To be successful at gardening, you need a plan. You need to know the existing conditions. This plan does not have to be anything fancy, but it does need to show:
- All permanent buildings, structures, and fences.
- Current trees, shrubs and planting beds.
- Hardscapes such as drives, sidewalks or patios.
- Any significant areas of sunlight or shade
- Any unusual wind exposure.
- Topography such as slopes or swales with direction of flow indicated if possible.
- Be sure to indicate which direction is north and give rough distances between permanent structures or trees.
Designing your garden is next. Create planting zones and group plants by their needs. Some plants do well in shade while others need full sun. Some plants need regular watering while others, once established, can tolerate drought conditions.
A good source for garden designs is your local library. Or try searching online for sample gardens such as this illustration. CSU Extension service offers horticulture assistance along with the Colorado Master Gardener volunteers.