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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Get a Handle on Landscape Costs

Dreaming of a landscape project? Use our tips to get an accurate picture of the cost of your project.

From designing a new patio to making plans for a front yard overhaul, landscape projects are intriguing to plan; however, when it comes time to put real cost figures to the pictures on paper or the vision in your head, things can get tricky. Come along as we walk through the process of estimating landscape costs. Like any home improvement project, costs can vary once you get into the project, but thoughtful estimation provides a ballpark figure that you can budget on. 

Begin with a Solid Plan

The more you know about your landscape project from the very beginning, the more efficiently it will come together. Efficiency equals reduced cost when it comes to working with contractors or purchasing landscape product.

For example, if you take time to create a backyard master plan—a comprehensive landscape plan for your entire space—you might realize that you need brick pavers for a patio as well as a walkway to access the space from the garage. Buying pavers for both projects might translate into cost savings due to the quantity you are purchasing. Check out our easy Plan-a-Garden tool here. 

You can draft a landscape plan yourself or you can employ the services of a landscape professional. Depending on the size and scope of the project, along with the terrain changes necessary to make it all happen, the experience and expertise of a landscape professional might be essential. Inquire with friends and neighbors about great landscape designers in your area. Give the professionals a call to learn about their project fees. Consider hiring a designer to review the master plan you created.

Estimate Your Project

If any part of your project requires the services of a contractor, get at least two bids and review the bids line by line. Be sure to note plant sizes and specific hardscaping products, such as pavers. Plants vary widely in size and quality and this is usually reflected in a reputable estimate. Hardscaping materials have less cost variance but there are notable differences between products.

Before selecting a contractor, take time to follow up on references and tour their landscape facility to view potential plants for your project as well as look at hardscape material.

Phase It In

After making a comprehensive plan and putting together an estimate of landscape costs, consider completing your project in phases if necessary. Not only is phasing in a landscape budget-friendly, it is also lifestyle-friendly.

Facing an entire summer spent renovating the backyard can be overwhelming and might prevent you from getting the project started. A couple weekends of building a patio and another weekend spent planting trees and shrubs around the new space is doable. Add building a pond and renovating the lawn to the above projects and you will have consumed much of your leisure time for the summer.

It is also possible to complete a contractor-produced landscape project in phases. For efficiency, group parts of the project that require specific equipment or product into the same phase when possible. Plant all the trees in one phase. Build the patio and walkway in another phase. Add an extensive perennial border in another phase.

Plan and Shop Smart

It is well-known that quality landscaping adds great value to your home. Get the most bang for your landscaping dollars with our money-saving gardening and landscaping tips. Our 45 tips will help you stretch your dollars while adding color, function, and fun to the landscape that you'll enjoy for years to come. 

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