Before planting a garden, perform a soil test to determine whether amendments are necessary, make the needed amendments, and add organic compost to the soil to improve drainage and provide the plants nutrients. Determine which areas of your lawn receive full sun, and plant vegetables and perennial flowers in those areas. Plant shade-tolerant plants in areas that receive just a few hours of full sun each day.
When purchasing plants, ask about their ideal light, water and soil conditions. When growing seeds, read the seed packets for information about these conditions. Typically, vegetables need at least six hours of full sun each day and about 1 inch of water per week.
In regions with poor soil, consider growing vegetables or flowers in raised garden beds filled with high-quality gardening soil. Typically, planting gardens in the spring is ideal, since the danger of frost has passed.
Use fertilizer sparingly after establishing the plants to promote growth, and add a layer of mulch to their base to conserve water and eliminate weeds. If necessary, tie tall plants such as tomatoes to a wooden stake or trellis to provide support. Disinfect gardening tools on a regular basis to prevent plant diseases in the garden.