Do your dreams of manicured lawns, lush foliage and tranquil gardens always seem to fall flat? Despite all of your best efforts, like many other homeowners, you may always find yourself cursed with a brown thumb. Some people are just better than others at taking care of their lawn and caring for plants though, right? Wrong. With a little know-how, and the right tools in your gardening arsenal, anyone can have lovely outdoor spaces fit for a lifestyle magazine. Read on and we’ll show you five helpful tips to help anyone turn a brown thumb green.
Get the Right Gardening Tools
Is your tool shed looking a little sparse? It may be time to hit your nearest home goods warehouse and stock up on some gardening essentials. You may regularly mow your lawn, but if you aren’t using an edger on your weeds and around your corners, you’re not going to get the best overall effect. Lawn-edging helps to give your grass that perfect finished look, so be sure to invest in an edger that’s easy for you to use, and also offers high performance. A leaf blower is also essential and helps to give your lawn a crisp and tidy look, and will help to clear away stray grass clippings, leaves and debris. Rakes, shovels, hedge trimmers and an easy to maneuver wheelbarrow are also must-haves for laying mulch, planting new flowers and bushes, and toting weeds, branches and other organic matter away. Take inventory of what you have on hand and what you need, and slowly build your yard maintenance tool collection.
Find Your Focus
Now that you have all of the tools you need, and a renewed enthusiasm for gardening, it’s going to be tempting to want to do it all. However, it’s in you (and your yard’s) best interest to take it one piece at a time, and find an area to focus on. Want to get your grass looking healthy and green? Take the time to fertilize, water and regularly trim it until it’s looking lush again. Want to refresh your flower beds? Take the time to research what type of ground cover and flowers you want to plant, and plan accordingly. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or excited when you go to nurseries and gardening centers, and you may find yourself buying plants and flowers that don’t go together, or that require special care. When you focus on learning how to manage and care for one area of your yard at a time, you’ll find that you end up with the best results.
Choose Native Plants
One of the best ways to fail when it comes to raising and caring for plants is by trying to grow flowers and foliage that are out of their element. You may really want to grow an apple tree if you live in a tropical climate, but you’ll probably never get apples. Doing your research and finding native plants is important for so many reasons, but most of all, because some plants simply won’t grow in certain regions. Research grass types that grow best in your climate and you’ll find that you won’t struggle as much to care for your lawn!
Besides ease of care, native plants also tend to look and perform better in their natural environment. If you have a home in an arid, desert climate, embrace succulents, cacti and other heat-tolerant plants for a beautiful way to blend your yard into the landscape. Live in a tropical climate? Embrace palm trees, tropical plants and exotic flowers for a lovely, effortless way to cultivate a lovely looking garden. Ask a plant pro at your local nursery or gardening center which native plants perform the best and require the least amount of care so you end up with a finished outdoor space that’s easy to enjoy.
Ask the Pros
Not sure what type of fertilizer to use? What’s the best way to keep weeds at bay? How often should you water certain plants? Don’t be afraid to ask the pros! Whether you have a chat with your local horticulturist, ask some advice from your lawn maintenance company, or simply do a quick internet search, dig in and get dirty when it comes to making the most of your yard. The answers may be more simple than you think, and the solutions may already be at your fingertips, so use all of the resources you can find and get growing. Professional horticulturists can also give you tips, tricks and advice on areas of your lawn that you may not have even considered! Can’t find a pro? Scan the internet for gardening enthusiast job boards, or see if your library or rec center has a gardening club you can join. Enthusiasts are always happy to share their knowledge to anyone with an ear to lend!
Don’t Give Up
Most importantly, when it comes to watching your garden grow … don’t give up! If one method doesn’t work, start over and try, try again. Is your grass drying out, despite your efforts to get out there and water it every day? Maybe the solution to your parched lawn problem is a sprinkler system. Can’t get your roses to meet their full potential and create beautiful blooms? Visit your nursery and ask if you need to feed your rose bushes a different type of fertilizer. Are the leaves on your new shrubs turning yellow and brown? Take a look at where they are located in your yard, and research to see if they need more or less sunlight. Most of the time, the reason something isn’t growing right (or isn’t growing at all) can be easily be found and then fixed with a few simple tweaks.
So are you ready to finally plant some herbs, create a cool butterfly garden, or simply fill in some patchy grass on your lawn? Arm yourself with the proper gardening tools, get some knowledge about what works best in your area, take your time and keep trying and you’ll be sure to banish your brown thumb for good!