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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Gardening Tips for Renters

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

Shade plants are perfect for those tough spots in your yard. Learn about the best shade-loving perennials, including flowering shade perennials, partial shade perennials, and full-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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Choosing the Right Patio Materials

A wide array of materials is available for surfacing a patio. The material you choose should blend with the surroundings and other materials used in the landscape, while providing the right surface for the intended use of the patio.

Aged brick in a herringbone patternhelps this patio look appropriatenext to a traditional style house.

For an outdoor entertainment area (especially for dining), a solid, level surface, such as brick or cast pavers, is best. Flat stones, such as slate, also create an even surface. Fieldstone, due to its naturally uneven surface, will not be perfectly level.

Loose material, such as pea gravel, is not recommended for dining areas because table legs can settle unevenly into the stone. Crushed granite, however, once it is compacted, forms a surface almost as stable and firm as concrete, and water can percolate through it.

Whereas the surfacing material is largely a matter of taste and cost, the foundation upon which the material rests and how the surface is set in place are key structural considerations. The foundation determines the slope of the patio and its levelness.

Excavating a level area and putting in a gravel base topped with sand are essential parts of building any patio, whether poured as a slab of concrete or topped with pavers. Once the base is sloped and smooth, the pavers can be set in mortar or on sand.

An Easy-to-Build Patio

Sometimes the look you want involves mixing materials. Here brick and slate team up for a surface that is durable as well as eye-appealing.

Concrete is popular, easy to work with, and affordable. Dress it up with bands of brick, or enhance it with stains, stamps, or inlays.

Patio Garden Plan

Large fieldstones are used to create a patio that has a natural, woodland feel. Ground cover planted between the stones softens the area further.

Buying from a Stoneyard

Brick is a traditional patio paving material and comes in a wide array of styles and colors. Choose aged brick for an informal look or pristine brick red pavers for a formal setting.

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