Take time before visiting your local garden center or nursery to gain a good understanding your soil, the quantity and quality of light in your landscape, and your space available for planting. Armed with this information, you will make better plant choices, and better choices will save time and money, and improve your chances for a healthy, beautiful landscape.
- Understand your soil. Healthy soil is like building a good foundation for your house, and understanding your soil type is the first step to a healthy landscape. The best option is to submit a soil sample to the U of M Soil Test Laboratory. Instructions for how to collect and submit a soil sample are found on the U of M Soil Test Laboratory website. The cost for a routine test is $17. You'll receive information in a couple weeks that includes your soil type, pH, % organic matter, fertilizer and lime recommendations, etc. Explanations are included on the back of your results.
At minimum, you should know whether your garden soil is clayey or sandy by doing the soil ribbon test. Clay soil does not drain well while sandy soil drains too quickly. Mixing in compost can help in both of these situations. Amending Soils for Perennial Beds
- Observe the quality and quantity of light in your landscape. Plants are usually labeled with The Best Plants for 30 Tough Sites
- Know how much space you have available. The goal is to choose plants that will easily fit