9 Essential Gardening Tips for Beginners

Last update: 1 month ago

gardening for dummies

Gardening has long been a quintessential British pastime. The popularity of television programmes, such as Ground Force (for those that remember the glory of this show) and Gardener’s World, are a testament to our gardening heritage.

With the rise in popularity of talent shows and minor celebrities’ ballroom dancing, we started to forget our love of gardening. But there has been a surge of interest and a desire to return to our gardens again in recent years. Regardless of the size of your garden, it can be a daunting task for a gardening beginner due to the commitment and time involved.

However, with a little bit of planning, patience and some easy-to-follow gardening tips and tricks for beginners, you will be able to enjoy a flourishing outdoor oasis of your own creation. Take advantage of the free gardening advice we provide here!

Plan your garden space carefully

The first step in starting your journey to gardening godhood is choosing what type of garden you want. Will it be a beautiful sea of colourful flowers, a glorious herb garden for the budding chef, a nutritious vegetable garden, or just hanging baskets?

No matter what you choose, a good gardening tip for beginners is to always start small and slowly create your garden oasis.

Hanging baskets, in this case, is the ideal way to start your gardening journey. All you need to do is:

  • Find a basket and sturdy hooks and wires. When you add all the ingredients it will start to weigh a lot, so you want to use strong materials.
  • Line the basket with a liner made from cardboard or with fresh moss.
  • Place a saucer at the bottom of the basket or container of your choosing in order to stop water drainage.
  • Chose compatible plants. If you plan to hang your basket on a sunny place, pick only sun-loving flowers to plant together.
  • Feed the soil within the basket with nutrients every week as they will be absorbed by the plant quite quickly. Consider using moisture-controlling compost containing slow release plant foods.
  • This method would last you up to six months.

One of the best things about hanging baskets is that they don’t take up a lot of space. Not everyone can enjoy a large garden, so sometimes you have to get creative. If space is an issue for you, consider the concept of vertical gardening or creating container gardens. These can be easily grown even on your balcony!

Supply yourself with basic gardening tools

Once you have a plan, you’ll need some essential gardening tools unless you intend on digging with your hands. Thankfully, gardening only requires a handful of tools. To get started, you will need:

The must-haves

  • Pruning scissors – You will use these to cut back plants and bushes, as well as maintain their health by cutting off dead flower heads and branches.
  • Lopping pruners – Another useful tool to own, especially if you have larger plants. ith their long handles and large blades, you will make short work of larger, well-established plants.

Tools for digging and raking

In order to start planting, you will need a series of tools for digging and preparing the soil. Such as:

  • Spade – Used to dig the holes for your plants.
  • Trowel – Agin, helps with creating space for your plants.
  • Garden fork – Incredibly useful for breaking up large clumps of soil or for removing the roots of old plants and weeds.
  • Rake with metal prongs – Metal rakes are great for levelling the soil and removing stones in plant beds.
  • Rake with softer, plastic prongs – Plastic rakes are better suited for basic garden maintenance, such as clearing your lawn of leaves.

Start a healthy garden!

Get an expert's help.

Learn more

Start a healthy garden!

Get an expert's help.

Learn more

Watering tools

Although the UK is quite a rainy place, you will still need to water your plants. The best tools for this job are:

  • Garden hose – Those are perfect for large tasks, such as watering trees and established plants, but the high pressure is not suitable for smaller plants and seedlings.
  • Watering can – For these more delicate plants, a watering can with a rose attachment is preferred. Your young plants will thank you for the gentle sprinkling.

Weeding tools

Since you are putting so much effort into creating your garden, the last thing you want is to allow weeds to gain a foothold. To tackle the weed menace, you will need:

  • Forked trowel
  • Gardening knife

These two tools will allow you to uproot any invading plants with ease.

Check the soil you’ll be working with

Before you rush off to the garden centre to buy everything in sight like a complete beginner gardener, take some time to check the soil in your garden as plants can be picky about the type of soil they grow in.

There are a few ways to find out what type of soil you have. You can either dig some out yourself to see if it has a sandy or clay-like texture. You could also take a peek at your neighbours’ garden to see what plants are growing well, or you can perform a soil test to find out the levels of nutrients in the soil, as well as its Ph level.

Using any of the methods mentioned will give you a good idea of what plants will thrive in your garden and inform your decision of whether or not you should improve the soil.

Pick the right plants to grow

So, you’ve chosen the type of garden you’d like to grow, bought some tools and determined the type of soil you’ll be working with. Now comes the exciting part – choosing the plants. As new to gardening, it’s best to start with some easy-to-grow veggies and fruits.

What are some easy fruits and vegetables to grow?

  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Beetroot
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries

What low-maintenance flowers to plant in the garden?

  • Lavender
  • Geraniums
  • Pelargoniums
  • Marigolds
  • Hydrangeas

Other plants that don’t require a lot of care and would make a nice addition to your garden are different varieties of ornamental grasses, hedges like Holly and shrubs like Viburnum, for example. Also, succulents and cactuses can be quite attractive with their all-year-round green colour and don’t need constant supervision to thrive.

Improve the soil’s quality

Plants will always benefit from nutrient-packed soil, even if a test has declared your soil to be perfect. Improving the quality of the soil is not as difficult as you may think.

The best advice for beginner gardeners is to work compost into the top 8-12 inches (20-30cm) of soil with a spade or fork. The compost will be broken down over the course of a few months, so the best time to do this is either during winter or in the beginning of spring.

Another method of improving soil quality does not require any digging but it takes longer. If time is not an issue for you and you don’t like the idea of turning a lot of soil in order to mix it with the compost, this is the option for you.

  1. First, you should mark out the area of the plant bed and cover it with five layers of newspaper.
  2. Following this, cover the area with 2-3 inches (5-7.5cm) of compost.
  3. Allow it to sit for at least 4 months. During this time, the newspaper will decompose and the nutrients from the compost will mingle with the soil below.

Plan, label, organise

We are almost ready to start planting! This is the final tip for novice gardeners before getting your hands dirty and it’s quite an important one to follow if you want your garden to be successful.

  • Plan. Figure out where each plant will go, paying particular attention to spacing. Plants need their own space (just like moody teenagers). If you place young plants too close together, their growth will be stunted, they will be more prone to diseases, or may simply die out.
  • Label. We all have our forgetful moments. To ensure that you always know what is planted where and to be able to tell people which plant is which, take a few minutes to make some small labels and place them alongside your plants.
  • Organise. Another great piece of garden advice for beginners is to chart the progress of your garden and keep track of where everything is planted in a garden scrapbook. By adding sketches, pictures, labels, and notes you can make future improvements easily as you will have a reference of how each type of plant fared in different areas of your garden.

Plant young plants

It should go without saying that seedlings are delicate and easily damaged, so here is another tip for gardening novices – you should be extra careful when removing them from their tiny plant pots. Do not be tempted to grasp them by the stem and pull them out of the pot as this will only damage the plant. Instead:

  • Turn the plant upside down.
  • Press the underside of the pot until the plant and the soil slide out.
  • Once you have freed the plant from its pot, dig a hole in your chosen plant bed deep and wide enough to hold the roots.
  • Place the plant in the hole and fill it in with the soil you removed earlier.
  • Do this for all of your plants and then water them thoroughly to encourage the roots to spread out.

Water plants correctly

The aim of watering plants is to provide them with enough water to survive but not so much that the soil becomes waterlogged. The best way to achieve this is to water your plants slowly to allow the water to reach deep into the soil. Ideally, the soil should feel moist at about 2-3 inches (5-6.5cm) beneath the surface.

Plants at different stages of development also require different amounts of water. Young plants will need to be watered daily to encourage growth and healthy roots, whereas established plants will generally only need to be watered once every 2-3 days, depending on the weather.

Be on the lookout for pests

Watering and weeding are not the only regular tasks you will have to perform when taking care of your garden. Inspecting for pests and diseases is also crucial to guarantee the healthy growth of your greens.

Some of the main pests to be on lookout for are aphids, slugs and caterpillars which could cause serious damage to the leaves and stems of plants. Needless to say, this could be catastrophic, especially for seedlings which are fragile and just starting to develop.

As for diseases, fungal infections like powdery mildew and blight are among the common culprits.

Need help creating your ideal garden?

Enter your postcode to view our rates and availability in your area.

Enter your postcode

For questions about the services we offer visit our main site or you can always call us at 020 3404 4881

To sum it all up

So, there we have it, starting a garden is not as scary as a lot of people think. Even if you are a gardening novice, you will be able to enjoy a thriving garden year after year as long as you plan ahead, choose your plants carefully, and give your soil a nutritious boost.


Did we miss anything? Do you have any tips or advice for beginner gardeners? Let us know in the comments below or give us a shout on social media!

fantastic gardeners logo

Looking for more gardening hacks? Take a look at this blog by Access Self Storage!

Image source: ajlatan / Shutterstock.com

37 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Being a good gardener is really tough especially for a first timer, thank you for your suggestions. I also learn a lot of important things about gardening somewhere.

  • Heyy..!!
    I have used reel lawn mower. For those who like a simple 5 blade mower for their garden or yard, they should have the Great States Model 304-14 Five Blade 14 Inch Push Reel Lawnmower . This is the best choice for home improvement..!!

    • Hey Tina, woah, amazing things going on there at Garden Loka, keep up!

  • Hi – some great simple tips here. As I tell my clients “you need to keep it simple” and get good at the basics. I will be sure to send them to this article.



  • Hi, I am Martha Edwards. I am a newer gardener. You have shared a good information in your Post. I am learning to basic information for garden work. This is very helpful Post for my garden. You are so creative. I’ m trying to follow your technique.

    Thanks for sharing your Advice.

  • Hi FG, my wife has suggested/ decided that we should tidy up our back garden this spring 😉

    I like how your article is simple and easy to follow, so I think this will be our blueprint. Hopefully the garden and us survive the project 😉


    • Good luck out there, Dan, these things can be tricky but they pay off big time1

  • Keep your garden beautiful with fantasticgardeners Garden Rakes, ideal for clearing leaves and garden debris, as well as being perfect for soil preparation too.Thanks for sharing excellent info.Garden rakes and hoes are essential for keeping your outdoor space tidy, and you’ll find a range of them here.

  • To learn the gardening is one of the most important things if you are willing to create a beautiful sight in your house. If you want to do the Landscape Design then also having a good knowledge about gardening is a really important factor for you. According to me, you can also add the fire pit in your landscape designs. During the winters, sitting around the fire pit is the best feeling you get!

    • Thank you very much for the positive comment, Advika! Best wishes for the New Year!

  • If you want be a mature gardener then these blogs are very useful for you. In this blog the blogger tech us how we can begin the gardening, choose the plants, dig the field, nourish the plants. If you really want to start or improve our garden then you get in touch with us.

  • you write pretty well,i have got a lot of qualitative information from your post and also i am surely looking forward for some more qualitative and creative content.

  • Hi we are total novices but Our garden is clay so we are putting in some raised borders. We would like a mix of shrubs and plants that will give varying colour all year! What’s a good collection to start with please ?

    • Hello Lorraine,

      Some plants that thrive very well in clay soil and give rich colourful flowers are asters, gerraniums, bee balms, coreopsis, amongst others!

  • Your Gardening Tips Suggested Wonderful Suggestive to Improve Our Garden Thanks for it.

  • I am inspired by your work and got some great ideas. Thanks and keep sharing 🙂

  • This will help you to choose what is the best landscape for your house, this is a great article to read.

  • You mentioned that smaller, more delicate plants should be watered with a hose attachment by hand. Do you know if there is some sort of sprinkler head system that could water them gently? I don’t always have the time to water them by hand when I garden.

    • Yes JJ, in fact, those sprinkler heads resemble showers. You can check such one here on Amazon, or simply research several online or local stores. What you should look for is similar to a shower head.

      Fantastic Gardeners.

  • Thanks for posting these gardening tips. It’ll be sure to help anyone looking to get started gardening.

  • My wife is planning on setting up a garden in our backyard this summer. It was really helpful to read on how we should water plants slowly until it feels moist between 2-3 inches beneath the surface. With the proper seeds and watering techniques, she should be able to create a thriving garden.

  • I was planning to setup a small garden and now i have all the tips to begin with my gardening. Very nice post and good explanation for new as well as professional people. Thanks for the post.

  • We truly enjoyed reading all of this item, its really good. I would have a couple suggestions though, but Im not causing a debate Anyway, keep up the great work, and see you!

  • Hey dear, Thanks a lot for sharing such great stuff on gardening tips. I have got some fantastic tips and ideas in your post. You have just noted an essential point, “Pick the right plants: So, you’ve chosen the type of garden you’d like to grow and bought some tools. Now comes the exciting part – choosing the plants. Before you rush off to the garden centre to buy everything in sight like a complete beginner gardener, take some time to check the soil in your garden as plants can be picky about the type of soil they grow in. There are a few ways to find out what type of soil you have. You can either dig some out yourself to see if it has a sandy or clay-like texture. You could also take a peek at your neighbours’ garden to see what plants are growing well, or you can perform a soil test to find out the levels of nutrients in the soil, as well as its Ph level. Using any of the methods mentioned will give you a good idea of what plants will thrive in your garden and inform your decision of whether or not you should improve the soil.” Most of the gardener does not know how to pick the right plants properly. I do hope this post will be more useful for the new and old gardener.

  • Hi,
    These are great tips! I’ve wanted to start a garden for a few years. This will definitely help me plan what and where we want it.

  • thanks a lot for sharing this article. this contains great & useful tips & instruction for beginners like me. really it’s a great article for me

  • Thank you for all the tips. I am a total beginner here. I use to plan trees in a pot. Now I want to explore more and plan new trees in my backyard. But I don’t know the first thing about gardening. But I like plants and flowers so much. This guide is really helpful.

  • It’s a great source of knowledge; I think it will be helpful for lot of people who are looking for gardening for beginners. Thank you very much for sharing this article, this is really helpful for me, thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *