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.
Developer Joseph Eichler's name has become associated with the Midcentury Modern California housing tracts that he built in the 1950s and 1960s. While most were in the suburbs, the 1962-built Diamond Heights Eichlers are in the city of San Francisco's Visitacion Valley neighborhood. The Garden Route Co. remodeled the landscape of a two-story Diamond Heights Eichler with a steep hillside garden. The challenge: creating flat, usable outdoor living spaces by building terraces and stairs that connect the different levels. With an emphasis on texture, plants with bold forms, and colors, the garden softens the angular landscape architecture and gives the backyard a modern update.
If you’re putting in a few flowers or plants, it’s tempting to load your shopping cart with bags of expensive potting soil. Certainly this is important to give your plants the nutrients they need, but you don’t have to do it with soil alone. You can cut your soil costs in half by making the most of your family’s leftover organic scraps. Mix a bag of potting soil with equal parts backyard compost for a nutrient-dense mixture that your plants should love.
These projects require not only muscle and time but construction knowledge and experience. You can learn anything from a book or watching a demo, but in real life problems occur. Parts don’t fit, something won’t cooperate, and knowing what to do when the book leaves something out or how to fix a problem when you have made a mistake, is where landscape professionals soar.
Around your outdoor living space, add beds of mulch instead of grass. "It's one of the best investments you can have in your yard because mulch breaks down, fertilizes your plants, and prevents weeds," says Chris. "It's low-maintenance because you don't have to mow it or water it. It's also inexpensive and you only have to replace it in the spring." An added perk: Mulch also provides a pleasant aroma for your yard.
Building large retaining walls is not considered a DIY project. If you need a tall wall, chances are you have an erosion problem just waiting to happen and need to call on a professional. By contrast, though, simple terracing jobs are excellent DIY landscaping projects for beginners. After building small stone retaining walls, you can plant behind them, as you would for a raised bed.
Stacked pots offer opportunities to layer texture and color in your plantings. If you plan to use this approach, have it in mind and prepare your structure before doing your planting. Terra cotta pots work particularly well for this application because they will allow moisture to transfer from one pot to another, meaning that when you water the upper tier you may still get some benefit below. A mixture of colorful annuals and textural foliage fills this grouping, and spills from above to below. Plan a variety of colors in each to create visual harmony and interest.
Second of all, some community colleges have excellent horticulture programs (some don’t, so investigate) and have students with a gift for design. Many times, they will design a yard for free to fulfill a class project or to add to their portfolio. Just call the instructor. They will know the best students and I haven’t met a hort teacher yet that didn’t like to talk about their program.
A simple-to-follow formula is all you need to create drama in a container. Here, it takes only four plants to convey the sweeping illusion of a floor-length gown. The key to pulling this off is starting with an elevated planter so the vibrant 'Celebration' and 'Florida Sweetheart' caladiums pop at eye level. Clusters of white wishbone flower fill the empty spaces between the caladium stems and also conceal the actual container, which means you can use just about any freestanding vessel. The final attention grabber is the graceful creeping Jenny spilling over the sides. Position this planter in the shade and water regularly for a gorgeous, easy-to-maintain display.
You can basically turn anything into a garden bed. It doesn’t really matter what you have laying around – if it can hold dirt, it can be a planter. In this awesome picture, these steel basins have become completely unique and eye-catching flower beds. The gravel or shale used on the garden floor surround these funky beds only makes that natural rustic feel come out. The basins seem to be a bit rusted over, but this really only adds to the charm of the scene.

In the horticultural world "rot" almost always mean "composting". To properly compost, you need a certain mixture of carbon heavy organic matter (wood, dried leaves, straw, etc.) and nitrogen heavy organic matter (manure, grass clippings, table scraps, weeds, etc.). If you get just the right mix, you get hot composting happening. Too much nitrogen and it gets a little stinky. Too much carbon and the composting takes a very long time.


Citrus trees can be grown on a balcony in a surprisingly small area. Whether you start from a seed or a small indoor fruit tree you will love enjoying fresh fruit year after year. Citrus trees require at least 6-8 hours of sunlight. They like humid weather so if you live in an area with low humidity, spray your tree with a lukewarm mist about every other day. You will want to make sure to keep the soil moist but more on the dry side, so weekly watering should be sufficient.
I live in Northern New Jersey and here is my issue….My lawn tends to get CRABGRASS come summer time. I would like to put down pre-emergent fertilizer/crabgrass preventer right now in the early Spring. I also have patches in my lawn that requires seeding. The issue is that all fertilizers/weed preventers read on the bag “do not seed for at least 8 weeks from fertilizing” My question is, should I seed now (early April) or put down the fertilizer and deal with the bare spots???

There are do-it-yourself kits available from some lawn care services or lawn and garden shops. The cooperative extension offices in many states will also test soil for free or for a low fee. Private companies also provide kits and testing for a fee. Once you get the results returned, you will see what you may need to add to the soil in order to get the lawn of your dreams.
This is not something you need a chicken hutch to have in your back garden. Instead, these beautiful low-growing Hen and Chicks plants fill this vintage metal planter. The silver undertones of the leaves mirror the copper finish of the tub. The Southern Living Garden Book describes Hen and Chicks as Mexican natives with 'rosettes of fleshy leaves,' and that is simply the perfect description for these succulent perennials. Available in a wide range of colors, you will be able to choose the Hen and Chicks that best fit the tone of your container garden. Or, mix and match to your heart’s delight and revel in their subtle variations.
Beautiful and inspiring pictures, great principles, it gave me what I needed for my project. For people new to the details involved in plants, there's not a lot of information in this book, but that's not what it set out to achieve. It's a great 'one of many' you should have in your collection if directing your landscaping, or wanting to be part of the decision-making process.
Strawberries can be grown in a window box, a pot, or on a balcony. They don’t need more than 12″ soil depth but do need to get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Make sure to water them enough to keep the soil moist but not wet. Harvesting strawberries is a little like a treasure hunt, with many at leaf-level but much more hiding down by the soil line. Don’t overlook any!
Second of all, some community colleges have excellent horticulture programs (some don’t, so investigate) and have students with a gift for design. Many times, they will design a yard for free to fulfill a class project or to add to their portfolio. Just call the instructor. They will know the best students and I haven’t met a hort teacher yet that didn’t like to talk about their program.
Ortho Grass B Gon Garden Grass Killer is Ortho Grass B Gon Garden Grass Killer is a ready-to-use selective systemic grass killer that can be used to kill existing weedy grasses in and around ground covers plant beds landscapes individual shrubs and trees. And it won't harm listed landscape plants when used as directed. No mixing is required ...  More + Product Details Close
Here’s another great DIY tutorial that will help you create benches using your very own trees. This idea is not only handy, but it’s so easy to make and won’t cost you a thing if you have spare wood laying around. The more trees you have, the better with this great outdoor idea. The tree acts as a sort of base board or pillar for the actual bench, and all you have to do is built around the actual tree trunk to create some of the cutest benches ever! This is a great idea if you want to create outdoor seating without buying lawn furniture.
It is both beautiful and simple to use impatiens to accent porches and entryways, and as filler flowers, they subtly enhance any garden container. Here, a skirt of coral impatiens surrounds a dwarf Alberta spruce. The dwarf spruce is also well suited for container gardening— ‘Tiny Tower’, for example, grows to a full height of between only 4-6 feet tall. These beautiful, small trees also have soft, bright green needles when they are young, and color to a gorgeous silver-green as they mature. You may need to gently prune this spruce into shape, which will help to promote slow growth and a full, dense form. You’ll love the results.
Give small gardens a big boost of style by adding an oversize gate or arbor at one end to act as a focal point. It will draw the eye in and make the space seem larger. Here, a large-scale ornamental entry arbor gives this tiny side yard some visual heft. Plus, it supports a crown of climbing roses. White lilies in the center bed mirror the white roses and arbor.
Terraced stone steps in a mix-and-match pattern creates a strong focal point, while "character" plants create visual interest on both sides of the path. Rusty-hued Carex testacea softens the front path, while green kniphofia, plum Heuchera ‘Obsidian’, Libertia peregrinans ‘Bronze Sword’, and euphorbia surround the ‘Karl Foerster’ grass. Across the path, drifts of Picea sitchensis ‘Papoose’, variegated iris, and Phormium ‘Dusky Chief’ encircle a ginkgo tree.
The upper level of this gorgeous Trex deck is the central entertaining and dining space and includes a beautiful concrete fire table and a custom cedar bench that floats over the deck. Light brown custom cedar screen walls provide privacy along the landscaped terrace and compliment the warm hues of the decking. Clean, modern light fixtures are also present in the deck steps, along the deck perimeter, and throughout the landscape making the space well-defined in the evening as well as the daytime.
You don’t need to hire an architect or professional landscaper to get some interesting layout designs. With a little research and the help from photos like this one, you can easily see some ideas and recreate them to fit your own specifications. Cut out shapes in planters and sidewalk areas can offer an interesting yard focal point or even add to an already existing design. Use your imagination and cut shapes out to fit into your lawn via garden beds or even gravel and rocks.
A pool area can be tricky to repurpose, so be careful not to get too tacky. Using things you have on hand is key when trying to save money. By creating raised beds around the pool area, you add an interesting conception of height and texture. Add deep green plants or your favorite flowering bushes to create this natural element that is both beautiful and relaxing. If you have extra wood on hand, you could easily create some fun garden boxes to place in the corners around the pool area. Your pool area would be barbecue ready in no time.
Unfortunately, many people don’t have the time or energy to create and maintain a compost pile. As an alternative, you can still mix in discards such as coffee grounds and the clay- or mud-like dirt in your backyard to get more bang for your buck. It’s also possible to add mulch, which is nutritious for plants and slightly less expensive than potting soil.

There is nothing more natural in a landscape than grass. If you’re wanting to save some money on a landscaping idea, try incorporating this natural element into the scene as heavily as possible. Grass doesn’t get enough credit. It’s a gorgeous color, it grows easily and odds are, it’s already existent in your landscape. In this funky scene, stepping stones are used to create an interesting pattern in the grass. The brilliant green just cuts between the stones creating a fun shape that is definitely an eye-catcher.
Like patios and walkways, these "hardscape" elements bring structure to your landscaping. Traditionally made of wood, decks, fences and arbors are now sometimes composed of other materials. Composite wood is an option to consider for decking and deck railings, while vinyl fences and arbors have become very common. It's also important to consider the landscaping that will surround a fence or deck.
It is both beautiful and simple to use impatiens to accent porches and entryways, and as filler flowers, they subtly enhance any garden container. Here, a skirt of coral impatiens surrounds a dwarf Alberta spruce. The dwarf spruce is also well suited for container gardening— ‘Tiny Tower’, for example, grows to a full height of between only 4-6 feet tall. These beautiful, small trees also have soft, bright green needles when they are young, and color to a gorgeous silver-green as they mature. You may need to gently prune this spruce into shape, which will help to promote slow growth and a full, dense form. You’ll love the results.
Landscaping and gardening are also ideal outlets for your creativity. Nature gives you an expansive palette of colors, textures, scents, and structural compositions to choose from. In a home garden, you can take these gifts from nature and combine them in any style you desire. But with so many landscaping options at your disposal, where do you begin?
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Build a border: Landscape timbers, railroad ties and short retaining walls for flower beds or raised bed gardening are easy do it yourself landscaping projects that have long-lasting impact. Draw up a simple landscape design plan for the area you plan to border and make a list of materials you’ll need – the border itself, fill dirt/topsoil, plant life and tools. Building borders make take a little elbow grease, but your creation will be worth years of enjoyment!
For a late-summer container that steals the show, make bold foliage the focal point. This easy-care, end-of-season planter uses vibrant 'Rustic Orange' coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides), identified by its rusty-hued leaves that will last until the first frost. The filler in this space-saving pot is 'Compact Hot Coral' SunPatiens (Impatiens sp.), which has tiny tangerine blooms and dark, shiny leaves that contrast nicely with the bronze-toned coleus. Finally, 'Yellow Moon' wishbone flower (Torenia sp.) adds even more lush greenery to the arrangement and offers petite yellow petals with purple throats. This is a thirsty container, so you'll need to make sure it stays well watered. Place it in full sun or partial shade.
Sit back and imagine this classic cast-metal urn in a dreamy garden or on a light-filled screened porch. The urn itself is styled with classic Victorian lines, giving it a romantic element, but it is the arrangement that truly makes it magical. The key to designing this look is combining contrasting textures. Here, grassy cordyline, puffy pink dianthus, sweeping ‘Ace of Spades’ sweet potato vine, dainty blue lobelia, and spires of pink angelonia all come together in a cascade and crescendo of bright color and loud celebration. Set against the beautiful shape, but simple monochrome tone, of the vase, this creates a show-stopping container for your home garden.
When creating areas of defined space in your landscape, it’s important to establish and maintain borders. This is key because edging can draw the eye to different areas, keep things looking tidy and organized, and allow you to add some style with your materials of choice. Be sure to check out the Southern Living Plant Collection for border planting ideas.
Although they may not be the first thing that come to mind, don’t ignore edibles when selecting your planting materials. Different varieties of lettuce have beautiful color and texture, and can add both visual interest and an unexpected kitchen surprise to your container garden. Here, several leafy edibles mix with violas and mums. These leafy greens will be a surprise to people who wonder what is creating the beautiful colors in your containers—and you’ll be just as surprised if you choose to let them be the centerpiece of something on your dinner plate.
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Allow Your Garden to Change A garden for a family with little kids may not be the same as a garden that empty nesters desire -- and that's OK. "Our yards are a direct expression of how we want to live," says Miller. That translates into a more fluid approach to do it yourself landscaping. For example, when your kids are little you may not have lots of time to maintain gardens; instead you want a tough, durable, low-maintenance approach to landscape. As your kids grow, you may have more hours and willingness to devote to small and large projects that you do by yourself. "There are different stages and phases of life and of the garden," says Miller.
An outdoor room, like the space created under a pergola, can be a welcoming place to mix your containers. This grouping has a lush, vibrant assortment of planters and hanging pots. Combine complimentary colors and plantings to ensure you will have the feeling of a unified, welcoming space that you can settle into on a warm, sun-filled summer afternoon. Hardscaping defines a space for seating under the pergola, which well-placed containers will soften and enhance. Then, sit back and listen to the sweet chirp of birds, watch the butterflies on wing, and enjoy the fragrances from your beautiful container garden.
It's easy to create a hodgepodge look when planting if you try to plant one of everything. Avoid that with this gardening idea: Reusing the same colors, shapes, or plant varieties in plantings. Here's a perfect example: To the left of the deck, golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea') echoes the color of golden sweet flag (Acorus gramineus 'Ogon'). The sweet flag augments the texture of the blue fescue (Festuca 'Elijah Blue'), which plays off the silvery-blue color of a potted false cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Baby Blue'). The shape of the false cypress, in turn, is a repeat of the Japanese maple next to the deck.
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