Best Plants and Trees For Your First Garden 

Gardening is a popular pastime for many individuals and families throughout the United States. In fact, a quarter of U.S. households have one! With the many plant options one can choose from, this statistic probably comes as no surprise. No matter what your taste in aesthetics or vegetables, there is a garden style to match your preferences.

In this article, we’re going to look at which plants and trees are ideal for first-time gardeners. So, grab a notepad and pen to jot down some of your favorites in our list to pick up at your local plant and tree nursery later.

Top Flowers to Raise in Your Garden

One of the great things about flower gardens is you don’t need a lot of space to create a beautiful display of colorful blossoms. They don’t mind being a bit crowded together, and some varieties thrive under a shady tree. To help you get started, we recommend incorporating a few of the below flowers into your growing space:


If you need to brighten up a shady area of your yard that doesn’t get much sunlight breaking through because of dense shade, the Periwinkle is your go-to flower. Its purply-blue flowers bloom in late spring and are tough enough that their roots can improve erosion issues around trees.

Bleeding Heart

This heart-shaped flower creates an eye-catching burst of color with its vibrant pink shades and uniquely formed leaves and blossoms. Consider keeping these flowers in shady areas of your garden, so they don’t grow dormant during the hotter months.

Wild Columbine

Even though this flower is perennial, they hold up well in dry conditions and showcase delicate blossoms. The state of Colorado loved this plant so much that it was made the state flower!


Another brightly colored flower popular in gardens with a mix of sun and shade is the Daffodil. Their trumpet-like blossom and sunny yellow hues are easy to maintain. Because this flower stems from an underground bulb, you can plant early and enjoy a spring filled with blooms that will grow larger and more pronounced each year. I


Part of the succulent variety, stonecrops are a wonderful flowering plant that can withstand drought. It’s a popular choice for flower gardens because they attract butterflies and bees, providing blooms late into the fall and early winter.


This bushy flowering plant is a great option to fill in larger spaces in your garden. It enjoys the shade as much as the sunlight and produces a variety of miniature flowers in shades of purple, white, and pink.

Foamy Bells

For hummingbird and butterfly watchers, foamy bell plants provide plenty of chances to watch them in action. This is a perennial that is hardy enough to handle extreme temperatures and is disease-resistant.

Lily of the Valley

Known for its light perfumey scent, and elegant shape, this flower is hardy but toxic. If you put it in your garden, plant it in hard-to-reach areas where humans and pets can’t come into contact with it.

Trees to Set Your Garden Apart

If you are new to gardening, you may think a tree would just get in the way of your other plants. However, this isn’t the case. A well-placed tree or two can provide just the right amount of shade and wind protection to offer your flowers a break from crazy temperatures and weather.

Also, planting trees in your garden in the right place would also add resale value to your property as they also serve different aesthetics. So, when it comes to proper care and maintenance, it is good to hire someone, or finding an arborist would be a great choice to take care of it.

Below are our top picks for trees in a beginner garden:


If your growing space is in direct sunlight and has limited room, you may wonder how you’re going to protect your flowers from too much heat and sunlight. Olive trees are the perfect solution because of their slow growth rate and shorter stature. Just make sure your region is ideal for this tree species since they are sensitive to freezing temperatures and require additional protection during extreme conditions.


If you want a statement tree in your yard that doesn’t mind flowering plants underneath, the magnolia is an amazing option. There are a few varieties to choose from, one of the more popular blooming gorgeous pink blossoms. Just make sure you have room for it to grow since these can reach nearly 20′ in height and have a girth of 13′ over a few decades.

Crab Apple

Consider planting a crab apple tree for its lovely white blossoms in the spring and bountiful miniature fruits in the fall that have a variety of recipes to use them. The leaves will also provide an amazing range of hues throughout the year going from green to gold, red, and a deep scarlet. Be sure it has room to branch out and grow since the scale of these trees can vary significantly.

Ornamental Cherry

The pink and white petals of this tree are unmistakable and often seen in artwork. If you want a tree that has a romantic appeal, you’ll love the weeping branches of this variety and the dramatic effect it will have in your garden. This tree maxes out around 10′ in height, growing about a foot a year with not too much girth getting in the way of other plants nearby. You’ll enjoy how easy these are to care for, so just be sure it receives full sun in well-draining soil.


A member of the ash family, rowan trees are a great option if your garden is on the small side. This variety produces berries in the fall and can provide you with birdwatching opportunities. Depending on the type of rowan you buy, you can get one that blossoms in the summer and has berries that go from pink to white in winter. These trees tend to reach about 13′ in height and girth.


Another berry-producing tree variety, the Hawthorn is well-loved in the countryside, creating a hedgerow effect. It flowers white blossoms that eventually produce red berries in the fall, which wildlife will enjoy. Plus, it can grow in almost any condition, making it a tree that will last you many years.

Final Thoughts

With all of these marvelous options for plants and trees to put in your garden, you’ve probably dreamed up several ideas for the perfect layout. The main factors to consider when purchasing any of these plants are the soil conditions you’ll be placing them in, if they can tolerate your region’s weather, and having enough space for them to thrive. Be sure to speak with a knowledgeable horticulturist at your local nursery before purchasing to ensure the plants you choose are ideal for your garden area. Then, get to planting and enjoy the beautiful landscape you’ve created!



Jeff Campbell