My blender rarely sees daylight, but now it might just get the chance to see the kitchen counter with this genius tip! I’m starting to understand the idea behind compost a little more now that I’m dabbling in the garden, so this just makes a lot of sense to me. Just like grinding your food makes it easier to digest, grinding eggshells makes it easy for your garden to absorb the calcium egg shells provide.

If you are aware of the type of grass you have in your yard and are content with its health and the way it looks, simply learn more about how to treat it well. If you are starting fresh, make sure you select a grass that thrives in your geographic area. One good tip is to locate the best-looking lawn in your neighborhood and initiate a conversation with the owner. They can give you a good idea of what types of seed, fertilizer and watering schedules might also work well in your yard.
Being a homeowner is a big responsibility, and while there's plenty to take care of inside you home, don't forget about the outside, either. If you've ever looked into the cost of hiring a professional landscaper, you know they're not cheap. Fortunately, there are a slew of inexpensive and affordable DIY landscaping ideas at your disposal, so long as you're willing to get your hands a little dirty. From the front yard to the back, barbeque pits to bistro lights, here are 59 ways you can affordably improve your outdoor space.              
This one is especially fun if you have kids that like to spend time wandering around outdoors with your four-legged friend. Consider using plants and other hardscaping features, like tunnels, balance beams, and pipes, to create a fun obstacle course for your dog. This will help him burn off some of his excess energy, even if you don’t have a ton of backyard space.

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Purple fountain grass looks great in containers. Its vertical shape creates an exclamation point in the border. Then, its purplish-red leaves and fall plumes combine well with the red coleus below. This grass and the coleus are not winter hardy in most areas, but new plants bought in spring are inexpensive and grow quickly, so you can enjoy this pairing from early spring until late in the fall. You’ll have its beautiful memories to get you through any harsh winters, and the anticipation of it growing again will have you excited to be back in your garden at the first opportunity in the spring.
Grasses and succulents have great textural contrast, so they make the perfect visual and textural combination for a container garden. Begin with something called 'Amazon Mist’ sedge grass—which is not in fact actually a grass at all, but from a different plant family—which then combines wonderfully with creeping sedum and purple echeveria for a container planting that varies in shape, height, texture, and color. Here, the echeveria brings in tones of red, orange, as well as the purple, all of which pick up and play off of similar tones in the sedge. The succulents, low and full, also contrast the sedge’s light, airy, and wavy texture.

Go-to grasses and can't-fail lantanas mark the advent of a bright new season. And the coming of fall doesn’t mean the end of container garden beauty. It simply means you have to pay new attention to what needs to be planted—and where. Consider moving your planters indoors; consider plants like fountain grass, which is sun-loving and forgiving; and add in some lantanas, or some sweet potato vines, for color, thrill, and excitement. Focus on your fall containers too. Use bright pops of color, particularly if you plan to bring your containers inside. Or, use a clean neutral, like black, or white, and let the flowers and foliage truly shine. 

Go-to grasses and can't-fail lantanas mark the advent of a bright new season. And the coming of fall doesn’t mean the end of container garden beauty. It simply means you have to pay new attention to what needs to be planted—and where. Consider moving your planters indoors; consider plants like fountain grass, which is sun-loving and forgiving; and add in some lantanas, or some sweet potato vines, for color, thrill, and excitement. Focus on your fall containers too. Use bright pops of color, particularly if you plan to bring your containers inside. Or, use a clean neutral, like black, or white, and let the flowers and foliage truly shine. 


Landscape petunias—new hybrid petunias that are well suited to growing conditions in the South—are a great choice if you would like to include these wonderful flowers in your container garden plans. All petunias need good drainage, which growing in a pot (with at least one hole in the bottom) provides. Be sure to use a cascading variety for a luxurious planting. Whether your petunias are mounding or trailing, you’ll have flowers that are dense and full and, in most places, in the South, they’ll bloom from early in the spring until late in the fall.
Animal feed is often sold in very large, colorful plastic bags* that could almost double as works of art. Make a unique vertical planter by poking drainage holes in the bottom, cutting handles into the top for hanging, then adding potting soil and plants. It’s recycling at its best! (* If plastic begins to flake off over time, replace or keep away from water sources.) Photo courtesy of Chris McLaughlin.
Variegated agave, native to southern Texas and eastern Mexico, is a spreading ground cover that grows to about a foot tall and, left uncontained, would spread to roughly four feet wide. In a container, it becomes the perfect, full planting depending on your needs. A similar height, the Japanese Roof Iris—so named because it was popular to plant this on cottage roofs in the island nation, brings a gorgeous violet-and-white flower to this container delight. During your garden design, plan to vary the heights of your containers for greater visual interest. This garden features planters in a range of scales and materials, adding to its eclectic cottage personality.
To create a poinsettia tree, follow these instructions: First, cut the larger blooms, leaving about 6 inches of stem. Sear them quickly to stop sap from dripping out. Sap should bubble under the candle flame, and the ends of the stems will turn black. You may also need to sear the points where larger leaves were removed along the stems. Insert each seared stem into a water-filled florist tube. Stems are hollow and will absorb water after being seared. Place the stems into the base of the ivy topiary. Then repeat this process with the medium-size and smaller poinsettia blooms, cutting the stems so they're about 4 inches long. Insert blossoms into the topiary, working your way toward the top. Once it's complete, care is simple—just add water to the tubes every few days, as needed.

We’ve just built a small guest house behind our home in Southwest Mississippi. Red clay surrounds the house! I’ve sprinkled rye grass seed and covered it with hay, but I realize (now) that I need some top soil. What should be my next steps? The rest of the yard is covered with a mixture of Bermuda and who-knows-what. It’s pretty patchy too! (I can’t afford to re-sod the whole 2 acres…)


Add a water feature: Water features add ambience to your yard. They vary in degrees of difficulty, but you can install a water feature yourself without worry if you follow the directions on the packaging. First, decide if you would like to add a freestanding feature that simply needs to be assembled and plugged in or if you’re creating a water feature area in your yard in which you will need to install a reservoir basin and bubbling water kit. Consult with your local garden center to determine which kit will work best for your project, then get creative! Once you dig the trench and install the reservoir, you can enhance its surroundings with natural rocks, flat stones, tiles, bricks or concrete and short groundcover plants. You can add aquatic plants such as lily pads for full effect!
Installing a patio or bench near the edge of your lawn, away from the house, provides an outdoor escape. Concrete will do, or you can use stones or pavers. Building it near trees or tall flowers gives the area some privacy, while chairs or benches let you sit or lie down to read or nap. Keep it 6 to 8 feet from your property line and surround it with flowers.
"In a nutshell, what is the best way to go about beautifying my yard?" I am sometimes asked this rather broad question, and it's a tough one to answer. There are so many variables in do-it-yourself landscaping, such as budget, skills, the climate of your region, your personal design tastes, how you'll be using your yard, etc. But there are certain steps you can take that are so sound that they readily suggest themselves as answers to this question.
Having fresh herbs at home can be much simpler than making a trip to the store. Transplants of cilantro, parsley, and chives are at their best in late winter months, both in containers and in the ground. Plant them in a shallow box, as pictured, and use them as an outdoor centerpiece. They will grow wonderfully well together, and you’ll have as much or as little as you need on-hand for topping a wide range of delectable dishes fresh from oven to table. Label your herbs to be sure which is which, then grab a handful whenever you need one. These raised-bed container gardens should produce plenty to share with family, friends, and neighbors.
On the other hand, an easy-maintenance ground cover is a great and cost-effective alternative to grass. Thyme, bishop’s weed, and lamium spread quickly over room-sized sections of a front and back lawn, and remain hearty through temperature and drought swings. Simply plant around 10 creeping ground cover plants (more if you want faster coverage or you’re dealing with an area larger than a bedroom) for between $5 and $10 each. They should quickly germinate and take over portions of your yard with beautiful leaves and flowers.
Assuming you are in the right zone for this type of planting, if you don't want to spend all of your time watering, stick with easy-care options in some of your containers. Succulents and bougainvilleas need little care in containers. You can choose succulents that will grow to create senses of scale and drama, such as agave, or aloe. Depending on your choice of succulent, some of these may grow as tall as ten feet high, so be are of their potential when planning your container garden. Then, prepare for a beautiful sight.
Sitting in a natural environment, on a table of weathered wood, this container is a perfect lesson in how to best frame colorful plants with a textured background. These vibrant ‘Molten Orange’ coleuses provide a pop of color among textural grass plantings. Plants with bold but often or predominantly monochrome foliage, such as coleus, can work well in a classically shaped planter such as this one with Roman and Rococo influences. Filling in below the coleus is ivy, its green-and-white leaves spilling over the planter’s natural patina of aged cast iron. Resist the urge to sand or sandblast containers such as these if they are structurally sound—simply brush off any loose debris and leave their history and finish to shine through.
Wooden pallets are seriously nifty to have on hand. If you have any leftover after making some sweet patio furniture, you can easily use them to create some adorable garden boxes, too! Plant tomatoes, herbs, squash, onions or whatever you want! You can basically create your own vegetable patio without ever having to go to the store to get fresh veggies. Add some wheels to the bottoms of the boxes for easier mobility and to prevent your plants from flooding or getting too much sun.
Based on the above, grass that grows on sandy soil must be watered more often than the same grass growing on clay or loam soils. Even after a thorough watering, sandy soils hold little plant-available moisture. They require more frequent irrigation with smaller amounts of water. Conversely, turf growing on a loamy-clay soil can be irrigated less frequently, with larger quantities of water. Watering less often means more efficient water use because of less loss to evaporation. It can also reduce the number of weeds that appear in the lawn.

I recommend "tall fescue". Be sure to check the label and make sure it is pure tall fescue. Some outfits that sell seed mix in some annual ryegrass and call it "nursury grass - it will care for the tall fescue which takes longer to germinate." I don't agree with that. Note that tall fescue seed is significantly more expensive than annual ryegrass ...

MYTH: "If I mow short, it will be longer until I have to mow again." False! Wrong! (SLAP! SLAP! SLAP!) Your grass needs grass blades to do photosynthesis (convert sunshine into sugar) to feed the roots. When you whack the blades off, the grass has to RACE to make more blades to make sugar. It then grows amazingly fast. This fast growth uses up a lot of the grass's stored sugar, and weakens the plant. It is now vulnerable to disease and pests! Tall grass is healthier and can use the extra sugar to make rhizomes (more grass plants) thus thickening the turf. Have you ever noticed that short grass in the summer is always riddled with dead brown patches?


If you spend any time online, you’ll see planters made from items like cinderblocks, wooden pallets, and rain gutters. Available at home improvement stores, these make very unusual and creative vertical planters. One caveat: When planting edibles, use only new, clean cinderblocks lined with plastic (punch drainage holes into bottom), and wooden pallets that have not been chemically treated.
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Nearly every county in the United States has a county extension office. The word "extension" means that the office is an extension of the the state agricultural school. This office is staffed by people who are paid to answer questions about plant life in the county (including lawns). If people don't call, they could lose their jobs! Call! Ask lots of questions! Visit! Take weed samples to them for identification! Bugs too!
Customize your garden with stackable garden planters! You can grow 16 plants or more in small vertical space with this clever stackable planter. The tiers are self-watering; simply water the top tier and let the water flow down to the bottom layer in one simple step. Stacked on top of one another, they’ll create a beautiful natural arrangement. When you’re not using them, you can easily store them away.
Certain ornamental grasses, like maiden grass, are resistant to dog traffic without having sharp blades that will cut or otherwise injure your pup. This greenery holds its shape throughout the year, and will give your dog plenty of space to play. That being said, what’s more important than planting dog-resistant plants is planting species that are not harmful to dogs. Some flowers, like azaleas and daffodils, can be toxic to dogs and should not be planted in a place where they might accidentally be ingested.
General Disclaimer: Get Rich Slowly is an independent website managed by J.D. Roth, who is not a trained financial expert. His knowledge comes from the school of hard knocks. He does his best to provide accurate, useful info, but makes no guarantee that all readers will achieve the same level of success. If you have questions, consult a trained professional.
Cluster containers in one space for high impact. Look at the group as a whole composition, and plant it as a cohesive unit with complementary and repeated colors. If you don’t feel confident with how you choose colors, think of your plants like you might think of a artist’s color wheel—or use the idea of a color chart, or the colors from the paint chips at a home improvement store, to get ideas for how you might like shades and tones to go together. Then, select your plants and your containers to create the feeling you love in the space that makes you feel comfortable.
Have kids? Or pets? Don't be afraid to give artificial grass a shot. "People always ask how to make a yard dog-proof and kid-proof, but there's no way because they're going to run around and tear up your grass," says Chris. "But if you give them an artificial grass area to play on, they won't wreak havoc on the rest of your yard." Plus, it requires zero upkeep on the weekends.
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