to take note of how much sun your garden gets during different times of the day, and choose plants accordingly.

The next step is to consider the soil type in your garden. As mentioned in the previous blurb, different plants require different types of soil. Make sure to choose plants that are well-suited for your soil type, or consider amending your soil to accommodate the plants you want to grow. We can help with that!

Temperature and water requirements are also important factors to consider when choosing plants. Some plants, such as succulents, can thrive in hot, dry conditions, while others, such as ferns, prefer cooler, more humid environments. Make sure to choose plants that are adapted to the climate in your area and water them according to their specific needs.

Water Your Garden The Right Way

Though all of these points are important, this may be the single most important of any of the gardening tips for beginners we discuss here. You’ve got to water correctly. Watering your personal garden can be tricky, as different plants have varying water requirements. 

However, proper watering is essential for the health and growth of your plants. The key is to water deeply and infrequently, ensuring that the water reaches the plant’s root system.

How Often Should I Water My Garden?

To determine when to water your garden, check the soil moisture level regularly. Stick your finger into the soil to a depth of one inch. If it feels dry, it’s time to water your plants. You can also use a moisture meter to measure the soil moisture level accurately.

When it comes to watering, it’s better to water deeply rather than frequently. This helps encourage deep root growth and makes your plants more resilient to drought conditions. Watering deeply also helps prevent soil erosion and leaching of nutrients.

One useful technique is to water your garden early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun is low. This helps minimize water loss due to evaporation and reduces the risk of scorching your plants. 

You can also use a drip irrigation system or a soaker hose to water your garden more efficiently. We offer comprehensive irrigation design and irrigation maintenance for homeowners and HOAs. So if you’re not sure how to approach watering, we’ve got your back.

Pay Attention to When You Plant

Planting is one of the most surprisingly complicated topics when it comes to gardening. Tips for beginners usually reference the seasonality of certain plants but don’t always discuss how to approach planting them & when. 

Well, planting your garden at the right time is crucial to give your plants the best possible chance of thriving and producing a bountiful harvest. Timing is dependent on your climate zone, soil temperature, and the type of plant you want to grow.

Cool-season crops, such as peas, lettuce, and spinach, should be planted as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. These crops can also be planted again in late summer for a fall harvest.

Warm-season crops, such as tomatoes, peppers, and squash, need warm soil and air temperatures to grow properly. It’s best to wait until after your last frost date to plant them.

Bulbs and perennials should be planted in the fall for spring blooms. However, if you missed the fall planting window, you can still plant them in the spring, but it may take an extra year to see blooms.

It’s important to keep track of planting times based on your climate zone and last frost date. A personalized planting calendar can help you stay organized and ensure that you’re planting your garden at the right time.

Don’t Forget About Layout & Spacing!

Planning the layout of your garden is an important step in ensuring its success. To get started, take a close look at the area where you plan to plant your garden. Consider factors such as sunlight exposure, wind patterns, and drainage to determine the best placement for your plants.

It’s also important to think about what you want to achieve with your garden. Are you interested in growing fruits and vegetables, or do you want to create a relaxing outdoor space? This will help you determine what types of plants to grow and how to arrange them.

Using companion planting can also be helpful. This is the practice of planting certain plants together to enhance growth and deter pests. For example, planting marigolds with your vegetables can help keep pests at bay. Interested in learning more about companion planting? Contact us!

Why Turn To A Professional Landscaper?

So, after all that information, you may still be thinking to yourself: what makes Lifestyle Outdoor qualified to give me gardening tips for beginners? Aren’t they landscapers? Those are 2 different skill sets. 

First, good on you for knowing there’s a difference between gardening and landscaping. Secondly, here’s what makes the Lifestyle Outdoor team a great resource for planting a greener garden in Kansas City!

Landscaping vs Gardening

Landscaping and gardening are often used interchangeably, but they are two distinct practices. Gardening refers to the process of growing and cultivating plants, while landscaping involves designing, creating, and maintaining outdoor spaces.

While gardening may involve planting and caring for plants, landscaping is a more comprehensive approach to outdoor design. Landscaping includes elements such as hardscaping, which involves using non-living materials like stones and bricks to create outdoor spaces, and installing irrigation systems, outdoor lighting, and other features.

Lifestyle Outdoor Knows How To Grow

Despite their differences, gardening and landscaping are closely related. A good landscaper has a deep understanding of plants and their growing requirements because that’s what it takes to make sure your property looks its best & stays healthy. That’s why the Lifestyle Outdoor crew can provide expertise in areas such as soil preparation, plant selection, and maintenance practices.

We can help you create a garden that is not only beautiful but also functional and sustainable. Are you well versed in plant selection, taking into account factors such as climate, soil type, and light requirements? Do you have decades of experience implementing the best practices for watering, fertilizing, and pruning your plants to ensure their health and longevity?

If the answer to those hypothetical questions is yes, then what are you doing here in a beginner’s guide blog?! Get out there and get growing! If not (as we suspect is true for most of you), it never hurts to turn to professionals for recommendations, installation, or care support. If nothing else, call us up! We love to talk shop.

By working with the landscapers at Lifestyle Outdoor, you can create a beautiful and functional garden that will thrive for years to come.

Lifestyle Outdoor are Landscaping Experts

Why do we have so many great gardening tips for beginners? Simple. We here at Lifestyle Outdoor know our stuff. As Johnson County’s premier HOA landscaping service, we are prepared to meet any community or household lawn care and maintenance needs. 

Though we specialize in HOAs, our expertise is property agnostic—we’ve serviced everyone from individual homeowners and HOAs to businesses and commercial complexes. In short, if you need a weeding service in Kansas City, we’re the team to do it.

We perform the following services for properties across Johnson County:

  • Lawn maintenance
  • Pruning
  • Aeration and seeding
  • Mulching
  • Seasonal cleanup
  • Turf maintenance
  • Arborcare
  • & More!

Caring For Your Property

A sizable part of that “and more” is support for seasonal landscape maintenance. In Kansas City, we experience lots of season extremes. This makes taking the smaller steps to get all your care done quickly and correctly critical to your property’s health and appearance. 

We work with clients during & before springtime to find possible areas for care and attention. These services include: 

  • Irrigation Maintenance
  • Leaf Removal
  • Pest Pre-Treatments
  • Fertilizer application
  • Repotting Plants for warmer weather

We ensure your HOA receives comprehensive service, with no details forgotten and no boxes left unchecked.

If you want to learn more about annual care for your KC property, check out resources like Johnson County’s Lawn Care Seasonal Guide. We also have our own guides to winter plant care, fall lawn care, & spring lawn care in Kansas City. You could say we’re pretty invested in the health of KC lawns. It’s kind of what we do.

Lifestyle Outdoor Can Help

Want more than just gardening tips for beginners? Well, Lifestyle Outdoor offers complete landscaping maintenance services for your property’s needs year-round! We have decades of experience serving HOAs and private properties and a track record of complete client satisfaction.

Lifestyle Outdoor provides all Johnson County HOAs with unbeatable service through our HOA-focused landscaping and lawn care solutions. Our years of experience, commitment to building relationships, and dependable quality are why we’re the number one partner in all things HOA property maintenance.

Reach out to learn more about plant care or to get a quote with our online quote tool. Discover the difference that THE white-glove service with a green thumb can make for your property today!