Get your green thumbs ready

Nan Sterman

Thu February 6, 2014 1:32pm

Get to know your space Observe your property to see which areas are the sunniest, the shadiest, how existing plants seem to be doing, where you spend your time outside, and how you would like to use your space.
Dream Look through magazines and browse the Internet for inspiration. Look at gardens in your neighborhood and nearby that you like. Snap some photos so you have a record of what you saw.
Visit  San Diego Botanic Garden, San Diego Zoo and Zoo Safari Park, the Water Conservation Garden, Balboa Park and other planted areas to be inspired. Don’t forget to take photos!
Do your homework Once you see plants you like, find out how big they grow, how much water they need, how much care and maintenance. And are they available? Plants are as seasonal as produce. What is available now is not the same as what the nurseries have to offer in spring, summer, or fall.
Can you design your own garden? Trial and error is great but if you need more than that, hire a professional landscape designer. Visit the website of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers www.apld.org to find a designer near you. 
Be realistic about budget Landscape is like remodeling. The effort that goes into design and installation, the materials, and the labor cost are about the same.
Remember that whatever you grow, most of it should be low water We live in a drought and will continue to live in a drought. It’s okay to “spend” water on edibles but for anything that is just to be pretty or functional, make it low water.  
Group plants based on their irrigation requirements  That way, each plant gets what it needs, no more and no less. Use an in-line drip irrigation system with a weather-based irrigation controller to take the worry out of monitoring your irrigation.
For more garden inspiration and tips visit www.agrowingpassion.com to browse previous clips, upcoming events and our gardening blog.