Thursday, April 11, 2013

DIY Garden Sunlight Chart (How to Plan for Your Garden)

Virginia weather leaped from arctic chill to blistering equator this week. Venturing out of the house without a heavy overcoat has been nice except when I have to look at my barren yard. All of the fun new projects popping up around Blogland have me dreaming about fresh flowers and outdoor entertaining. I have visions of hydrangeas, peonies, roses, and marigolds. I don't know that this year's budget will permit a large overhaul of our outdoor living areas, but it is wise to plan ahead. Today, I'm going to share a Gardening Tip with you. Take a peek at my Garden Sunlight Chart.

A few years back, I took a couple of days to chart the sunny/shady areas in the backyard. It was really helpful when choosing a plant to know which areas of my yard were full sun vs. partial shade, etc. I kept it on the counter next to the kitchen sink. It overlooks the back yard, making it easy for me to remember to fill it in.
DIY Garden Sunlight Chart (Gardening Tips), from Serenity Now

I made a very rough sketch of the back of my house and the back yard. 
DIY Garden Sunlight Chart (Garden Tip), from Serenity Now

Clearly, it's not to scale. The scribbles that look like clouds are large bushes. I know you're shocked I don't have an art degree.

I assigned different letters/colors to certain areas of the yard and then wrote down what kind of sunlight each area had at different points in the day. 
How to Make a Sunlight Chart for Garden Planning, from Serenity Now

For example, section D (blue) is full sun most of the day, and was the perfect spot to grow tomatoes. They more than quadrupled in size that year. Section E (red) is mostly shade, and was a terrific spot for my hydrangea bushes. (I also have hydrangea tips on the blog!) 
How to Plan Your Garden with a Sunlight Chart, from Serenity Now

This might seem really boring, but I am learning that planning is essential to gardening. I wish I'd known that when I planted my daffodil bulbs a few years ago. It looks like someone just came and threw fistfuls of daffodils in my front flower beds. I may not have the resources to grow my dream garden this year, but I can take steps in the right direction.
How to Plan Your Garden with a Sunlight Chart, from Serenity Now

{What's your favorite thing to plant, come Spring?}

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I hope you'll click your "Pin It" button to add this post to Pinterest, or a +1 for Google+. And I always appreciate kind comments!

*This post was originally live here on the blog a few years ago, but I thought it would be nice to edit it and bring it back for new readers. 


  1. Pinned it...
    I like that idea, and you don't have to be an arts major to draw those cute trees, or the bushy clouds. I wish I had this when I did live in a house with a backyard. I now have a balcony (apartment) and it's hard to think of what to put out there.

  2. oh man, i so need to do this! everything in my yard is planted willy nilly. even my hostas, which i thought i was planting in shade, and partially in sun b/c the sun is at a different place and for longer in the summer. oy.

  3. Awesome idea! Saving this for the future when I have my own garden and back yard to plant for. I'm such the color coder in all aspects of my life, this is perfect!


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