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A Beginners Guide to Flower Gardening: How to Get Started

Do you dream of having a flower garden of your own but feel overwhelmed by the thought of starting one? This guide to flower gardening for beginners will show you everything you need to start a garden and how to maintain it to get the best results.

If you’re a beginner gardener and not sure how to begin the process of starting a garden, you’re not alone. I was in your shoes when we first bought our house almost 12 years ago. I started slowly, took baby steps, and am still learning new things about gardening daily!

I’m sharing some simple beginning flower gardening tips in this guide. From choosing the right location and preparing the soil to selecting the right plants to grow and how to maintain them, I’ve got you covered.

As a new gardener, this beginner’s flower garden guide will help you gain the confidence to grow healthy plants while enjoying the entire process. And yes…garden therapy is a thing!

Beginners flower garden: black-eyed Susans, daisies, and coneflowers in front of greenhouse

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I’m a self-taught hobby gardener, not a Master Gardener. Everything I share with you on my blog is my personal opinion and things that have worked for me.

cut flower garden

One of the most important things for beginner gardeners is determining the best outdoor space for a first-time flower garden. Here are some factors to consider when looking for the perfect garden space.

  • Most plants need full sun to grow, so choose an area with six or more hours of sunlight daily. Observe your yard throughout the day to determine which space receives full sun vs. partial or full shade.
  • Choose a location with well-draining soil and avoid planting in low-lying areas that flood during heavy rains.
  • Ensure the space you pick has access to a water source or easy access to a water hose.
  • Pick a relatively flat spot for your garden if possible.
  • Start with a small garden to ensure your space can accommodate the size of the plan you are creating. You can always expand gradually as you become a more experienced gardener.

Once you have found the perfect spot for your garden, it’s time to prepare the soil for planting.

mulch in raised bed

Good garden soil is essential for the health of your plants. Soil preparation will make all the difference in the world when planting a flower garden.

Preparing your soil might seem like a daunting task, but it’s an essential step in starting a successful garden. By preparing your soil from the start, you’re setting your plants up for success and creating the perfect environment where they will thrive.

1 – Remove any weeds, rocks, debris, and sod from your new garden area.

2 – Loosen up the soil by aerating and breaking up any large clumps, and turn over the soil using a garden fork or a tiller for larger spaces. This process helps give your plants better root growth by allowing water and oxygen to penetrate deeper into the soil.

3 – Perform a soil test to check the nutrient and pH levels before planting anything in your new garden space. This will give you a better understanding of how your soil will perform and what amendments are needed to be added to the ground.

There are soil test options available. You can learn more about how to test your soil HERE.


You can also hire a local garden resource center to test your soil conditions or go through your county cooperative extension office.

4 – For healthy soil, add amendments or organic matter to your garden soil, such as compost or leaf litter. This will improve the soil quality and help retain moisture.

5 – Level out the surface for planting with a rake or hoe.

Now you’re ready to start choosing the different plants to grow in your new garden.

Beginners flower garden: sweet peas in front of the greenhouse

When selecting the best flowers for beginning gardeners, be sure to choose ones that will thrive in your specific environment.

  • How much sunlight your garden beds receive daily will determine which plants will do well.
  • Choose the right plant that will do well in existing soil conditions.
  • It’s always a good idea to check with your local nursery or search online for local planting guides to determine which types of plants will thrive in your USDA hardiness zones.
  • Decide whether you want annual plants, perennials, or both in your garden.
Beginners flower garden: purple blazing star and pink coneflowers

Timing is everything when starting a garden.

The best way to determine the right time to plant your flowers is by knowing the last frost date in your area. This will save you a lot of heartache in the future.

Your plants need to be acclimated to the outdoor elements before you plant them in the garden. This is called hardening off your plants.

Whether you’re transplanting seedlings growing indoors or planting flowers you just bought from an indoor garden center, your plants will need time to get used to the outdoor growing conditions.

blue watering can and flower containers

As a beginning gardener, it can be hard to know how much water your garden needs or when to water your plants. Follow these simple watering tips to create a healthy and flourishing garden.

  • As a general rule, plants should be watered deeply and less frequently to encourage deep-root growth. This will help plants to absorb more water and become more resilient to drought.
  • Water the soil and not the plant’s foliage to avoid diseases such as mildew and leaf rot. Use a soaker hose or a slow trickle at the plant’s base to avoid the runoff that can lead to the loss of essential nutrients in the soil.
  • Reduce the plant’s stress from the heat of the day and the intense sunlight, and water plants during the cooler morning temperatures. This is the best time to water because the soil retains more moisture in the mornings, so your plants will stay hydrated longer.
  • If you have a sprinkler system on a timer, turn it off after sufficient rainfall to ensure your plants do not get overwatered.
  • Check on your new plants and seedlings often and water as necessary to keep them from drying out.
  • Check the plant’s soil 3-4 inches below the surface to see if it’s dry or moist. Overwatering can be just as hard on a plant as it drying out.
weeding with the dogs

Let’s be honest. Controlling the weeds in your garden is an ongoing battle for most gardeners. Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years.

  • Removing weeds as soon as they sprout or at least before they seed will help prevent them from taking over your garden and competing with your plants for nutrients.
  • Adding a couple of inches of mulch to your garden beds is an effective way to control weeds. It inhibits weed germination and growth.
Beginners flower garden:  in the garden

The process of removing dead flower heads from a plant is called deadheading. This not only helps your garden look clean and tidy, but it also encourages more bloom production.

The plant can then redirect its energy to producing healthy, new flowers.

Beginners flower garden: dahlias in the cutting garden

Depending on the flower, the stems may need additional support to stand tall.

You can choose from various support methods to keep your flowers from falling over in the flower garden.

  • Netting
  • Staking
  • Corralling
  • Trellising
  • Grow Through Supports
pests on flower leave

Nothing is more frustrating than walking out to your garden to see that garden pests or diseases has ruined one of your favorite plants. Pest control is essential when growing a garden.

These tiny insects can quickly take over your garden plants and cause damage. Ladybugs are a great way to control these pests and spray a mixture of water and dish soap on the plant.

We get many of these pests in the rainy and wet Pacific Northwest. They can decimate your plants by eating your plant leaves and stems.

There are several ways to control these pests. I use the slug bait called Sluggo, which is pet-safe. You can also deter slugs and snails by placing crushed eggshells or copper tape around your plants.

And, of course, there’s the much-talked-about way to trap slugs by pouring beer into shallow dishes in the garden soil.

deer in garden

As a gardener, it’s hard to think of deer as cute animals. They are nothing but trouble when it comes to a flower garden.

Of course, the best thing you can do to keep these pesky animals out of the garden is to grow plants they are not attracted to, like daffodils and marigolds.

But if you’re like me, you’ll want to grow your favorite flowers, whether the deer like them or not.

Using a deer and rabbit repellant like Liquid Fence has worked well for me as long as I use it every couple of weeks without fail. I use a concentrate, and it has lasted for years.

Another tool I use is a motion sensor sprinkler set to go off from dusk to dawn when a deer is detected. The sudden burst of water can startle a deer.

And then there’s always building a garden fence at least 8 feet tall.

This fungal disease can affect various plants and cause a white, powdery coating on the leaves. Remove the diseased leaves and apply a fungicide spray to prevent them from spreading.

Practicing proper gardening techniques can help prevent fungal disease in your garden.

  • Promote airflow by giving your plants sufficient space.
  • Avoid overwatering plants.
  • Keep water off of the foliage and at the base of the plant.

You can keep your garden healthy and thriving by proactively addressing common garden pest and disease issues early in the growing season.

Beginners flower garden: cut flower garden and greenhouse

A daily garden walk is not only fun, but it’s necessary.

  • Check for pest and disease issues while they’re still small and controllable.
  • Make sure your watering system is working correctly.
  • Look for plants growing too close together or not thriving in their environment.
Beginners flower garden: daisies and cut flower garden

Spring is usually the best time to start a new garden, but plants can always be added to the beds in fall. It depends on the type of plant.

Annuals and tomatoes should be planted after the last frost date after the weather has warmed up. Plants like pansies and kale can be planted in the fall or winter. Perennials can be planted in mid-spring or mid-fall.

You don’t have to have that much space to grow a garden. Here are three great options for starting a garden with small spaces:

  • Container gardening is perfect for balconies, porches, and decks. You can use flower pots, half-wine barrels, or vintage galvanized tubs.
  • Try vertical gardening, where there is plenty of space to grow your favorite veggies and flower vines.
  • You can grow a significant amount of flowers using just one raised bed in your garden.
Beginners flower garden: pink coneflowers and back-eyed Susans

Every beginning gardener needs these basics:

For example, a 4’x4′ garden bed that is 1 foot deep will need 16 cubic feet of soil.

garden bed of sunflowers

Starting a flower garden can seem intimidating at first, but it can also be a rewarding experience. Whether connecting with nature or experimenting with different varieties of flowers, you’ll appreciate all that comes with being a gardener.

There’s nothing like getting your hands dirty!

If you have any questions or additional suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments below. And be sure to share this blog post link with anyone who may find these gardening tips useful.

Until next time,

Happy Gardening!

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A Beginners Guide to Starting a Garden

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