Here's how to prepare for your trip, spot healthy plants, and select the right tools.
Survey your site and take notes. Be specific about how much land is available, how much sun it gets, and whether it’s dry or wet. If you are not sure about the condition of your soil, bring a small sample with you, buy a soil test kit, and ask a staff member to help you analyze the results.
Take pictures. If you’re planting a foundation bed along one side of the house, for example, bring in a photo to reference where windows, utilities, and existing plants are located.
Bring along the pots you plan to use. Or take photos of them (and jot down the measurements on the back). This will help a salesperson guide you to the right type and size of plants.
Leaf through garden magazines and books to find plants you like. Make a list of names or bring in pictures of your favorites. Keep in mind that many people end up using a mix of perennials (“permanent” shrubs, trees, and plants) and annuals (varieties that bloom for one season).