If a homeowner is planning a do-it-yourself garden, the first step he or she should take is a planning step: determining what types of plants will be planted in a garden is often the most difficult step, especially in gardens with limited space. It is a good idea to visit a local nursery to find out what plants will thrive in a specific region, as well as what times of year are best for planting seeds or grown plants. The DIY garden area itself will need to be planned carefully as well to maximize available sunlight and shade, as well as water resources.
Once the homeowner has determined where the garden will be, it is a good idea to take careful measurements of the area, and to take note of how much sun each section of the garden gets throughout the day. This will dictate where particular plants will be planted in the DIY garden, as some plants require more sun than others. It is important to consider the plant requirements in relation to the orientation of the garden. Before any gardening is done, however, the DIY garden space will need to be prepared properly.
The ground will need to be tilled, and rocks and roots will need to be weeded out and removed. If tool rental is necessary for this process, the homeowner should be sure to shop around for the best hourly rates. Tillers can be rented for a few hours at a time, and they are usually not needed for much longer than that. Once the ground is tilled, it is a good idea to fertilize it. The homeowner may want to consider including a compost barrel in the DIY garden space; the composting can, in fact, begin long before the garden is even planned or planted. That way, by the time the garden is ready to be planted, the composted materials may have formed fertile soil and nutrients for the garden space.
It is important to consider water resources as well as garden borders that will help prevent excess runoff. Before planting the garden, research several garden border designs that will help retain groundwater and prevent excess erosion during watering and planting. Not all gardens will require this, but many DIY garden spots that are located on uneven ground will require this precaution. It is also important to research different methods of keeping common pests out of the garden. Research which common pests are likely to seek out the garden, and plan accordingly.