3 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Creating Your Garden

By avoiding common pitfalls such as choosing the wrong plants, planting in the wrong place, and neglecting essential maintenance.
Posted On:
April 10, 2024

Trials & Tribulations of Creating a Garden: Avoiding 3 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Creating Your Garden

Starting your journey to create a new garden is an exciting and heady experience. There are so many plants to choose from, especially at this time of year and into May, everything looks so colourful, vibrant and fresh. Combine this with the lure of a gorgeous outdoor ‘room’ just fuels our enthusiasm to get started and reimagine our gardens. However, amidst the excitement, it's crucial to tread carefully and avoid some common pitfalls that can derail your gardening aspirations. In this blog, I'll will look at the three prevalent mistakes made when starting a new garden, with a focus on choosing the wrong plants, placing them in the wrong location, and the potential consequences of these errors in terms of time, effort, and cost.

Wrong Plants, Wrong Place:

One of the most fundamental mistakes gardeners (new and experienced) make is selecting plants without considering their compatibility with the garden's environment. It's easy to be drawn to what’s in bloom at the time of purchase, the amazing colours or the scent of a plant, exotic species that need a lot of sun whilst also being sheltered, or shade-loving plants that will suffer in a sun-soaked border without fully understanding each plants needs in terms of aspect, sunlight hours, soil type, and climate.
Planting the wrong plants in the wrong place can lead to multiple issues. Imagine growing shade-loving ferns in direct sunlight or placing drought-tolerant plants in a shady corner. Not only will these plants struggle to thrive, but they may also become susceptible to pests, diseases, and stunted growth.

To avoid these mistakes, take the time to research each plant's requirements thoroughly. Consider factors such as sunlight exposure, soil composition, moisture levels, and hardiness zones. By choosing plants that are well-suited to your garden's conditions, you'll set yourself up for success and minimise the need for costly replacements later on. A great place to reference this would be on the Shoot website; www.shootgardening.co.uk you can sign up for as little as £9 per month and search for plants based on many criteria, such as flowering time, foliage, soil type, aspect, sunlight, to name a few.

Loss of Time and Season:

Another common mistake gardeners make is underestimating the time and effort required to establish a new garden. From clearing/creating the beds and borders to preparing the soil, from sourcing and planting your chosen plants to creating a thriving low maintenance garden. All of which demands patience, dedication, and careful planning. However, when mistakes are made, precious time can be lost, and entire growing seasons may pass without achieving the desired results. Planting the wrong plants or neglecting essential maintenance tasks can lead to poor growth, pest infestations, and potentially the need for costly replacements.

Furthermore, if significant errors are discovered mid-season, such as realising that a plant is incompatible with its surroundings or suffering from nutrient deficiencies, it may be too late to salvage the current growing season. This can be especially disheartening for gardeners who have invested time, money, and effort into their garden so far.

To reduce the risk of time loss and seasonality setbacks, approach garden planning with a long-term perspective. Take the time to assess your garden site thoroughly, do a soil test or research online www.landis.org.uk/soilscapes/# and carefully plan your planting scheme not just based on what you like, the colours and textures of your plants, but also on local climate patterns and seasonal fluctuations, i.e. what grows well in Torquay, could well struggle in Inverness. By investing in some planning time and thinking about the maintenance required, you can maximise your garden's potential to thrive and minimise the risk of setbacks in terms of time and cost.

Correcting a Mistake; the Cost of Replacing Plants:

Perhaps one of the most tangible consequences of gardening mistakes is the financial cost of replacing plants that fail to thrive or that perish due to poor planning or lack of maintenance.

To avoid unnecessary expenses and minimise the risk of plant loss, start by setting a realistic budget for your garden project. Prioritise essential investments such as feeding and nurturing the soil before planting, do you need an irrigation system so you spend little time watering, and larger more mature shrubs or trees that are not only well-suited to your garden's environment but will give you structure and a sense of an established garden.

If you are on a tight budget, consider starting small and gradually expanding your garden as your confidence and expertise grow, rather than splurging on a large-scale project from the outset.

Furthermore, take advantage of cost-saving strategies such as growing plants from seed, participating in plant swaps or community gardens, and sourcing materials from local nurseries. By being resourceful and investing time in the planning stage, you can create a beautiful garden without breaking the bank.


Creating a new garden is a labour of love that requires careful planning, attention to detail, and a basic knowledge of your soil, aspect and hours of sunshine. By avoiding common pitfalls such as choosing the wrong plants, planting in the wrong place, and neglecting essential maintenance, you can set yourself up with a fabulous outdoor space that you love from the first year and for years to come.

Remember to approach your garden project with patience and a growth mindset; remember you cannot rush nature and there is always something new to learn, and don't be afraid to seek guidance from experienced gardeners or local nurseries or garden centres. They are a great resource and can help with plant combinations and maintenance. With patience, dedication and determination, you can create a wonderful garden that reflects your personality and lifestyle.

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