Photo by: mangpor2004 / Shutterstock.

It’s that time of year when we look forward and make our annual resolutions. It’s probably a good bet that eating healthier and getting more exercise are at the top of your list. The good news is, gardening can help you achieve both of those goals, along with others like learning new things, going green, and having fun! Here are some ideas and inspiration to get you started on your best gardening year yet.

PLANT MORE

  • Mix and match plants like never before. Use Proven Winner’s container garden recipe search to find plants that work well together.
  • Create a relaxing garden space by planting soothing-scented lavender.
  • Research native plants for your area and add them to your landscape.

LEARN SOMETHING NEW

  • Check out what’s trending in garden design and incorporate at least one new idea in your yard or garden.
  • Start a garden journal and keep track of what works — and what doesn’t.
  • Expand your garden library and treat yourself to a new gardening book.
  • Follow Garden Design on Instagram and see what other gardeners are up to, get new ideas, and maybe even share some of your gardening knowledge.
  • Take an online gardening course and learn from an expert, like container guru Karen Chapman, perennials whiz Kerry Ann Mendez, or veggie gardener extraordinaire Joe Gardener.

Photo by: Dayna Springfield.

CARE FOR WILDLIFE

  • Invite local wildlife into your garden with one of these 10 ideas — some as simple as adding a bird bath.
  • Build a home for wildlife and beneficial insects to hide out in and spend the winter. Layer used pallets and fill the gaps with broken clay pots or roofing tiles, twigs, branches and dried seed heads. Use your imagination!
  • Plant a buffet for birds with fruit-bearing shrubs and trees.

MAKE MAINTENANCE EASY

Photo by: Eveline Brown / Pixabay.

TAKE CARE OF PESKY PESTS

GO GREEN

  • Start a compost pile and make your own ‘garden gold’. It’s great for your plants and the environment.
  • Don’t let weeds get the upper hand this year. Learn how to manage them without dangerous chemicals.
  • Clear out harmful chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers and make the switch to natural and organic alternatives. Check with your local county extension office for proper disposal options in your area.

Photo by: Dayna Springfield.

EAT YOUR VEGGIES

  • Try your hand at building a raised bed for your vegetable or cut-flower garden.
  • Plant a few extra vegetables (or if you get a bigger harvest than you can use) and share with a local food pantry. Ampleharvest.org can help you find one nearby.
  • Enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor by hosting a garden party or just eat outside more often—preferably somewhere with a nice garden view.
  • Try something new in your vegetable garden. Check out Veggie Garden Remix, by Niki Jabbour, for inspiration.

GET INVOLVED

Leach Botanical Garden, Portland, OR. Photo by: JJ DeSousa.

SEE NEW GARDENS AND VISIT OLD FAVORITES

  • Get your gardening friends together and enjoy one of Garden Design's self-guided day trips.
  • Visit a local botanic garden or arboretum and become a member or volunteer.
  • Venture farther from home and go on a guided group trip to see gardens in France, Spain, England or other far away places.
  • Make plans to go to a garden show. Our favorite is The Grand Garden Show, held in late summer on Mackinac Island, MI.

HAVE SOME FUN

  • Plant something fun, like sunflowers, with a child and watch how the stalks grow taller than they are.
  • Plant a cut-flower garden and share surprise bouquets with neighbors.
  • Slash your gift-giving budget for the year by growing gifts instead of buying them.

A new year means a fresh start and new opportunities, in life and in your garden. Our best to you in the coming year!

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