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

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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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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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Water Garden Landscaping Ideas

From ponds and waterfalls to tabletop fountains, incorporate water into your landscape with these ideas.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • A Sloping Stream

      A cacophony of colors and materials decorates the outlines of a stream.

      • A variety of visually-interesting materials and plants, including a weeping willow and variously sized boulders, move the eye from the top of the gentle slope downward.
      • Large, flat boulders do double duty, edging the pond and providing a wide enough spot for an informal path.
      • A few dwarf evergreens add year-round structure among the brightly colored lilies and black-eyed Susans.
      • Groundcovers and water plants, including water lilies, soften the otherwise hard edges of the pond's rocky border
      • A gentle curve cut out of the walkway mimics the outlines of the pond.
    • Dressed-Up Fountain

      A water feature set into a sloping corner offers traditional style.

      • Distinctive hardscape, including stone steps and a geometric paved landing, lend an air of formality to this elegant waterfall.
      • Urns overflowing with bright purple lobelia and red double impatiens soften the water's edges.
      • While many garden water elements feel natural, this pool was designed to contrast with the lushly planted landscape around it.
      • The rich hues of ivy, lacecap hydrangea, ornamental grass, and pigsqueak warm the cool tones of the waterfall's stonework.
    • Circle 'Round

      A series of spheres supplies structure to a minimalist water feature.

      • A gravel path from the house ends at a gently bubbling pond.
      • Plants echo the shape of hardscape. Here, liriope encircles the small pond.
      • Repetition is a key design element to this water landscape; multiple circles tie everything together.
      • The continuation of the path around the pond maintains circulation through the garden.
      • In place of a stationary pool of water, a bubbling base in the pool offers water movement.
    • Focus on the Fountain

      A pretty water feature livens up a small slice of yard.

      • Intricate trelliswork complements the elegance of the fountain and sculpture.
      • Gentle curves at the edge of the fountain soften the hardscape edges.
      • A pair of myrtles, grown in topiary form, adds a splash of fun to the garden. Their rounded shapes echo the curves in the lattice and water basin.
      • Containers set at the fountain's edge pick up the colors and foliage of the surrounding plantings.
      • Shade-loving begonias and caladium in colors that warm the cool gray stonework nestle close to the small-scale fountain.
    • Pond Perfect

      A restful landscape includes an expansive pond.

      • A bench, chair, and table offer a quiet alcove overlooking the expansive lily pond.
      • An arched bridge takes garden visitors over the water below.
      • Lighting can be an unobtrusive element when its shape and materials complement the rest of the landscape; here, a few lanterns light the way across the bridge.
      • Large and small boulders tumble and flit in and out of the pond's edges
      • Movement in water and elements on the surface offer visual interest to water features. Here, water lilies bloom and a small stream cascades into the larger pond.
    • Japanese Garden Inspiration

      A calming garden spot puts Asian style ideas to work.

      • Above-ground water features in the landscape offer soothing sounds and tranquil vignettes. Here, a massive boulder and gurgling fountain create a unique getaway.
      • There needn't be any distinct order to pavers. In this garden, a series of randomly tucked, small-scale steppingstones guide the way from bench to fountain.
      • Chairs work, but a minimalist concrete cube with a pair of cushions stands in just as well for seating.
      • Plants contribute to the Zen garden setup, with the lovely but restrained foliage of Japanese maple, liriope, clumping bamboo, and rhododendron.
      • Repeated shapes provide garden serenity; here, the shape of the fountain is echoed in the paved outlines of the sand garden.
    • Wonderful Waterfall

      A dense mix of evergreens and shade-loving plants creates a richly sculpted landscape around a backyard pond.

      • A dense planting of reliable arborvitae serves as a year-round softscape fence.
      • A garden with several vantage points offers multiple areas for enjoyment; this landscape can be viewed from up on the deck or down closer to the water feature.
      • A series of stacked boulders in varying sizes offers a naturalist edging for the waterfall and pond.
      • Extending from the lower seating area, a few flagstones jut over the boulders for a third garden outlook spot.
      • Paths and water features are easy elements to utilize to conquer slopes, and water features another. This cascading water feature tumbles gently over boulders and a series of flagstone steps before ending in a pond.
    • Modern Measures

      By relying on subtle shifts in color and replicating elements, a water feature offers a composed garden setting.

      • Accent lights need not be stationary; in fact, moveable versions afford flexibility. Here, punched tin lanterns can be relocated as necessary.
      • The size and shape of a water feature works wonders to complement the style of the rest of the garden, as with this slim, tranquil rill.
      • Along either side of the narrow slice of water, repeated clusters of plants and shrubs, such as evergreens and hostas, complement the restful vista.
      • A bench at the end of this water feature is part focal point, part resting spot.
      • A mostly monochromatic color scheme supports the sleek style of the garden and water feature.
    • Less Is More

      A stripped-down pond and outdoor shed provide an undisturbed vignette.

      • Urns and containers complement the style and colors in a landscape; here, the subtle shapes and hues of an oversize pot emphasize the garden's composition.
      • Garden sheds enhance a garden. The lines and materials of a Japanese-inspired garden house work in tandem with the water feature.
      • If the pond is large enough, extending a vantage point out over it (as with this front "porch") can give an interesting perspective on the landscape.
      • Color can come from multiple elements or from one single, well-chosen piece, as with this bold red Japanese maple.
      • Placed in a seemingly random pattern, the boulders around the edge of the pond are the perfect companions for both the shed and pond.
    • 10 of 11

      A Backyard Stream

      Clumps of carefree plants amble easily along the free-form edges of this water feature.

      • Transitions from one material to the next are less jarring if done gradually; here, a smattering of stones gives way to shredded wood mulch.
      • The lines of the stream reinforce the style of the rest of the garden -- the stream's rambling path creates a casual feel.
      • Set between the pathway and stream, a tricolor beach offers a burst of color.
      • Use perennials and annuals around a water element to add blooms throughout the season.
    • 11 of 11
      Next Slideshow Xeriscaping

      Xeriscaping

      In many parts of the country, water resources are becoming scarcer. That's why it's a good idea to landscape your home using waterwise techniques. Called xeriscaping, this process will help you have a less thirsty backyard. Here's how to do it.
      Begin Slideshow »

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