What is a site?

Your site is the place where plants go: a garden, flower pot, window box, yard. While most people think of a site as just a plot of dirt, it really is more than that: the site includes all of the ingredients that make it unique, such as its soil and climate. Understanding the conditions that make up your site and knowing how to deal with them is crucial to successful gardening. Helping you understand these things is one goal of the Garden Tutor course.

Site as entire property

Throughout this course we will refer to a site as that part of your property that is relevant to the project at hand. Sometimes the site will be your whole property, sometimes it will be a particular portion of your property, and sometimes it will be the area around one plant.

Site as portion of property

Hopefully you’ll discover that you use the term in a similar fashion: at times it will be convenient for you to call the whole yard your site, and sometimes you’ll refer to a flower bed as your site.

Site as area around one plant

How do I determine the conditions on my site?

Site analysis. You will be the detective, gathering data about your site to find out which garden options should work on your site. Site analysis doesn’t take much work, yet it is the most important thing you can do to prepare for a garden.

Gather data about your site to find out which garden options should work on your site

Module 1: Site will take you step-by-step through your site analysis. In it, we discuss the major site-related constraints, and we try to give you helpful information without any fluff. Keep in mind as you learn that site analysis isn’t perfect: the basic idea we present here is the more you know about your site, the better informed you as a gardener will be. And an informed gardener makes better decisions.

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Module 1: Site – What is a garden site and site analysis?

Site analysis helps you determine the growing conditions on your site. With a little detective work you can discover what your site needs to sustain a healthy garden.

Additional Modules

01

Module 1: Site – What is a garden site and site analysis?

What is a site? Your site is the place where plants go: a garden, flower pot, window box, yard. While most people think of a site as just a plot of dirt, it really is more than that: the site includes all of the ingredients that make it unique, such as its soil and climate. …

Module 1: Site – What is a garden site and site analysis? Read More »

02

Module 2: Style – The elements of garden style

What is Style? Style can be many things to many people. For you it will be the unique way you arrange the materials that will make up your garden. Usually, creating garden designs with style is a compromise between your wants and your constraints. Wants will vary from person to person. A family with six …

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03

Module 3: Selection – Plants that fit your site and style

You will probably get plants and seeds from retail garden centers (nurseries) or from mail order retailers. Large nurseries usually have a wide range of plants; smaller garden centers usually have a smaller stock of plants to choose from, but you can often find a more relaxed and helpful sales staff. Mail order suppliers may …

Module 3: Selection – Plants that fit your site and style Read More »

04

Module 4: Design – From concept to plan

Up to now we have discussed principles and techniques for evaluating your site, designing gardens, and selecting plants. In this module we take up the process of actually creating your garden. The following steps should get you started: Determine the conditions in your garden site by doing site analysis. Compile a list of your site …

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05

Module 5: Prepare – How to get your planting site ready

Unless you are already endowed with good soil and a ready site, you will need to prepare your soil for planting. Preparation involves laying out your site, removing anything that has to go, making beds, and amending and grading your soil. Depending on your design and your site, this could be very easy work or …

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Module 6: Preview – Make sure your garden looks right and has room to grow

Place your plants (still in their containers) in the bed and space them as the label indicates using the enclosed tape measure. When measuring the distance between plants, measure from the center of one plant to the center of the next plant. Step back and take a good look at your arrangement; if you want …

Module 6: Preview – Make sure your garden looks right and has room to grow Read More »

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Module 7: Plant – Install plants of all types and sizes

You should be ready to plant now. Follow the directions on the plant label, if provided. Use a shovel or hand trowel to dig holes. Clean-up, mulch, and water when done. The following are general instructions for different types of plants: Balled and burlapped plants You should remove the burlap and wire basket (if the …

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Module 8: Maintain – watering to winterizing and everything in between

A clean garden is not like a clean room. A mulch will fade, weeds will crop up, and your sharp edges will blur. Your goal is not to fight a battle with nature but to work with it. Your maintenance and devotion can help your garden evolve into a complex, beautiful growth, but it should …

Module 8: Maintain – watering to winterizing and everything in between Read More »

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