By Kathy Woodard
Whether you are moving  to a new home or have lived in your residence for a long time, there are certain home improvement projects that can spruce up your landscape and add value to your property , while also being an enjoyable activity for you and your family. As the top hobby in the country and a fun home improvement project , gardening beautifies your property, relieves stress, offers good exercise and even supplies you with fresh herbs for your dinner. Not to mention, it allows you the opportunity to commune with nature in your own backyard! Not knowing how to garden can stop many people from picking up that first trowel or planting that gorgeous rose they have long admired. No need to fear those hydrangeas, beginners can easily learn how to garden by following these simple tips.
Learn, learn, learn.
There are so many resources now for learning about gardening. Libraries and book stores overflow with gardening books and the internet has a wealth of information. Consider joining a local gardening club or online forum. Start a notebook where you can keep magazine pages of yards or plants you’ve admired, notes from online searches, or snapshots of your yard, both before you start gardening and as you progress.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
The biggest mistake beginner gardeners make is to start with too large a garden, or to use plants that require an expert’s care. You can always add more to your garden as you gain experience; nothing is as off putting to a newbie as a huge garden that turns, practically overnight, from gorgeous blooms to overrun weeds. Talk about taking the bloom off the rose! It’s common to quit gardening after a bad experience, so don’t let this mistake choose for you. Start small. Start simple.
Plan… but be flexible.
Make sure you spend some time drawing out a plan for your new garden. Make lists of plants that you would like to try, and research what times of year they bloom or fruit and what their special needs are. Group plants with similar needs together. Make sure shade plants are planted in shade, and sun plants in the sun. All that have been said don’t be afraid to try something new. Sometimes a volunteer plant will pop up and look just gorgeous right where it is. Other times you will have chosen a certain plant for a site and find that even after all your preparation, it doesn’t do well there. So, move it! Head to the nursery with a list, but don’t be afraid to substitute a plant for a new find. (Be careful with this one, you may come home with twice the plants you need!) Also, make sure that you purchase the proper gardening tools  and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Find a passion within your garden.
Once you learn a bit about how to garden, most beginners find a niche in gardening that ignites their passion. Find it, and enjoy it. Wildlife gardening, growing your own food, growing flowers for your own arrangements or water gardens complete with koi and living water plants are common passions. Letting yourself find that connection with the outdoors that speaks to you will only enhance your love of gardening all the more.
Consider hiring help.
If you love the idea of having a garden, or have gotten in a little over your head, hiring a gardener  can be the perfect solution.
• Decide what kind of help you need. Do you need just regular mowing and fertilizing, while you take care of the flower beds? Do you want your gardener to do it all? Are you somewhere in between? Knowing what you need and what you can afford is the first step.
• Ask for reference from family and friends.
• Choose a garden service you can communicate with well. The last thing you want is for your new “help” to cut down the prize hydrangea you have been growing all season, or to use pesticides on your organic vegetables.
Learning how to garden is a fun and healthy hobby for beginners. Just follow these tips to get turn all your fingers into “green thumbs”!