Once your soil is prepared and supplemented with compost and other organic matter, it’s time to plan your plots. Real Simple suggests consulting the USDA’s plant hardiness zone chart before picking out flowers and vegetables; your local garden center can also recommend plants based on how much sun and shade your garden gets. To keep a flower garden blooming throughout the season, mix mostly perennials with a few annuals, says Yard Crashers’ Chris Lambton, and maintain it throughout the season. “It’s also good to plant according to height, making sure that taller plants don’t block the sun from shorter ones.”
While most garden tasks are done in the spring, fall is a great time to do some planting, too. For best results, start planting at least six weeks before the first frost, Better Homes & Gardens says. Spring-blooming bulbs such as daffodils and winter aconite must go in before winter, and leafy greens such as Swiss chard and most root vegetables thrive in cooler temperatures. Plant new grass, trees and shrubs now to help them get established ahead of the dormant season. And perennials such as peonies should be planted in the fall, alongside groundcover plants such as hostas.