How-To Ideas

How to Have a Self-Guided Tour of Your Garden

garden tour

It looks like it will be another stellar year to keep up beautifully with our gardens! However, only a few people ever truly enjoy them. Consider this: have a self-guided tour of your garden.

It takes some work, depending on how intricate you want to make it. Mine was for a one day period in summer, and in the eight hours I had a great response from those who toured my garden.

To Prepare for the Garden Tour
  • Take inventory of garden points-of-interest and create a numbered list.
  • Buy small marker stakes on which you can write the numbers.
  • Walk your garden in a circuit and place the numbered markers by the featured items.
  • If a plant is out of bloom, and you have a photo of it in bloom, enlarge it at a print shop to 8×10, put the photos in plastic page protectors, and tape them to tall stakes near the featured plant.
  • Use blue painter’s tape to make arrows on hardscape areas to show the path people should take as they follow the numbered markers.
  • Clean up your garden; blow off paths and walking areas. If desired, place bouquets of garden flowers at strategic points.
  • Place some small bottled waters in a bucket or on a table where people can grab one individually, and put a receptacle nearby for empties to be recycled.
  • Have a sign-out book, so folks can leave comments. And hand sanitizer on the same table so they can sanitize after commenting.
Prepare The Garden Tour Materials

Using your notes, write a narrative that covers the view at each number. Highlight the key points in bold for each number so folks can read more or less as they desire.

Invite your selected group a couple days ahead of the event (send an email or flier), and indicate the following guidelines and your location:

The hours for viewing and how long it may take. Mine was estimated at approximately 30 minutes.

Self-guided tour instructions: Take one paper guide per group; do not replace it when you are done. Take it with you when you leave and dispose of it.

Numbered markers in the garden will guide you; they will correspond to the numbered items on the guide.

If you arrive and someone else is just starting, give them some leeway before you begin. The tour will be a circular route so you should be able to keep your distance.

Do not touch anything as much as possible and please be careful and watch where you are going.

Bring an umbrella if there is a chance of rain; if it starts thundering and/or lightning, please leave the garden and seek shelter.

Depending on the time of year and insect activity, spray repellent before you come.

Make a mental note of questions to ask that can be submitted to the host gardener afterwards.

Ask for an RSVP for a count of how many guides to prepare. Assure them ‘no worries’ if you can’t show up the actual day.

Once all these things are done, create enough handouts and finish your preparations.

It was a lot of fun and I got excellent feedback from folks in our neighborhood who attended my garden tour.

I’d advise inviting a smallish group so folks can enjoy it more easily. I had success with inviting my local garden club and neighbors.

Give it a try and have fun showing off your garden this year.

Copy link