Garden Coaching, helping people reach their full gardening potential!

There’s a coach for everything else – sports, business, life – it would only follow there would be a coach for gardening.

Helen Yoest's Herb Garden in Raleigh, NC

Helen Yoest's Herb Garden in Raleigh, NC


Yea, you just took that job you longed for. Not only are you now working in a new city, you realize you will also be gardening with a new challenge – a whole zone difference. Back home, in your zone 8 garden, you were happy as a lark, comfortable with your knowledge of what to do when, what will do well, what wont. You may have hated that sand you had to work with, but at least you knew what to do with it. Now, faced with learning to garden in a new zone, you wonder where to begin. Now what? Can I grow Crepe Myrtles? What’s that worm eating my lettuce?

The concept of working with a gardening coach has been around for a very long time, it’s the term that’s new. A gardening coach will work with people at any level and for many reasons. From an initial consultation offering design suggestions to a full design with installation and everything in between, a gardening coach can help you become a better gardener.

It is still recommend involving yourself with your local community, to learn and to connect. That much remains the same.  Visit local botanical gardens or arboreta and read the local garden column in the newspaper and regional publications and blogs. But to kick start your journey, and to save from making costly mistakes, working with a local gardening coach will get you up to speed fast.

Susan Harris has made this process of finding a gardening coach easier with her blog The Gardening Coach Blog the resource for and about gardening coaches. Here, she lists Worldwide Directory of Gardening Coaches (If you are a gardening coach and not listed, check out this blog and get in touch with Susan, she will list you in the directory.)  Check out this listing, the coverage of the gardening coaches is inspiring.

As with working with most gardening coaches, a relationship is formed. From here, you can gauge what level you want to take on yourself and how much you want to rely on your gardening coach.

Over the years, many of my clients started out wanting me to do it all. But I find that when you’re talking about building a garden, as opposed to a landscape, the conversation changes. Most anyone can care for your landscape, but your garden has special needs. To this end, a gardening coach shines. They become part of your team creating your garden.

My desire when I started my business in 2001, was to have my client’s involvement. I believed they would “own” their garden if they participated in the care of it. This has proven true. Some took longer than others for this buy-in, but in the end, all are more active than they ever thought they would be or what they thought possible.

Below are some of the many reasons gardening coaches are called upon:

  • To seek “permission” to do what they want to do. A second opinion – someone to bounce ideas off of
  • Suggestions on how to reduce lawn size and where
  • Understanding the garden that came with their new home
  • Tidying up the garden to put the home on the market
  • Adding seasonal interest such as planting spring bulbs in the fall, summer longevity, fabulous fallscapes, and winter blooming flowers
  • New to the area and unfamiliar with the plants that will do well in the new zone
  • To add a patio, water feature, paths, children’s play ground
  • To draw a full plan to scale
  • To draw a concept plan
  • To share resources
  • To buy plants with

There’s no reason to go it alone.  Contact a gardening coach near you.

Written by Helen Yoest with Gardening With Confidence in Raleigh NC  Gardening With Confidence



  1. lili said

    Oh how I wish I have a big garden. It will give me more freedom to design it to my liking. I feel my small garden is too limiting. But I’m trying to do my best with it.

  2. tina said

    I am still toying with the idea of becoming a paid garden coach, note I said paid. I do it all now but not paid. Not too smart but hey, it is for fun now. It is hubby who says time to find a J O B. Ha! We’ll see. Your article is helpful. Here we have a big real estate market that is sizzling hot, I can see a market for sure.

  3. Hey Tina, The transition can be harder than you think. I only say this because if you are use to working for free, then transitioning into asking for money for the service can be difficult.

    When I still worked as an engineer, I often spent my time giving free gardening advice. Of course, at the time, gardening was only a hobby (albeit, a very serious hobby.) A contrary example of transition is my garden writing. I wrote professionally for 30 years; as such, asking for a fair fee to write was easy. It’s mental, I think. Once we recognize ourselves as a professional, it’s a no brainer.

    With your experience, Tina, you are worth it. An experience gardener will save homeowners thousands of dollars. Getting good advice, helping select plants, learning how to work with a new type of soil, zone, or indices is priceless. Also, Garden Coaches are providing a niche. We are very specific to gardens – not “landscapes.” We are very specific in our services and as I mentioned in the story and you, no doubt see as a, common thread to my blog, we are part of a team with our clients. We nurture, advise, and grow along with our clients. Their successes are our successes; their failures, are our failures. We are in it for the long haul. We want our clients to thrive.

    Let me also give you a heads up. Once you do put a price tag on something you offered for free in the past, those folks may not be your first clients. But that is OK, there is a huge market out there. Just tell you friends you are starting out in business and hope they will give you a good recommendation.

    Name you business, hang you shingle, and register with Susan Harris’ World-Wide Gardening Coaches – Welcome!

  4. tina said

    You are bringing tears to my eyes with your kind words and encouragement. I have already done the whole market plan and called the city to ask about a business license so I know I can do it, it is just that first step of doing which is so difficult for me right now. With your encouragement it might just be time! A few things will change for me in about 3 months, then maybe I’ll finally be ready to take the step. Yes, you are so right on the doing it for free. It wears me out and while I like to help out others with gardening, the time is just not there for free anymore. There is a big market here and no one to fill the niche in my area, most folks already know me so I would be a logical person, just need to do it! Like Nike’s slogan-Just do it! I’ve already kind of put that word out and was glad to do so that I am not working for free anymore. Local and volunteer things okay, but other than that, no, time is too valuable. Thanks for the story of how you got started. I can tell you really love your job and everywhere I go I read about JC Raulston, so that is wonderful you work there too. I have read Susan’s Garden Coaching blog several times, and will go to that resource first for sure. You’ve nudged me in a big way to hang out my shingle-soon. Thanks!

  5. Hey Tina, I have e-mail Susan Harris to be looking for your listing!

    BTW, with regards to the JC Raulston Arboretum, it is one of the two main hort areas I work as a volunteer. I agree with you, we can’t give up on our volunteerism. Volunteers are the backbone to any non-profit. We need them and they need us.

  6. Hey lili,

    In a gardens case, size doesn’t matter. Some of the prettiest gardens I’ve ever seen were on a postage stamp lot. Look back at my Garden Conservancy’s Open Days tour post. The Rose Cottage is on a tenth of an acre in downtown Raleigh.

  7. Thanks for the nice article promoting this new low-cost service that’s helping people in so many ways – growing food, becoming better stewards of their and simply enjoying their land more by making it beautiful and usable.

    And Tina, look over the variety of folks in our directory for some inspiration and then join us! Susan

  8. tina said

    Thanks Susan! I will contact you as soon as I am ready to leap-uh-coach!:)

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