On the backs of our uniform work T-shirts it says, “Making it fun to make things grow.” We choose to put this on our shirts because we really do believe that gardening is fun.
Do you have fun working and relaxing in the garden you have created? I often feel like I have the greatest job because every day I get to help people have fun.
I always recommend keeping your first projects simple. Start out by setting small goals for yourself that are obtainable within a short amount of time, such as in one day or a weekend. Successfully completing a project, no matter how large or small, is always fun. As your garden begins to develop, you will naturally and gradually start to take on larger projects and set higher goals, but try to keep them simple enough to be obtainable within one month’s time. When you are doing the work yourself, projects that start to drag on for more than a month can stop being fun very quickly.
When I am working with clients and we are installing a project, we still break it up into obtainable goals. The majority of our work is in landscape renovations and more personal gardening, so we like to take a project and set goals for that season and additional goals for the seasons to follow.
Soil prep is critical
First is always preparation, before you plant. This is one of the most time-consuming but most important steps. Killing or removing the sod and preparing the soil makes everything else easier, therefore more fun. We always consider preparation our first goal, and when this is successfully completed we can prepare for our next goal, the planting schedule.
Gardeners may tell themselves that preparing an area for planting isn’t fun at all, and want to skip it or rush the process and go straight to planting. Don’t psych yourself out before you even get started. By making preparation time a goal, and understanding that it may take some time, a little muscle, and maybe some sweat, it stays an obtainable goal and will always be more successful.
With a wonderfully prepared area, the planting is always fun. Most everyone loves to dig in the soil. Whenever we do memorial tree plantings, we always have the planting hole prepared and the tree actually sitting in it before the ceremony. Preparing the area is fun for us, because we know the joy that everyone will have finishing the job and watching the tree as it grows for years to come.
Formal or informal?
Many people believe that informal gardens are more fun than formal ones. Not true. I have had more fun walking through some very formal gardens with their intricate hedges and rhythmic plantings, enjoying the detail, the level of craftsmanship, and maintenance that must go into them. The clean lines and simple formal spaces are very fun and enjoyable. I still believe that the most universally enjoyable gardens have a blend of both formal and informal elements, making a truthfully fun garden space for everyone, regardless of personality or personal taste.
Enjoying your garden space sometimes means you must work hard, so always start out telling yourself this is really going to be fun and it will be. Let your garden keep you healthy and happy and work in it every time you get a chance. A gentleman I have been working with on his garden design recently said to me, “I work in my garden an hour or two every night; that way I just enjoy it even more with each new morning.”