Even if Saturdays usually find you glued to college gridiron action, try taking a timeout to update your landscape for fall. A little planning and a well-selected playlist are all you need for eye-catching improvement! This weekend, huddle up with a shovel and our coaching tips for a quick garden makeover.
Our Big 10: The Reasons Why Fall Is Best for Planting
1. The weather's cooler, so gardening is more pleasant.
2. Seasonal sales mean plenty of plants cost less.
3. Plants establish faster.
4. There's less watering, which means less hose dragging.
5. Plants go through less stress.
6. Starting now leads to more flowers next season.
7. This is the time to plant spring bulbs.
8. There are not as many bugs to swat.
9. There are no long checkout lines when buying materials.
10. More bang for your buck. By next July, a fall-planted, one-gallon plant will be about the same size as a spring-planted, five-gallon one.
Level the playing field.
Most importantly, pick a manageable area that can be completed in one day. Our space, shown here, was 20 x 90 feet. Remove sod, roots, rocks, or other debris, and amend soil with compost. Smooth area with a stiff metal rake so that soil is slightly higher in the center. Do this prior to planting day, if possible.
Develop your game plan.
On graph paper, sketch the area to scale, and draw circles to represent the mature sizes of plants to be added. Consult The Southern Living Garden Book for plant ideas and mature sizes. Your sketch will serve as your shopping list. Nurseries start receiving plants for the weekend on Thursday, so shop early for best selections. When adding them to your yard, the biggest plants go in first, annuals last. Mulch and water well.
Don't forget spring training.
Fall is the time to purchase and install bulbs for spring. We bought the tulips and snapdragons shown here at the same time. Once home, we planted the snapdragons and put the paper bag of tulip bulbs in the refrigerator for eight weeks. On planting day, we spaced the bulbs eight inches apart between the existing snapdragons. Come April, our garden was filled with buttery yellow blooms! After the tulips' color faded, the snapdragons resumed flowering, extending the colorful season.