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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Enjoy a Dog-Friendly Lawn

You love your dog, but you also love your lawn. Here are six ways to make the yard a place both you and your pet can enjoy.

Give Your Dog Spatial Cues

Throw your dog a proverbial bone by planting to give him a sense of boundary. Space plants close together in areas you want to designate as off-limits, and understand that the rest of the yard is fair territory. If you leave enough space for him to run and play, accept that that's precisely what he will do.

Do you need to patch a bare spot in your lawn? Use our calculator to figure out how much grass seed you need.

Plant Tall

Another way to keep your pet out of certain areas is to choose shrubs and small trees over shorter, more delicate plants. Shrubs such as bluebeard, potentilla, and lavender add color to a landscape and grow a little more than a foot tall, so it's hard for your dog to trample them. Bay and small firs make great low-profile trees and add interesting, dog-resistant shape to your landscape.

Dig In

Just as you would put in a sandbox for kids, consider putting in a digging box for your dog. Fill it with soil or a soil-and-sand mix, and create some sort of border as a visual cue. If he digs outside of the boundaries you've set, be sure to admonish him and show him to the digging box. Bury bones and other toys in the soil to make the dig even more fun!

Put in a Potty

High levels of nitrogen in dog urine can be extremely harmful to grass, so create a space with gravel or mulch where you would prefer your dog do his business. Something vertical (a more attractive replacement for a fire hydrant) can help your dog identify the area quickly. As with any potty training, be sure to reward your dog when he uses the correct area, and reprimand him when he does not.

Accept Necessary Repairs

Even with these precautions, having a pet is going to take a minor toll on your lawn, so be prepared to perform regular maintenance. Fill in bad patches of grass with seed or sod, and be sure to use plenty of water and fertilizer to keep grass healthy and strong.

Supervise and Instruct

It will take time for your dog to adjust to proper lawn behavior, so supervision and training is key. If you're away during the day, keep him inside until you return home and can monitor backyard play. Offer plenty of positive reinforcement when he follows the rules, and let him know when he doesn't. With the help of diligent training early on, your dog will eventually learn to stay within bounds, and you'll have a yard that you both can enjoy!

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