7 High-Tech Online Gardening Tools to Plan the Perfect Garden
Screenshot: Garden Planner Online
Is your dream a Tomato Sauce Garden...or the White House Garden? Or are you still embarrassed about last year's patch -- the one where the lettuce crowded the carrots, the green beans spilled over into the cucumbers, and the edible flowers edged out the tomatoes?
These seven online garden planners help you pull together the perfect plot while offering tips on spacing, planting times, and harvest yields. Read through to find the one that's right for you -- and start planning for next year.
1. Garden Planner Online
Garden Planner Online lets you customize the size, shape, and layout of your garden, adding shrubs, trees, grass, brick patios, flowers, and fencing for a completely custom look to your new backyard.
Once you've finished planning, print out a list of all the plants you chose so you don't end up wandering the aisles at your local garden center.
2. Better Homes and Gardens Plan-a-GardenScreenshot: Better Homes and Gardens Plan-a-Garden
The bright graphics of Better Homes and Garden's Plan-a-Garden let you visualize the hydrangeas, rose bushes, carnations, and tulips of your future garden in clear color, while the easy-to-use program makes it simple to resize your plot of land until you find the one that fits your backyard.
Finish your layout with walkways, bricks, and even patio furniture -- then click and drag the items to make them bigger or smaller or rearrange them without starting from scratch.
3. GrowVeg.comScreenshot: GrowVeg.com GrowVeg.com offers a garden planner specifically tailored to aspiring farm-to-table home chefs -- with a pre-loaded sample that matches the layout of the White House vegetable garden, in case you have an entire South Lawn you're looking to till.
The grid blocks off your land in inches and feet, and the detailed graphics of fruit-bearing trees and in-ground vegetables, from apple trees to zucchini, mean you can come up with a plan that would rival even the most detailed ornamental gardens at your favorite
4. Gardener's SupplyScreenshot: Gardener's Supply
Not sure where to start? Check out the pre-planned plots from Gardener's Supply, and choose the theme that matches your maintenance schedule, eating habits, and land: All-American, Cook's Choice, High Yield, Plant It & Forget It, Salad Bar, or Salsa and Tomato Sauce.
Each plan gives you a 15-plot grid and detailed planting instructions for each vegetable, so you can maximize your output while minimizing your effort. If you'd rather DIY your garden, you can use the blank plot to drag and drop your own favorite veggies for a custom end-result.
5. Garden PuzzleScreenshot: Garden Puzzle Garden Puzzle offers a view that's very different from the rest of the planners on this list: Instead of an aerial, grid-based view of your garden, you can choose your background scenery and install colorful flowers, trees, and bushes that you look at head-on -- so you can tell at a glance if that hydrangea bush your mother-in-law gave you for your birthday will overpower this spring's first tulips.
This planner is geared more toward flowers and shrubs than vegetables, but it's just as handy whether you're redoing your front landscaping or daydreaming about your retirement beach cottage.
6. Plan GardenScreenshot: Plan Garden
With Plan Garden, you can layout your entire vegetable garden online -- no download required -- during a 45-day free trial period.
Along with the classic drag-and-drop graphics and custom-sized plots that are common to most of the other planners on this list, Plan Garden includes a "Know When to Plant" guide that helps you stay on track and a "Harvest Estimator" that allows you to estimate how much of each vegetable you'll yield (which means you can stagger your plantings to keep eating those delicious greens all season).
7. BBC Design Your GardenScreenshot: BBC Design Your Garden
The BBC doesn't maintain its virtual garden planner anymore, but -- lucky for us --they still offer more than two dozen professional garden plans that you can modify for your own space.
From borders that bloom in every season and window boxes designed to thrive by the ocean to perennial-based plans and even a modern rock garden, the PDFs on the site are unique, detailed, easy to follow, and sure to make an impact regardless of how green your thumb is (or isn't).