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Thought2Action LLC ®
Site Owner
Posts: 99

Whether it's a community plot or your own yard, patio, or balcony, it's fun to imagine all the things you can do with your yard and garden, then make it happen, step-by-step. Like any other space in your home, making your yard and garden work for your unique tastes and needs will take some time. Use these tips to get started:

 

• Think about the elements of a garden or landscape that will make you happy. Whether they come from childhood experiences, a spectacular vacation, or a defining life event, these memories will help you choose a style for your garden. Make a list of these ideas for reference later.

 

• Visit public and neighborhood gardens; look at pictures; observe the outdoor surroundings that make you happiest. From green trees to colorful plants to water features to furnishings, you get to choose every aspect of your garden to make it an ideal haven, source of groceries, or beautiful sight outside your window. Make a list of the features from the places you visit and pictures you see that you may want to integrate into your garden. If possible, take pictures to keep your memories fresh.

 

• Make a diagram of the area you'd like to use as a garden. Your diagram may be as simple or as detailed as you like, from a sketch created freehand to a detailed drawing done with accurate measurements on graph paper. Better Homes & Gardens provides a free tool to help you create a more precise garden drawing.

 

With your list of ideas and diagram of your space in hand, you're ready to move to the next step: plan it.

 

Share your garden ideas here.

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Get Organized 2 Get It Done!

April 8, 2011 at 10:56 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Thought2Action LLC ®
Site Owner
Posts: 99

On the "picture it" step, you visualized your ideal yard or garden, spent some time looking for ideas, and drew a sketch of your space. Now use your ideas and sketch to make a plan:

 

Identify the unique features of your space. What are its identifying features? Do you want to emphasize or hide them? Consider slope, drainage, amount and direction of sunlight, existing trees, and any other features you won't be changing. Make note of the features of adjoining properties as well: what do you want to keep in your line of sight, and what do you want to camoflage? Often it's easier - and less expensive - to work around the unique features of your space unless they are annoying, hazardous, or cause damage to your home, like tree roots that grow through a patio or walkway or a bright streetlight that shines onto prime entertaining space.

 

Name the activities you want to happen there. From plain-and-simple relaxation to planting and harvesting vegetables and herbs to entertaining family and friends, your yard or garden extends your home. Keeping the features of your space in mind, list the activities you want for your space as well as what changes you need to make them happen. For inspiration, visit HGTV.

 

Merge features and activities into your sketch. Note on the diagram you've made of your yard or garden space the unique features you identified. Then, if you're planning to use your space for multiple purposes, indicate what parts of your space you hope to use for each. There will probably be overlap, but this step will help you visualize your plans and manage your own expectations about what is possible in your space. You may find that you don't have room for a vegetable garden, a children's play area, and a quiet relaxation spot, or that you need to use some creativity to fit them all in.

 

Now that you've blended your ideas together into a sketch and lists of wants and needs, you're ready to move to the next phase of your project: make it happen.

 

Share your garden planning tips here.

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Get Organized 2 Get It Done!

April 11, 2011 at 5:45 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Thought2Action LLC ®
Site Owner
Posts: 99

You've pictured it and planned it. Now you're ready to make it happen - move your yard and garden ideas from concept to reality. Use these tips to create an environment you and your family will enjoy for years to come:

 

Estimate your budget and timeline. So much of your yard or garden transformation depends on your budget! Visit local nurseries and gardening centers to locate what you want and compare prices. Try some alternative locations to find plants, tools, and other materials you might need. Discount warehouses and hardware stores often have gardening departments and may offer high-quality products at very competitive prices. If there are other gardeners in your neighborhood, consider forming an exchange or co-op in which you trade plants from each other's yards, or pool your funds to buy garden materials in bulk, then split them among you. Your timeline is very dependent on your budget as well. If your budget is modest, you may choose to phase in your changes over several seasons or several years.

 

Choose to do it yourself or hire a professional. This choice depends on your time, confidence, energy, and, of course, budget. If you'd like to enjoy the results but don't care to be involved in the digging, planting, and other tasks to create your new yard or garden, then by all means, hire someone from your local nursery or garden center to do the work. If part of the fun for you is getting your hands dirty long before you see the results of your efforts, then you're a candidate for a do-it-yourself project. If you can recruit family and friends to join you during the transformation, all the better. All of you will have stories to tell about bulbs planted upside down, shade-loving shrubs planted in bright sunlight, and stepping stones laid and re-laid to get the spacing just right. Take before and after pictures to record your progress; they'll make your stories even more vivid!

 

Personalize with garden accents. In addition to the plantings and structures that comprise your new yard or garden landscape, consider adding some special touches with accent pieces that attract your eye and make your space unique. From gazing balls, whirlagigs, and sculptures to birdhouses, feeders, and baths, a few strategically placed accents can make your garden "pop."

 

Share here how you made the vision for your yard or garden happen, and move on to the final step: maintain it.

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Get Organized 2 Get It Done!

April 14, 2011 at 6:36 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Thought2Action LLC ®
Site Owner
Posts: 99

You've pictured it, planned it, and made it happen. You've even had opportunities to enjoy your yard and garden with children, pets, friends, and family. Now it's time to create a plan to maintain it for years of beauty and enjoyment. One option is to hire a lawn care company to handle maintenance. However, if you enjoy gardening and working in the yard yourself, make an appointment with yourself to spend several hours or a day or more - depending on the size of your space - handlng the following tasks:

 

Spring clean-up

 

Remove debris. Basic clean-up after winter weather includes removing everything that litters your space after winter weather has passed: broken twigs and branches, leaves, animal waste, trash.

 

Note repairs. As you remove debris, look carefully at the plants and structures in your yard and garden space. What plants need trimming, pruning, or repair? What structures need fixing, painting, replacing or removing altogether? Make a list for use later.

 

Remove dead grass. To prevent excessive thatch, rake grassy areas or use a mower with a bagger.

Fertilize bare spots. Fill in areas worn down from winter frost or pet wear with hardy seed formulated specifically for bare spots that develop from wear or constant shade.

Apply pre-emergent herbicide. Spring is the season to prevent weeds. Unlike herbicides that kill weeds that have already sprouted, pre-emergent herbicides keep weeds from growing in the first place.

Shop for repair items. Using the list you created in step #2, find the items you need to handle each of the repairs you noted. Then schedule some time to address all of the repairs on your list.

Schedule regular mowing and weeding. To keep your yard and garden looking fresh, maintain a mowing and weeding schedule throughout the growing season (for most areas, April through early November). Your schedule may vary through the season depending on how frequently grass, flowers, herbs, vegetables, and weeds need attention, from once every three or four days to once each week to ten days.

 

Encourage your family members to join you, and keep them involved throughout the planting, growing and maintenance steps so that they may appreciate the work and rewards you can find in your yard and garden.

 

For a comprehensive, detailed guide to garden maintenance, link to Better Homes and Gardens. For yard maintenance tips, visit Garden Place.

 

Share here your yard and garden maintenance tips.

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Get Organized 2 Get It Done!

April 27, 2011 at 3:45 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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