I am a first time homeowner in Barrington, IL (Zone 5). The previous homeowner let the landscaping go in disarray. I'm eager to renovate the yard now that it is almost April, but I have no idea where to start. I would like to remove old shrubs and plants and design a whole new garden for our acre of property. I'm not sure what I need to do with the soil first and what time of year I can start planting. Help!
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
First, you should check the soil to make sure you have good drainage and to find out what soil texture you have. It's also good to get a pH test, or a few on different areas of your property. There are usually DIY versions of each of these tests, or you can send them to your local extension service or a lab for analysis. Then, you can correct any problems and choose plants that are appropriate for your site.
The best time to plant shrubs is in fall, but they can also be planted in spring if necessary. Other plants such as flowers and herbs can be planted in spring, usually after the last frost date in your area, but it's best to look up the planting date for each variety you get.
Here are some other articles that might help: