Do You Suffer From ‘Scope Creep’ in Your Garden?

Failing to set clear goals and project parameters can lead to a wide range of problems.

Published September 11, 2023 07:06AM EDT

Scope creep is something that can sneak up on you when you are working on a project in the garden. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it is often used in project management to describe when the scope of a project alters over time and is not properly defined or controlled.

In other words, if you don’t have a very clear idea of what you want to achieve, and if what you intend to achieve turns into something much bigger than you originally desired, this could be described as scope creep. This is related to the concept of mission creep, which also describes the expansion of a project beyond its original scope.

Do You Have a Clear Idea of What You Want to Do?

In a garden, just as in an office environment, it can be important to set out with a clear vision of your goals. If you do not have a clear idea of where you want to end up, then it will become much more challenging for you to get there. And it will be much easier for a small and slow-scale solution to balloon into something much larger and perhaps overwhelming.

Whether we are talking about garden design, creating a new garden, or just setting out on a particular day to complete a specific garden task, not setting clear goals and specific scope or project parameters can lead to a wide range of problems.

Making sure that you have a defined scope in mind is important because, otherwise, jobs can get out of hand. And, without parameters, you may feel that you are not getting anywhere, given that there are always more things to do in a garden.

Define the Area

If you are designing and planning—do so for a specific area. While you do need to look at the big picture, don’t be tempted to increase the size of the project area after you begin. Define its parameters from the outset.

Be Clear About Food Goals

If you are creating a new garden, decide on the growing areas up front, and make sure you are clear on how much food you wish to grow and the yields you would like to get from the project.

Be Clear on Beginnings and Ends

For each garden task you begin, make sure you are clear on the scope of the task and at what point you can consider the job “done.”

Do You Let Projects Grow in the Doing?

Mint Images – Jonathan Kozowyk / Getty Images

I know that I can be just as guilty of this as anyone. I sometimes set out to complete a particular smallish task in the garden only to find myself several hours later having segued into a much bigger and sometimes even completely different project.

For example, the other day, I started out picking some blackberries and intended just to cut back a little in order to reach the berries, but I ended up doing a whole bunch of pruning and cutting back before I even got the berries inside.

If you have the time, then this sort of lack of clarity and focus is not always a problem. But issues can arise if, for example, you run out of time to complete the project you have now taken on or if the whole thing suddenly feels overwhelming.

With any project in a garden, it is best to be focused and to start small. If you are anything like me, the desire to create a new growing area might lead you to expand your ambition and create eight new beds, for example, and while you may feel happy early on with your hard work, you may end up cursing your scope creep later on.

Scope creep of this kind does not just lead to a tired and achy feeling at the end of a day. It can potentially cause a range of problems if you have taken on more than you can handle. If projects grow too large in a garden, they can take on a life of their own and may sometimes spiral out of your control.

If you want to make sure things go smoothly in your garden and avoid making things feel overwhelming or like too much of a chore, you need to be aware of scope creep and try to avoid it where possible.

Setting clear scope for every project in a garden will help you feel a sense of accomplishment at every task accomplished, no matter how large or small. And feeling that sense of accomplishment will mean that you can keep it up and always retain a sense of joy and satisfaction in your garden.

Read More


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search this website