It's been years since you did much with the backyard and now you're considering starting a garden. With some cleanup and landscape work, you'll have plenty of space for your favorite flowers and vegetables. Get some good use from your backyard and enjoy fresh produce year round.
The Big Landscaping Tasks
Create as much ground space as you can by clearing out junk and yard debris. Remove dead plants, bushes and any weeds that have moved in. If you have dead trees in the yard, now is the perfect time to have them cut down. Use a tree service to make sure the trees come down safely. Then you'll want a stump removal service to grind down the stump for you.
If possible, ask both services to pile the wood chips in your yard or driveway to be used for ground cover in and around the garden. Once the yard is cleared out, you can begin to map out the garden space.
Your Garden Layout
You don't have to make a rectangular or square garden. It can be any shape, but it should sit in an area that gets moisture and has good drainage. Visualize where you want the garden in the yard. Don't put it in a depression where rainwater will pool. A flat, level space is ideal but a gradually sloping space will also work. Plant the garden with the rows parallel with the slope so water will flow down the rows and not across.
Don't bother with a fence around the garden. What wants to get into the garden will, regardless of a fence. But allow for a foot of space around the perimeter of the garden. Place a layer of gravel in this boundary area to keep out pests such as ants, slugs and snails. Remove the grass from inside of the boundary, till the soil and add a layer of fresh topsoil.
Make your gardening tasks easier by mounding the soil so the rows are a few inches above the garden bed. This leaves a little trough between rows which makes weeding easier and watering more efficient. The water tends to stay in the troughs and soaks into the ground rather than just run off into the yard.
Add Extras to Make Gardening More Enjoyable
Since you're creating the garden from scratch, add a sprinkler system. A system that sprays water low and soaks the ground is more efficient than one that sprays up into the air. You keep more water in the garden and lose less to evaporation in the air.
Build a small shed in the yard to hold your most used garden tools. You'll save steps back and forth to the garage. An alternative is to buy or build a locking chest which sits on the side of the garden. This holds the gardening tools you use every day and serves as a bench on which to rest between tasks.
You can also easily build a compost bin and have fresh organic fertilizer for the garden. Mark off a square or rectangular space next to the garden, remove the grass and put a post at each corner. Attach chicken wire to the posts on three sides. Put a layer of mulch on the bottom to absorb excess moisture and you have the start of a compost bin.
Use the potential of your backyard to create a family garden. It's a great use of space that provides you with fresh, healthy food that you grow with your own hands.