The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Beautiful Garden in Your Calgary Backyard

Best plants for your Calgary backyard

If you’re a Calgarian interested in gardening, you’re not alone. With the right knowledge, tools and approach, it’s possible to create a beautiful garden in your Calgary backyard.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about gardening in Calgary, from understanding the climate and soil to choosing the best plants and maintaining your garden. Let’s get started!

Understanding Calgary’s Climate and Soil

Calgary’s climate is classified as semi-arid, which means it’s characterized by low rainfall, hot summers, and cold winters. The city’s average annual precipitation is around 418 mm, with most of it falling in the form of snow during the winter months. The city’s growing season is relatively short, lasting from May to September, with occasional frost in early May and late September.

Calgary’s soil is generally alkaline and clay-based, which can make it challenging to grow certain plants. The soil also tends to be nutrient-poor and compacted, which can make it difficult for plants to establish roots. However, with the right soil amendments, it’s possible to improve the soil quality and create a thriving garden.

Best Plants for a Calgary Garden

When it comes to choosing plants for your Calgary garden, it’s essential to select varieties that are hardy and can withstand the city’s climate.

Some of the best plants for a Calgary garden include:


Perennials are plants that live for more than two years and come back year after year. Some of the best perennials for a Calgary garden include:

  • Coneflowers (Echinacea)
  • Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia)
  • Daylilies (Hemerocallis)
  • Hostas


Annuals are plants that complete their life cycle in one growing season. Some of the best annuals for a Calgary garden include:

  • Petunias
  • Marigolds
  • Zinnias
  • Cosmos


Growing your own vegetables can be rewarding and fun. Some of the best vegetables for a Calgary garden include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce

Choosing the Right Location for Your Garden

When choosing the location for your Calgary garden, it’s essential to consider factors such as sunlight, wind exposure, and soil quality.

Ideally, your garden should receive at least six hours of sunlight per day and be sheltered from strong winds. It’s also essential to test your soil and amend it as needed to create a healthy growing environment for your plants.

Garden Design Tips and Ideas

Designing a garden can be a fun and creative process. Here are some tips and ideas to help you create a beautiful garden in your Calgary backyard:

  • Create a focal point: A focal point such as a water feature or a garden statue can add visual interest to your garden and serve as a centerpiece.
  • Use colour: Incorporating different colours into your garden can create a visually appealing and dynamic space. Consider using a colour scheme or planting flowers in clusters for maximum impact.
  • Add texture: Mixing plants with different textures such as smooth leaves and spiky foliage can add depth and interest to your garden.
  • Create a garden path: A garden path can add structure and definition to your garden while making it more accessible.

Tools and Equipment Needed for a Calgary Garden

To create a beautiful garden in your Calgary backyard, you’ll need some basic tools and equipment, including:

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Pruning shears
  • Garden hose
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Garden gloves
  • Hand trowel
  • Hoe
  • Cultivator

Maintaining Your Calgary Garden

Maintaining your Calgary garden is essential to keep it looking beautiful and healthy. Here are some tips to help you maintain your garden:

  • Water your plants regularly: Most plants in Calgary require at least one inch of water per week. Make sure to water your plants deeply and avoid getting water on the leaves to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Fertilize your plants: Adding fertilizer to your soil can help provide your plants with essential nutrients.
  • Weed your garden: Weeds can compete with your plants for nutrients and water. Make sure to weed your garden regularly to keep it tidy and healthy.
  • Prune your plants: Pruning your plants can help promote healthy growth and prevent disease.

Troubleshooting Common Gardening Problems in Calgary

Despite your best efforts, you may encounter some common gardening problems in Calgary. Here are some tips to help you troubleshoot these issues:

  • Powdery mildew: Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that can affect many plants in Calgary. To prevent powdery mildew, make sure to water your plants deeply and avoid getting water on the leaves. You can also use a fungicide to treat the disease.
  • Aphids: Aphids are small insects that can damage your plants by sucking their sap. To get rid of aphids, you can spray your plants with a mixture of water and dish soap or use an insecticidal soap.
  • Frost damage: Frost can damage your plants and even kill them. To prevent frost damage, cover your plants with a frost blanket or move them indoors during cold nights.

Resources for Calgary Gardeners

There are many resources available for Calgary gardeners, including:

  • The Calgary Horticultural Society: The Calgary Horticultural Society is a non-profit organization that provides resources and support for gardeners in Calgary.
  • The City of Calgary’s Community Gardens program: The City of Calgary’s Community Gardens program provides access to community garden plots for Calgarians who don’t have space for a garden in their backyard.
  • Local nurseries and garden centers: Local nurseries and garden centers can provide advice on choosing the best plants for your Calgary garden and offer a wide selection of plants and gardening supplies.

Enjoy Your Calgary Backyard!

Creating a beautiful garden in your Calgary backyard may seem challenging, but with the right knowledge and tools, it’s possible to create a thriving garden that can bring joy and beauty to your home.

By understanding Calgary’s climate and soil, choosing the best plants, and maintaining your garden, you can create a beautiful and rewarding space that you can enjoy for years to come.

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