Garden Project Lifecycle: Implementation Phase

The implementation phase is where the plans start becoming reality! This phase is also the most physically demanding, unless you’re supervising others or hiring others to do the work. During the implementation phase, software engineers often use an integrated development environment (IDE) to facilitate writing code and developing software. This development environment includes a centralized set of tools for managing different versions of code, tools for automatically running test cases, and tools for compiling and executing the code being written. We can create something similar for garden projects.

Garden Development Environment

For garden projects, you must assemble your own garden development environment. The development environment might include a collection of financial resources, physical resources, human resources, and health resources that are necessary for completing your project.

  • financial resources: the money/funding necessary to purchase materials and pay for the entirety of the project.
  • physical resources: the plants, tools, and materials necessary to construct your garden project.
  • human resources: the people who will be involved during the construction of your garden project.
  • health resources: a first aid kit for scrapes, cuts, scratches, or insect stings/bites; water to stay hydrated; sunscreen

Implementation Activities

The implementation phase sounds easy — dig holes, plant the plants, and water! But there are several smaller activities that are included in the implementation phase of a garden project, especially larger projects that need more structure and organization.


The first step to the implementation phase is using your financial resources to gather all of the resources needed — all plants, all materials, and all tools. Necessary tools might include shovels, wagons/wheelbarrows, starter fertilizer, water for the initial planting, landscape rake, landscape weed-block fabric, etc. This activity may take a while for you to locate your materials, especially if you had to order specific plant varieties or resources online and must wait for delivery.

Site Preparation

Before anything can be planted or placed, you might have to prepare the site days or weeks ahead of time. If this project involves a new garden area, you might need to kill the weeds/grass first (or shovel the grass and roots out of the area). Next, you might consider landscape weed-block fabric or other weed/grass preventative so that your new garden area stays free of grass and weeds. If this project involves an established garden area, you might have minimal prep work.

Allocate & Schedule Resources

If you have a team of people (a spouse, children, friends, neighbors, etc.) that are helping you with the project, then you need to assign tasks to each person. How will you communicate? When will you communicate? How often will everyone take breaks? What day/time will the project begin? What is the estimated day/time for completion?

Orientation & Training

If you’re working with children who will be helping, you may need to show them some examples of how to dig a hole, how to remove a plant from a growing container, or how deep to plant something. If you’re working on a DIY project, you might need to train yourself first on use of any new or unfamiliar tools you’ve never used before, or watch online vides about how to accomplish some aspect of the project (such as laying stone edging blocks on a sloped ground).

Change Management

Inevitably, some aspect or your plan will no longer be feasible (an underground rock in the exact spot you wanted to plant an evergreen, for example). You must be prepared to maneuver these changes and document these changes. Some changes might require spending more money, so save those receipts to make sure you understand how these changes affected your budget and if you met your project constraints. Unplanned changes may be frustrating, but they are part of almost any type of project. Brainstorm solutions and adapt your process — that’s part of the principles of agile gardening!

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