How to Select the Location for Your Garden

How to Select the Location for Your Garden

Apr 17th 2024

The location of your garden is key to its success. There are multiple things to consider when choosing the right gardening site, whether it's your first garden or not. If you are growing vegetables or adding more garden beds, choose the best spot so you can grow your favorite plants successfully and enjoy flavorful crops.

In this post, we will explore all these factors so you can determine the perfect spot for your garden and make your gardening experience successful.

Things to Consider When Choosing the Ideal Location for Your Garden

Here are the critical factors to consider when selecting the best spot for your garden.

1. How much space do your Plants Need?

First, you should select what plants or vegetables you plan to grow and then determine the growing space needed to choose the right planting area. Some vegetables need more space to grow. An excellent size for a first-time garden would be between 75 and 100 square feet. You can plant easy-to-grow crops in it. Some beginner-friendly and easy-to-grow plants are tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, peppers, zucchini, lettuce, beets, bush beans, chard, and other leafy greens.

2. Look for Sunlight and Sun Exposure

Next, observe your outdoor area and see where it gets the most sunlight throughout the day. Many plants need plenty of sunlight to produce plentiful flowers and healthy fruit. You can grow root vegetables in 6-8 hours and leafy greens in 4-6.

Choose an area for your garden that receives more than six hours of sunlight daily. 8-10 hours of direct sunlight is ideal for most vegetables. Remember, the more sun exposure, the better your plants will grow.

Full sun: 8-10 hours of direct sunlight.

Partial sun or partial shade: 4-6 hours of direct sunlight.

Full shade: Filtered sunlight, no direct sunlight.

3. Assess the Soil Quality

Your yard could have different types of soil. Take soil samples from multiple locations and test the soil to determine its quality. Healthy soil is crucial for healthy plants. The ideal garden location has fertile, well-drained, and loamy soil. If you have poor soil or too much sand or clay, you need to amend it and work on it. Additionally, choose a location where the soil is contaminant-free, such as the soil next to sidewalks or where water from the road may drain.

Good-quality soil drains well. So, test the drainage by digging a 12" deep pit and filling it with water. See how long it takes to drain, then fill the pit with water again to ensure you have the correct time. If it takes up to eight hours, then it's okay. However, if it takes more than eight hours or days to dry, you need to improve soil drainage and consider using raised garden beds or containers for planting.

Related Post: Gardening: Know Your Soil Type

4. Check Water Accessibility

Choose a location for your garden near a clean water source to make irrigation convenient and accessible. Carrying water to thirsty plants in a hot summer will exhaust you. When you sow seeds, they need constant moist soil for proper germination. Most plants will need 1 inch of water per week to stay healthy as they grow. A water source nearby means you will not neglect watering your plants.

Water conservation should be considered when choosing the garden location and watering system. You can install a drip irrigation or soaker hoses to water your plants.

Related Post: How To Develop a Watering Schedule for Your Garden

5. Consider the Convenience and Easy Access

This is one of the most important things you should pay attention to. A garden that is convenient to access and easy to visit will be more successful. Having a garden close to the property will motivate you to spend time caring for it. You can quickly notice thirsty plants, pick ripe vegetables, spot pest problems, and maintain it.

6. Avoid Slopes or Low Spots

Level ground or a slight slope is ideal for a vegetable garden. If you only have a highly sloped area, you can make it work, but there is a high erosion risk due to water runoff. So, consider the topography of your property. Avoid slopes or any low areas that stay wet in spring.

Furthermore, it is best to avoid gardening at the base of the slope because air can create a frost pocket there. Low areas are colder than upper slopes because warm air rises, and cool air descends. However, a gentle slope, especially south-facing, is fine because it warms up quickly in the spring. North-facing slopes are cooler and shadier.

Read More: How To Set Up Drip Irrigation On A Slope

7. Consider Wind Directions

Another essential factor to consider when choosing the garden location is protecting the site from strong wind. Wind protection is important for most plants, especially those that grow vertically and produce a lot of fruit, such as tomatoes, beans, peas, eggplant, and other climbing veggies.

Heavy wind dries out soil and plants, causing extra-tall plants to fall over. Cold and dry winds are also dangerous because they steal moisture from plants and cause windburn, which damages the plant. So, you should know the wind direction and how cold winds can affect your garden. You may use hedges and open fences to filter wind.

8. Determine Microclimate Factors

The microclimates in your yard can also significantly influence plant survival. Almost every property has microclimates, areas with different weather conditions from those of the surrounding areas. When you choose your garden site, examine the area, and consider nearby structures, shrubs, hard surfaces, trees, and other things.

The difference in microclimates may seem subtle, but it can be significant enough to enable a less hardy plant to thrive where it wouldn't under normal conditions. Consider nearby structures like a fence, house, high wall, or shed. These can cast shade and lower temperatures on the east, north, and west-facing sides, creating a cooler microclimate. On the other hand, hard surfaces like concrete, stone, and asphalt absorb sunlight and can make the planting area hotter, creating a warmer microclimate. These surfaces also prevent water from seeping through, leading to runoff issues.

The Bottom Line

For novice gardeners, the location of your garden is very important. From considering sun exposure to assessing the soil quality, every aspect is crucial when selecting a location for your garden. Whether it's your first or fifth garden bed, it's always wise to consider all these factors when planning an ideal site. Remember, you can always improve the planting area over time, and if needed, you can try a different location next time.

Follow the tips, find the perfect gardening location, and plant your favorite fruits, veggies, and flowers. Happy Gardening!