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African American woman watering plants

Source: Blend Images/Moxie Productions / Getty

One of the best things about home is having the space to relax and unwind after the demands of your day. And one of the absolute best ways to do so is through the creation of your own little homegrown Garden of Eden.

Gardening is a centuries-old practice that is found across cultures and is known for its relaxing benefits. But while you may think gardening is only for those with sprawling lands and lots of free time, it’s actually a great hobby that anyone can do with the proper tools. Whether you have an acre of land or a small patio to work with, you can create your own garden to help you connect with nature and give yourself that peaceful oasis.

Here’s how to get started:

Picking your plot

If you have tons of outdoor space, then consider yourself blessed. All you’ll need is a relatively flat piece of land that has access to water and sunlight. It’s actually best to start out small (think a 10×10 plot or less), focusing on a few small containers, a small plot, or a raised bed that you can create via tools from your local hardware store. You’ll want to keep your plot separate from a walking area, if possible, as you want to make sure you’re not going to step on it.

But if you’re an apartment dweller (like most of #TeamBeautiful), you don’t have to abandon all hope. In fact, some of the most beautiful outdoor spaces are ones created in small areas. If you have a patio or terrace, you can get multiple containers and start from there. Keep in mind that container plants will need more water than plants in the ground and they will be more susceptible to temperature changes. Make sure you give them plenty of space to grow and adequate fertilizer, since they will not be able to get it naturally from the ground.

If all you’ve got is a windowsill and a fire escape, you can STILL grow your own spices and small plants. Window boxes are a great (and not to mention beautiful) way to grow your own small garden. Make sure to secure the sill tightly to the window, fill about three-quarters of the way with soil and organic matter, and then get to planting.

Picking your plants

When deciding what you want to plant, it’s best to keep a few things in mind. First, always consider season and climate. If you know you live in a place that doesn’t get much rain, or doesn’t have tons of sunlight access, obviously that can affect your garden. Or, alternatively, if you know your climate is cold, you’ll want to keep that in mind when choosing your plants.

Second, start small. You don’t want to try to cultivate too many plants and then find yourself overwhelmed when it comes to maintenance. It’s best to nail down caring for a few key plants and then build from there.

Third, ask your home and garden store experts which plants and veggies will work best for your climate and shade access. Perhaps you can bring a photo with you to show them the space and the type of light your plot will get.

Finally, make sure to tend to your garden for at least a few minutes a day. Checking on them can help you know what’s thriving and what needs a little more TLC. It can also help you keep track of pests and deal with them early on (our advice, don’t always reach for the insecticide, as there are tons of less harmful alternatives that your home and garden specialist can advise you on).

Do you have garden tips and tricks? Share them with us in the comments below!

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