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5 Garden Design Tips from our experts at Best Feeds Garden Centers.

Planting Basics 

Tips for planting on a slope
Consider height, spacing and water needs
• When planting, work your way from the back of a tier to the front.
• Keep the mature size of your plants in mind when spacing them, and space accordingly.
• Plant taller, less drought tolerant plants towards the back, and shorter, trailing, drought-tolerant varieties towards the front

Amend soil
• Turn the soil to get rid of any compaction.
• Amend the soil with things like mushroom compost, cow manure and peat moss, making sure it is thoroughly mixed in.
• Add heat-release fertilizer to the holes for all plantings to further enrich the soil.

Water with the slope in mind

• The bed is planted on a slope, so the lower beds usually get the most water in a heavy rain because gravity pulls the water lower.
• Plants in the higher beds may need more water than those in the lower areas.
• Planting more drought-tolerant plants towards the top is a good solution to the water issue.

Best plants for hilly, rocky terrain: Salvia, sedum, buddleia and portulaca 
 

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Rain Gardens 
A solution for Water Problems


After a heavy rain, if you notice that water tends to pour off your roof, rush down your driveway and end up in the city sewer, a rain garden could be a healthy solution. These shallow depressions are designed to channel and slow the rain down so it can be filtered naturally through the soil. They remain wet for a day or two, then are dry until it rains again. As long as you locate them away from your home’s foundation, a rain garden can be constructed in sun or shade.
Take a look around your property to point out any potential area where water may accumulate. These areas are easy to spot after a heavy rain.
A problem area could be a ditch along the driveway, or a depression at the bottom of a slope.
These areas may be eyesores, as excess water drowns plants and grass and creates bog-like conditions.

Best plants for rain gardens:

Full sun Hibisus, Caladium and elephant ears that like moist soil.. Shade Ferns and Hosta. 

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Kid Friendly  Gardens 

Time to get the kids off the couch and out into the sunshine! Mother nature is still just as awe-inspiring and magical as she ever was, and the back yard is still the best playground. ​

Use a purchased raised bed planter and let the kids have their own planter.
Best plants:
Easy to grow plants such as nasturtium or zinnia flowers
Vegetables such as peas and beans

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Build a Living Wall for Patio Privacy  

Privacy. It’s a luxury desired by many but often not available in the city where homes or balconies abut one another with little to no green space in between. One effective solution is to add a living screen.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to build a tall privacy planter without a lot of sawing and assembly, buy four window boxes and attach them together with long braces along the sides.
Best plants:
Easy to grow plants that a suited for the climate and light requirements. Trailing vine plants have the most dramatic effect. 

Plant a Container with
4 Seasons in Mind

Frequently Asked Questions

What do plants need to grow?

Plants need water, sunlight and nutrition to flourish throughout the season. If using water based fertilizer, feed every 7-14 days when plants are actively growing. A slow release, balanced fertilizer works best.  We recommend Osmocote. One application will last up to 3 months.

What does right plant for the right place mean?

Location-Location-Location!
Before you plant know your zone, for Pittsburgh that's zone 6a.  Always check nursery tags to make sure it will survive the Pittsburgh winters. 
If the tag says full sun, that means 6 hours a day of sun.  Partial sun means 4 hours per day. 
Plant close to water supply, you will be more likely to water.

Can I plant in containers?

YES! Anything that can be planted in the ground can be grown in a container.  Grow vegetables and flowers like zinnia, begonia, fuchsia, celosia, and verbena are just a few of the many blooming annuals sold for container gardening. Tropical plants (think mandevilla, canna, hibiscus) thrive in containers. Shrubs can also be added to your container design.