Beginners’ gardening tips

To celebrate National Gardening Week 2020, here are some tips to get any beginner started in the garden, even if your ‘garden’ is actually just a balcony.

Why is National Gardening Week so important?

According to The Royal Horticultural Society, the world’s leading gardening charity:

“National Gardening Week is the nation’s biggest celebration of gardening and raises awareness of the difference that gardens and gardening can make to the lives of everyone in the UK. We’re calling on gardeners up and down the country to go out into gardens or balconies as a way to look after their physical health and wellbeing, and ‘keep gardening’. It’s especially important for those spending more time at home at the moment as it’s a great mood boosting exercise.”

How to get started?

Start small

Balcony with colourful pot plants

Whatever size your space is, it’s easy to start gardening if you pick one thing you’d like to change, update or grow. Plants and gardens need lots of TLC, so start small and scale up if you’re enjoying it. You could start with something as simple as mowing your overgrown lawn, or planting a hanging basket for your balcony.

Itching to brighten up your road or public patches near your home? Have a read about guerrilla gardening. Or maybe you’d like to build a shed to house gardening tools? Read our essential advice for building a shed.


Before you start, you’ll need to research the type of plants that will best suit you and your plot.

Plants need sun, water, soil, nutrients and space to grow, but the amount of those needed varies between species. If you’re looking to start a small vegetable patch or grow tomatoes, you’ll need a spot with lots of direct sunlight. But don’t worry if you don’t get much sunlight – there are plenty of plants (such a strawberries) which prefer the shade.

Lady relaxing by vegetable patch

You’ll also need to check your soil type as different plants thrive in different kinds of soil. Find out what kind of soil you have on the Gardener’s World Magazine website.

Next up, do you want to purchase your plants as seeds or as a starter plant? Seeds are cheaper and lots of vegetables and flowers are easy to grow from seeds. That said, a small starter plant could be simpler if that species is difficult to grow from a seed, plus it will look more appealing sooner.

If you’re keen to create an insect-friendly garden, we have plenty of tips on our Homeowner Advice Centre.

Get the tools you need

Watering can and trowels

When you’re starting out you don’t need lots of gardening gadgets, unless you’re gadget mad! The main things you’ll need to get going include a watering can or water spray, a small trowel (you could use a spoon or fork), containers and potting soil. For larger gardens or projects you may want a digging fork or lawn mower.

Many smaller gardening jobs can be carried out by one person but if you’d like to take on a more ambitious gardening project, it’s always best to hire a professional gardener to get your project growing! Find a gardener near you.

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