Almost all vegetables and most flowers need about six hours of full sun each day. Spend a day in your chosen spot and watch how the sun moves across the space. It might receive more sun than you think. But don’t despair if your lot is largely sunless; many plants tolerate shade. Check plant tags or ask the staff at your local garden center to find out how much sun a plant requires.

Put the garden where you can’t ignore its pleas for attention—outside the back door, near the mailbox, by the window you stare out when you dry your hair. Place it close enough to a water spigot that you won’t have to drag the hose to the hinterlands.