10 Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Gardening

You might not believe it, but you were born with a green thumb. It may have gone untended for a while, but it's there waiting for you to nudge it awake. Put away your theory of being a plant killer, that anything dies under your care. Forget those nagging thoughts of where your garden will live or when you'll find the time, it's there somewhere. It doesn't have to cost a fortune and you'll get more than you give. So, here are 10 tips for conquering your fear of gardening:

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Want to bring more green to your house or apartment? Using a few easy, inexpensive techniques, <a href="http://www.thehorticult.com/">The Horticult</a> shows how you can garden like you own the place -- without risking your security deposit. You don't have to own your home to create a garden that reflects your personal style. Grow your favorite plants and create an inspired landscape -- or patio, interior, or balcony -- using these fun, low-commitment methods. (Although you might want to check with your landlord about the larger projects!) And if you move, you can take it all with you. These 10 tips for renters will give your garden a new lease on life.

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Summer Checklist

Summer is a gardener¿s busiest season. If you¿re short on time or not sure what to do, follow this easy summer gardening checklist to keep your lawn and garden in great shape all season long.

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Drought-Tolerant Grasses

Drought! The word itself strikes fear into the hearts of gardeners everywhere. Scarce water resources, especially in hard hit areas such as California and Texas, are making it almost impossible to maintain traditional style lawns. That's why many people are replacing their lawns with groundcovers and native plants. But for those who want a lush green lawn, here are some less-thirsty options.

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How to Improve Garden Soil

Many homeowners inherit bad garden soil ¿ but you don¿t have to live with it! Learn how to get the best garden soil possible through amendments, composting, and more.

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Top Shade Perennials

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Landscape Ideas

Landscape ideas provide inspiration, and studies show that upgrading your landscape will add value to your home. Here are some great landscape ideas to improve your home's outward appeal.

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Build a birdhouse that any feathery friend would be proud to live in.

Old-fashioned paint colors help age this birdhouse, which is patterned after a vintage find.

Overview

All the little birds will want to make their homein this antique-inspired birdhouse.

The front and back panels are cut down the middle and braced together, purely for character's sake. A removable bottom makes the birdhouse easy to clean, purely for function's sake.

Skill level: Your skill level should include experience with table saw, jigsaw, and a drill.

Cost: About $20 for building/finishing materials.

What You Need:

  • Print-outs (see below)
  • Graph paper
  • 1/2-inch pine (8 inches x 5 feet)
  • 1/4 x 3-inch eyebolt with flat washer and nut
  • Metal clip and wood screw
  • Wood glue
  • 4d finishing nails
  • Sanding block
  • Medium-line sandpaper
  • Surfacing compound
  • Scissors
  • Tack cloth
  • Blue, green, and yellow acrylic paint
  • Clear satin polyurethane
  • Table saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Nail set
  • Drill with 1/4-inch and 1-inch bits

Instructions

1. Cut the pieces. Copy the pattern to scale on graph paper; cut out. Trace pattern onto wood. Use jigsaw to cut two pieces -- one for the front and one for the back. Use table saw to cut down the middle of each piece. Sand bevel edges.

2. Use table saw to cut and rip two side pieces, two roof pieces, bottom piece, perch, and six braces. Sand the edges of the two 5-inch braces to match the curve of the birdhouse front and back.

3. Use table saw to cut and rip four roof edge pieces. Use jigsaw to make the decorative half-moon cut on one roof edge piece, as shown. Blunt cut the bottom edge. Use it as a pattern for the three remaining pieces. Set the table saw at 45 degrees to cut the triangular roof brace.

4. Assemble the birdhouse. Glue and nail braces to front and back pieces. Drill entrance hole on front piece and air holes on back piece. Glue and nail perch. Align sides with front and back; glue and nail.

5. Glue and nail two roof pieces together, triangular roof brace to roof pieces, and roof edge pieces to roof. Drill a 1/4-inch hole through roof and triangular brace; install eyebolt. Glue and nail roof to house. Install the metal clip with the wood screw. Insert bottom piece.

6. Finish the birdhouse. Set nails. Fill holes with surfacing compound. Sand; wipe with tack cloth. Paint the birdhouse body blue, the roof top and edges green, and the perch and the underside of the roof yellow; let dry. Top with polyurethane.

Birdhouse Exploded View Illustration

Birdhouse Pattern

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