Planning our Garden

It’s been over a week since I planted our perennial garden and to my amazement nothing is dead!

Since I seem to have done something right, I thought it’d be fun to take you through how I became a gardener overnight.

Every good garden begins with research

If you’re like me and know nothing about perennial gardening, research should be your first step.

First thing’s first though, what’s a perennial? Basically, it’s a plant that shouldn’t die in the winter. *holds breath*

Thankfully [as always] YouTube saved the day with these awesome step by step instructional videos.


These videos recommend following 5 basic steps for gardening success:

  1. Sketch a plan
  2. Test your soil – I didn’t do this
  3. Rotate your soil
  4. Add fertilizer before you start planting
  5. Place bigger plants in the middle, and smaller plants on the outside of the garden.

Picking your plants and selecting a theme

Once I understood the basics it was time to start figuring out which plants I wanted. This proved to be very challenging when you have no idea what you’re looking for.

I ended up finding a video on how to combine different plants to optimize their colors, textures and size, and managed to land on a great color and composition page created by Lowe’s.


They call the theme I went with “cool”.

All I knew was that I wanted a lot of purple!

Thankfully, this page also listed what plants were best for the cool theme. So, I wrote them all down and called our local garden center to see if they had them.

Once I knew what I could plant in our cold climate, I went to work on coming up with a visual list to help me create a sketch of our garden.


Dwarf arctic blue willow

Variegated feather reed grass

Ohlendorffi Spruce

Peachleaf bellflower

Lambs ears

Purple dahlias

Creeping thyme


Alium bulbs – the garden center was out of these babies so I’ll plant them next year.

Taking the time to sketch it out

I drew out a basic shape of our yard and started adding plants here and there. Some things I kept in mind were to:

  • Keep the small items on the outside
  • Make sure there is contrast to the items placed in front of one another
  • Be cognizant of the space we have, try not to over do it [this is always a hard one for me!]

Getting to work

Based on what I’ve found successful, I recommend following these basic steps for your own perennial garden:

  1. Spray paint the area you want for the garden using outdoor markers paint
  2. Use a big shovel and pitch fork to rotate the dirt. This took me 4 hours. Best workout ever [don’t forget to blast good tunes!].
  3. Lay weed wrap across the lawn, then cut to fit the space and pin down with metal pins.
  4. Stage the plants in the garden and shift things around until it flows nicely. We had to move the tree to the front of the garden because Kevin felt it was too close to the house.
  5. Cut an “X” in the weed wrap and begin digging one hole at a time for each plant, inserting the plant, and filling the hole with this awesome soil, or something comparable:

Now step back, park your bum on a bench or sidewalk, drink some lemonade, snack on some coconut, and marvel at your masterpiece before you start on your next outdoor project… a sunflower garden on the side of the house.

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  1. Do you have a blog about doing a sunflower garden? I’m going to use this blog to outline my new flower patch, but I also want a sunflower garden.

    • Hi Dorothy, sorry I don’t! But your garden sounds absolutely lovely :)

  2. Go you! Your garden is stunning. Would be nice if I had some kind of green thumb ;)

  3. You are so amazing! Good girl for doing your research. I cheated by letting Woody do all the researching for our garden. Then I just did what he told me to do :-) Everything looks beautiful, Leanne!

  4. How stunning!! I especially like the purple dahlias and the dianthus. I just cannot wait until I can have a garden! Other than my urban veggie garden. Great advice on the planning! I don’t have an outdoor garden but I’m the QUEEN of googling about every plant I have! I still managed to kill my orchid, though. I hope you have a little time to enjoy it now!

  5. I love everything that you chose! Lambs ears may be one of the cutest plants I have ever seen!

    • Oh my gosh, I know! They’re so fuzzy!!

  6. It looks great, Leanne! Great job!!!! And I am totally with you-I think purple flowers look the best. Gorgeous, powerful, and elegant.