Find My Store
a person kneeling in a garden

Gardening for Beginners

Gardening for Beginners

Transform your outdoor space into a haven for you, your loved ones, and the pollinators! Gardening offers numerous advantages, and at Pike Nurseries, we are dedicated to demonstrating them to you. This guide will get you started with some basic tips, then come see our horticulture experts in our stores who can guide you taking the next steps to getting your first garden started.

a group of flowers

Location & Sun Exposure

You can either plant in the ground, in raised beds, or in pots on your porch, patio, or balcony. Wherever you choose the plant, it's important to know how much direct sunlight your spot gets. Once you know your light, choose plants that will thrive in that environment.

  • Full Sun: 6-8 hours of direct sun each day

  • Partial Sun: 3-6 hours of direct sun in the afternoon

  • Partial Shade: 3-6 hours of direct sun in the morning

  • Full Shade: Less than 3 hours of direct sun, or filtered/dappled light all day

The video below will help explain these lighting categories further.

a garden with flowers and trees

VIDEO: Light for Outdoor Plants

Prepare the Soil

In containers or raised beds: Use organic, nutrient-rich Black Gold Potting Soil which allows for proper drainage but also has moisture-retaining elements that prevent pots from drying out too quickly so you can water less frequently.
In the ground: Our native clay soil can be very compact, does not drain well, and lacks nutrients. It's critical to amend your native soil to improve aeration, drainage, and add nutrients. Blend organic Black Gold Planting Mix with the native soil at a 50/50 ratio to improve soil structure. Additional compost or worm castings will boost nutrients and beneficial microbes in the soil.

When you're ready to plant, add organic Dr. Earth Root Zone starter fertilizer for all your outdoor plants to jumpstart root growth and prevent transplant shock.
a shovel digging in the dirt
a woman holding a small shrub in a plastic pot

Know What to Plant & When

We understand this is the most complicated step to starting your garden. We're here to help!

Here in the Southeast, we're able to plant year-round, but there are optimal times for planting certain things. Our stores are always stocked with seasonally-appropriate blooms that will perform well in your garden at home.

Our in-store plant experts will show you around the greenhouse and help you select the best plants for your space.

Our Tips for an Eco-Friendly Garden

Sustainable Gardening

  1. Choose Plants Carefully: Native, waterwise, and pollinator-attracting plants will adapt more readily to your garden and require less supplemental water and fertilizer.
  2. Go Organic: Use organic products when possible. This improves soil health and adds beneficial microbes and nutrients to boost the garden's ecosystem.
  3. Thoughtful Watering: Water efficiently and use mulch to minimize water use and reduce waste.
  4. All-Natural Pest Control: Use beneficial bugs like ladybugs and praying mantises and companion plants to help deter pests.
a person holding flowers

Watering Tips for the Garden

Water in the early morning to reduce evaporation - same as your lawn!
Water between the hours of 6:00 - 10:00 a.m. This will reduce water lost to evaporation, saving you money and conserving water. Avoid watering at night which encourages fungus.

Switch from overhead sprinklers to soaker hoses
Soaker hoses conserve water by dripping water right to the roots of the plant. Snake the soaker hose throughout the garden placing it about a foot away from the base of shrubs.

Add mulch to your garden
Mulch helps insulate the ground and conserves water so you have to water less frequently

Want to learn more?

10-step guide to planting new trees and shrubs.

Confused by cubic feet?

Use this soil calculator to determine how much soil you need.

Gardening isn't just for fun!

There are tons of benefits to you and the environment.