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Dedicating time to plant a perennial flower garden after buying your new home is like getting a gift that keeps on giving. Each spring when the blooms come back and your once drab yard turns into a display of nature's fireworks, you'll get to sit back and enjoy the view with minimal upkeep and costs.

So, how do you start a perennial garden — a garden that you plant once and reap the benefits from for years to come — and what are the annual upkeep tasks to sustain it?

Step #1: Figure Out Your Signature Landscape Needs

Each area of the country experiences different climates, moisture levels, and soil structures. And each yard within those areas experience different amounts of sun. Before you buy perennial plants, grab an index card and do a little digging to find out your yard's signature needs:

  • Sun Profile: How much sun and shade does your plot of land get? Common characterizations are full sun, full shade, or part sun.
  • Soil Architecture: Grab a soil test kit and find out if your soil is acidic (below pH value of 7), alkaline (above pH value of 7), or neutral (pH value of 7). Next, find the primary make up of your soil (clay, silt, sand, chalk, peat, and loam) — you can use a DIY soil test to help you.
  • Plant Hardiness Zone: Use this map to find your plant hardiness zone.

Once you have this information filled out, bring the index card with you as you shop your local garden center (or online) for perennial plants.

Step #2: Choose Cost Effective Plants that Work in Your Plot

Perennial plants are, by definition, cost-effective because they are going to come back year after year. However, you can be even more cost-effective by making the right choices.

  • Make sure that all plants will thrive in the conditions of your signature landscape.
  • Choose plants that are known to grow into lush, full-sized plants in just a few seasons. This is an easy way to fill out your perennial flower garden on a budget.
  • Shop your local garden center's clearance section for perennial plants. Great deals can be found when you're willing to give the plant a little of your time and energy before planting it in the ground.
  • Plant seeds and bulbs instead of buying fully grown flowers.

Step #3: Plant at the Optimal Time

Your next step is to plant perennial plants at the optimal time for your particular plant zone.

According to Better Homes & Gardens, you'll want to plant perennials either in early spring, or eight weeks before your first frost comes in the fall. Here's when to expect your first frost.

Step #4: Include Annual Upkeep Tasks in Your Home Maintenance Plan

You're taking the time to plant a beautiful perennial flower garden, so you want to make sure it will come back year after year in all of its glory. In order to help it along, there are a few annual upkeep tasks you should add to your overall home maintenance plan:

  • Deadhead Your Plants: You want to take off the dead blooms from your perennial flowers to keep the overall health of the plant at optimal levels.
  • Divide Plants Every So Often: To ward off overcrowding, you'll want to divide perennial plants every few seasons and plant them elsewhere.
  • Water as Needed: Pay attention to the different watering needs of each of your perennial plants, and water accordingly.
  • Fertilize: In early spring, you'll want to spread fertilizer meant for perennials.

Taking the time now to build yourself a perennial flower garden means you will get to enjoy the colors at minimal upkeep costs for years to come.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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