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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Pool and Spa Ideas

Bask in the comfort and tranquility of a pool or spa.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • City Escape

      A multifaceted deck dresses up an off-the-shelf spa.

      • In narrow urban landscapes, a side yard makes a good spot for a slender deck or spa.
      • Placed with its top level aligned with the deck's floor, an in-deck hot tub becomes less obtrusive.
      • Located right next to the hot tub, an outdoor-resistant rug offers a spot to dry off.
      • Because the spa is sunk into the deck, the railings serve as a privacy screen.
      • Above the nearby couch, a few hooks offer a convenient spot to hang towels.
    • A World Away

      A slender wall divides public from private.

      • While a spa may require privacy from the neighbors, it can also call for screening from the rest of the house. Here, a stucco wall protects the space from the home's back windows.
      • A wide deck around the hot tub does double duty as an informal bench.
      • An extension of the spa's concrete base provides a transition between spa and grass.
      • The geometry of the spa repeats in the pattern of pavers inset into the grass.
      • If appropriate, choose materials that help to tie the spa area with the rest of the house -- here, the same color and style of brick repeats in the walls around the pool area.
    • Wooded Refuge

      A pool maximizes the view in its secluded site.

      • Good lighting is essential. This pool features a few fixtures sunk into the surrounding concrete pad.
      • A neutral light brown stain for the concrete pad offers a color choice in-step with the natural surroundings.
      • Curves cut out of the pool's concrete pad offer spots for a few shrubs and decorative boulders.
      • An infinity edge orients the view to the forest and lake.
      • When the area around a pool is mostly paved, containers planted with annuals can provide a way to add color and texture.
    • Say Ahhhh

      Beautifully landscaped grounds are the backdrop to an expansive pool.

      • If space allows, a nearby building can be useful to store cleaning tools and other pool-care necessities.
      • The geometry of the pool stands in stark contrast to the lushly planted surroundings.
      • The patterning of the pool's deck is repeated in other hardscape elements, such as the series of mostly rectangular pavers (spaced at regular intervals) that lead from house to pool.
      • Instead of a basic long rectangle shape, this pool subtly widens at the shallow end.
      • Columnar evergreens and towering ornamental grasses shield one end of the pool from view.
    • Contemporary Cool-Off

      A home's sleek style extends to its minimalist pool.

      • Grasses and river rock fill a slim area between pool and house.
      • Instead of a traditional wide deck surrounding the pool, here, nearby paved patio spaces offer spots to sit down and towel off.
      • The home's contemporary style and geometry supply inspiration for the pool's design.
      • In a sleight of pool-design hand, a very shallow section provides a spot for a few people to cool off without getting submerged.
      • Deep blue tile offers a restful accent for the wall and edging surrounding the pool.
    • Clever Curves

      A small-scale spa enlarges outdoor living space.

      • A brick patio naturally extends into a design element in this spa. Mortared pavers forming the pool's edge.
      • Casual seating -- such as the bordering wall here -- provide a spot to perch if they're not using the spa.
      • Rigid borders go by the wayside in this spa, which is cleverly cut into a curved niche in the retaining wall.
      • Stonework in the adjacent fireplace repeats in the spa's backdrop to create continuity in the yard.
      • A few blooms crest over the retaining wall, supplying a pretty spot for spa users to rest their eyes.
    • Jump In

      A pool/spa combo creates a backyard refuge.

      • Sometimes pools and spas are completely different spaces, but integrating them can be a natural fit.
      • In place of an ordinary fence, a distinctive stone wall offers a back border for the pool.
      • Two fountains -- one in the spa, one in the pool -- create dramatic vertical interest.
      • If budget allows, try using stone pavers to provide an attractive and texturally interesting deck around a pool.
      • Small niches of plants fill a spot in the corner of the pool, softening the stone's edges.
    • Swim with a View

      A relaxing view serves as backdrop for this sleek pool.

      • With one length an "infinity" edge, a pool relies on slim stone paving for the three other sides to minimize visual disruption.
      • Grass offers a soft landing pad around the deck.
      • Both chairs and the placement of the pool orient the view to the wide-open countryside.
      • A short metal railing defines the yard's (and the pool's) back border.
      • Bountiful blooms disguise the fence and offer a welcome bit of color.
    • Time for a Swim

      Spots to escape the sun while enjoying the pool are key in this landscape.

      • A stone border offers a low-key separation between spa and pool.
      • A portable outdoor umbrella provides protection from the sun.
      • Comfy benches and a covered patio furnish spots for poolside rest and relaxation.
      • Two subtly different materials -- one as edging, another as surrounding deck -- add a slight but welcome point of visual interest.
      • A sculpture of large boulders serves as focal point and natural spot for inclusion of a waterfall.
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      Pool Repose

      Sophisticated details dress up this combo pool/spa.

      • A series of concrete "pads" jut out in the pool space, offering just variation to the mostly neutral deck.
      • A short retaining wall, which features the same creamy white color of the surrounding stone, separates the pool area from the rest of the yard.
      • Speckled stone provides this spa with its own distinct border.
      • Lighting around a pool and spa is for both safety and ambiance; here, a few fixtures unobtrusively dot the landscape.
      • Here, both the fence and the deep green foliage serve a visual counterpoint to the white stone.
    • 11 of 11
      Next Slideshow Front Yard Flower Gardens

      Front Yard Flower Gardens

      Add curb appeal, brighten your entryway, and make your home more inviting with a beautiful front yard flower garden. Check out this collection of front yard flower garden ideas.
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