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Beginning a Yard

Start with a plan and research how to implement it.

By Debbie Roland, Master Gardener

Permian Basin Master Gardeners all hope you had a great time over the holidays with your family and friends! As we move into the new year most gardeners are starting to think about their gardens and yards.

Many people have purchased new houses or maybe you’ve moved and want to revamp a tired yard. That can feel overwhelming, and you may be wondering where to start.

Begin with a plan. Do you like formal, native, shady, or something else entirely? Walk around your property at different times of the day. See where there are shady spots and other places where there is nothing but sun all day. If you have kids or pets, decide on a designated area for the kids to play or the animals to spend their time.

Walkways always give a feeling of calmness and make you feel like they are leading you to a new unfound space. They can be made of brick, flat rocks, mulch or concrete. There are many options and lots of sites on the internet to send you in a direction you may not have even thought of yet.

Do you want a vegetable or herb garden included in your landscape? If so, it will require at least six hours of direct sun. When gardening, it’s a good idea to only grow food that your family will actually eat. If you have a family of four don’t plant twenty tomato plants and fifteen peppers. Be realistic about that your needs are.

Now pick out places for your flowerbeds. Start with just a few beds. You can always add more later if you want to. A yard and garden take time and money and it’s best to see how much time (and money) you really have to devote to it.

If your bed is up against a fence or house, plant the tall plants in the back, midsized plants in the middle and smaller border plants in the front. Always read the label to see how big the plant will get. If you are planting a 4” pot it is hard to imagine that it can be 4’ by 4’ in a year or so but it happens all the time. It’s much easier to measure now than dig out a very large plant later.

Up against your house is not the place for trees since they can damage the foundation. Do research to see just where the tree(s) you are considering should be planted.

If you have a shady area, look at the website (see below) for plants that will grow here. Remember, never plant directly against the trunk of a tree. This is a spot for mulch and always pull the mulch a short distance away from the trunk of the tree.

Please go to our website to see which plants are recommended for our area (

If you have questions, call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700.

Additional information, and our blog for access to past articles, is available at Click on “Resources”.

Walkways are a benefit. Tall plants in the back!


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