Keep your garden design simple in the beginning and allow it to evolve as your gardening experience grows. Plant simple rows, then add color and texture using container plants that you can move at a whim. Use plants to fill the empty spaces of your yard, making sure they will mature to an appropriate size. Don't be afraid to mix flowers and vegetables.
Perennials are a good choice if the time you can devote to maintenance is limited. Plant and mulch your perennials, keep them watered and fertilized, and they typically need only periodic trimming and dead-heading to keep them looking good. Many perennials can grow for two or three seasons before they need to be divided, which further cuts your labor. Newly planted perennials may seem sparse at first, but they will grow and fill your beds.
A garden is where you plant it, and if you don't have a large yard, you can make any strip of soil work. Use space that might otherwise be unsightly. A strip of land along your driveway or along a street can make an excellent place to grow flowers or vegetables. Plant along a fence, and let the fence be a support for tall flowers or climbing beans. Fill large containers with something unexpected like cherry tomatoes or chili peppers and feature them on a sunny porch.
Shady Corner Garden
A shady corner is a good place to plant a garden. Whether the shade is from a tree or because it's on the north side of a fence or building, create a quiet place to unwind. Use the space for a garden bench or some lawn chairs. Plant lush ferns or colorful caladiums, easy-care begonias or impatiens. Add a birdbath, bird feeder and perhaps some pleasant wind chimes to create a relaxing mood.
A color garden will break the green expanse of an extended lawn. Plant colorful flowers and foliage that complement each other. Choose varieties that can be used as cut flowers to extend some of the color inside your home. A color garden is often good for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds, too.
Retaining walls, brick edgings, terraced slopes and other stony areas can be planted as rock gardens. Plant the spaces in crumbly retaining walls with ground covers and vining plants to add some beauty. Many herbs thrive in rock garden conditions. Low-growing creeping thyme or Roman chamomile are hardy covers for barren spots.