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You don’t have to be a master landscaper to create a garden full of beautiful blooms; you just need these easy-to-follow instructions.

Step 1: Test your soil
Test your soil to find out what nutrients it needs. Garden centers often sell do-it-yourself kits, or you can arrange a test through the Cooperative Extension System, a national agricultural network. Find a nearby Extension office on the USDA web site.

Step 2: Pick flowers
Choose your flowers based on which varieties will do well in your climate, and whether you want annuals, which live for a year, perennials, which bloom for several years, or a combination. Also, consider whether you can handle high-maintenance flowers, like roses, or prefer less labor-intensive ones.

Alliums, bearded irises, daffodils, daylilies, impatiens, marigolds, nasturtiums, poppies, and zinnias are among the easiest flowers to grow.

Step 3: Consider seeds
Decide between planting bulbs or small plants, or growing flowers from seeds. Seeds require more work, but are less expensive.

Seeds offer more options because you can order just about any flower you want from a seed catalog.

Step 4: Plan your landscape
Plan your design, including placement and colors. Position smaller flowers in front of the larger ones. Make sure to place blooms that require a lot of light in a sunny spot.

Step 5: Till the land
Prepare the soil by digging out grass and weeds with a spading fork, raking away rocks and debris, and then breaking up the soil with a rototiller, shovel, or hand trowel. Next, work in any nutrients your soil needs with a hoe. Finish by raking the land into a smooth surface.

Step 6: Plant your flowers
Plant your seeds or bulbs according to the package directions, and then water the area.

If you add mulch – a protective covering around plants such as sawdust or compost – wait until the flowers are a few inches tall. Don’t overmulch: An inch should suffice.

Step 7: Fertilize
Add an extended-release fertilizer. Use your soil test as a guide for which fertilizer to use.

Step 8: Keep them watered
Water your flower beds whenever the surface soil begins to dry. Giving them a good soaking a couple of times a week is better than daily light watering.

Step 9: Show off your blooms
Have a garden party to show off your blooms.

Did You Know?
It’s easier to revive a plant that’s been under-watered than to save one that’s gotten too much water.

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