Even though it\u2019s the dead of winter and you\u2019re bundled up inside, there is no better time to begin planning your next garden project. Gardens have numerous benefits and make for a great spring project. Planning your garden project now ensures you\u2019ll be ready to get to work once the temperatures begin to warm. \u00a0\nWhy Install a Garden\nGardens provide a number of benefits, both for your health and the environment\u2019s health. Green and Healthy Homes and One Green Plant have both detailed why installing a garden can be so worthwhile. \nFresh Food on Your Plate \nDepending on what you choose to plant, you could have access to fresh food from your backyard. Not only is fresh food healthier for you, but it can save you money at the grocery store as well. \n\nWhen you grow food yourself, you control the pesticides that are applied. Additionally, fresh vegetables contain 50% more vitamins and minerals than vegetables sold in the grocery store. Furthermore, the cost to grow vegetables is significantly less than the cost of buying, especially if you are purchasing organic. One seed for a home-grown plant can cost less than a dollar. \u00a0\n\nIf you choose to grow your own vegetables, odds are you\u2019ll end up eating healthier as well. Having access to fresh vegetables is more of an incentive to eat them. Eating a steady diet of fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and gastrointestinal issues. \u00a0\nImprove Your Mental Health \nYour garden can be your backyard escape and sanctuary. It can provide a place to sit, relax, and reflect. There are various fairy garden ideas, rock garden ideas, and flower garden ideas that can be implemented in your backyard\u2019s design. Gardens make for a great place to enjoy the fresh air, soak up the sun, and enjoy your morning coffee or tea before beginning a new day. \n\nGardening can also provide a personal outlet. Many find that time spent maintaining their garden provides relaxation, allowing them to decompress. Maintaining a garden can also provide a sense of purpose and direction. When a garden is successfully built and cared for, there\u2019s a sense of pride knowing that you were directly responsible for the garden\u2019s growth. \u00a0\nThey Benefit the Whole Family \nNot only are gardens beneficial to you, but they can be beneficial to your children as well. Studies have indicated that academic performance is improved when using a garden-based education plan, specifically when it comes to testing scores. \n\nAdditionally, garden-based education can lead to improved self-esteem and increased confidence levels. Studies have shown that gardens are a natural way to combat deficit disorders, which are typically heightened because of feelings of alienation and stress. \n\nMaintaining a garden is also a great opportunity to teach lifelong skills about responsibility and sustainability. Children can also learn about the environment and our relationship with nature. There\u2019s no better family bonding activity than installing and maintaining a garden with your child. \nThe Circle of Life \nGardens boost our ecosystem and are beneficial to native wildlife. Bees especially benefit from gardens. Bees are arguably the most important part of the ecosystem. Without them, many of the plants we know and love would be nonexistent. \n\nUnfortunately, bees are endangered because of pesticide applications, which cause colony collapse disorder. Installing a natural garden can allow bee populations to thrive in your area. \nBuild New Relationships \nSpending time outdoors working in your garden could allow you to meet your neighbors and build new friendships. Additionally, the gardening community is extensive. It is a hobby that is taken up by many, and gardeners form their own community. \n\nExploring the local gardening store could introduce you to new people. While exchanging gardening tips, you could discover that your new friend could actually help you with personal or professional aspects of your life as well. Maintaining gardens allows you to branch out, network, and expand your horizons. \nTypes of Gardens \nMany people limit their garden ideas a basic plant and flower beds, but a garden has the potential to be so much more. Consider installing one of these gardens this spring. Of course, it\u2019s also worth noting that these are just some ideas to get you started. Feel free to explore websites like Pinterest, or let your own imagination run wild when designing your backyard garden oasis. \nFairy Gardens\nFairy gardens are a great way to add fun and flair to your backyard. They typically incorporate figurines, including elves, gnomes, and fairies. They are best for those with an abundance of creative spirit and are great for children. \n\nFairy gardens tend to be the easiest garden to maintain because of their size. They are often smaller than other gardens and are based out of a container. The container can be anything you choose, from a flower pot to an old wagon to a glass bowl. \n\nMaintaining a fairy garden could easily become a year-round activity. For example, you could replace or redress your figurines with each season or holiday. A July 4 gnome could be dressed very patriotically, while a December gnome could be dressed as Santa Claus. \n\nThe other benefit of a fairy garden is that they are easy to transport. If you live in a cold-weather environment that is not conducive to vegetative growth, you can simply relocate your fairy garden indoors for a few months. And, if you ever get bored with where your fairy garden is located outdoors, you can easily up and move it to another spot. \n\nFairy gardens tend to focus on details, and that will show in garden maintenance. When caring for your fairy garden, every tiny detail will matter. You\u2019ll use scissors to manicure small plants, and may spend time focusing on touch-ups, such as repainting your figurines. \n\nFairy gardens typically feature one or two small trees that are the focal point. Many tend to stick with a fairytale theme, adding herbs like sage, rosemary, or lavender that give a woody appearance. \u00a0\n\nIf you\u2019re looking for more fairy garden ideas, Home BNC has provided the Top 50 Miniature Fairy Garden Designs to help spark your creative spirit. County Living has also provided 12 Enchanting Fairy Garden Designs.\nRock Gardens \nRock gardens are a great way to provide a relaxing space in your backyard. Rock gardens are particularly soothing and are great for reflection. Rock gardens can easily blend into your existing backyard for a natural appearance. \n\nWhen designing a rock garden, you\u2019ll want to vary the size of the rocks you use. This will help create the natural appearance you are looking for. You\u2019ll likely need to order larger stones from your local landscaping store and have them delivered. \n\nRocks also tend to look good when incorporated into a hillside. Doing so can create a flowing appearance that blends naturally into your backyard. If you don\u2019t have a natural hillside, consider building a small one with rocks and topsoil. \n\nRock gardens also look good when they incorporate plants into the design. Consider choosing plants that are smaller and not overpowering. Bulbs tend to blend particularly well with rock gardens, including small daffodils, blue-eyed grass, and wild tulips. \n\nRock gardens can also serve practical uses. They are ideal for yards with drainage issues. If you have had problems with runoff or live in an area that receives a lot of rain, installing a rock garden can help alleviate drainage issues. You\u2019ll also want to use sand as your base layer, before adding topsoil, mulch, and rocks. \n\nWhen building your rock garden, don\u2019t shy away from features like a small pond or waterfall either. For more rock garden ideas, check out these 20 from Homedit. \nFlower Gardens \nThe most conventional gardens, flower gardens can instantly make your backyard more vibrant and attractive. Bright colors can be used to bring cheer to your yard. When creating a flower garden, be sure to look up flowers native to your area. This not only helps ensure your flowers will thrive, but it will help prevent your yard from looking out of place. \n\nAlso, research exactly when the flowers should be planted. Many flower species are seasonal and will need to be replaced each year. Make sure you plant them during the time frame that most encourages their growth and health. \u00a0\n\nFor visual consistency in your flower garden, use the rule of three. One plant should be grouped into a set of three in order to maintain visual consistency. Also use lower-growing flowers, such as catmint, to transition between the ground and taller flowers. \n\nWhen creating a flower garden, be sure to put mulch over the topsoil for a clean appearance. Mulch will also reduce the number of weeds in your garden, and will lock-in moisture, allowing your plants to thrive. \n\nYou should also consider adding potted plants around your walkways or patios. These flowers shouldn\u2019t be overwhelming, but should instead serve as accents to the other flower gardens in your yard.