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    So your new home is looking good: window treatments, furniture and some knick-knacks that make it truly your own. What about outside? A garden can add a new dimension to your home, transforming it from plain and simple to warm and inviting. How do you get started and what should you plant? Here are some tips.


    Starting Out
    The first step to creating your home garden is planning. If this is your first garden, start off small and practical.
    Don’t get in over your head. If you have a bit of gardening experience, feel free to branch out and explore new ground (pun intended). Choosing a small section in a high profile area of your yard is the best choice. Pick a place that is visible from inside your home so you can enjoy it any time. Sunlight is perhaps the most important factor. Choose an area that receives plenty of light throughout the day (preferably 6 to 8 hours) and is not frequently hit by harsh winds.


    Where/What to Grow?
    The best way to decide what and where to plant is by:


    1. picking the foliage/flowers you would like to grow

    2. learning their growing conditions

    3. choosing a location based on these requirements


    Plants are fickle organisms, so it is best to cater to their needs and not force them to suit your own. Soil that is thick with rocks or has a clay-like consistency is not ideal for planting. Find a location with soil that crumbles softly and is dark in color, like rich chocolate cake.


    Gathering Resources
    Do you have the proper tools? After the location is chosen, it is time to take stock of your inventory. As prepared as you may be, it is always a good idea to make one final check of your wares before any work is started.


    Start with tilling tools, such as a shovel and spade, and possibly a pick to break through tough soil. Cultivating tools come next. These include hoes and pruning utilities, such as shears. Having a bulb planter handy is ideal.


    Starting Your Garden
    After you have purchased your plants, you will want to water them the day before planting. Prepare the exact location for each plant beforehand, and remember that the best time to plant is an overcast day with little wind.


    Prepare the bed:


    1. Remove any weeds from selected area

    2. Remove the top layer of grass to expose remaining top soil

    3. Dig a plot about 12″ deep; set aside healthy soil

    4. Place a layer of sand into plot

    5. Cover sand with a thick layer of compost


    Top off with soil removed during step 3



    1. Remove plant from pot

    2. Loosen roots; this allows them to grow more freely

    3. Dig a small hole deep enough to cover plant’s roots

    4. Place plant in hole

    5. Cover with soil

    6. Water your plants immediately. Your plants may wilt slightly on long, dry days. If watered regularly, they will spring back during nightfall


    Note: Distance plants according to instructions




    A garden is meant to not only beautify the outside of your home, but also provide a comfortable location for you to unwind. Whatever you choose to do, take advantage of the peace and tranquility only a garden can provide.


    Here’s a list of ways you can use your landscaping and window trimmings to get the most out of your indoor comfort:


    • Trees that shed their leaves in winter are best planted by windows that receive direct sunlight. They allow warming rays to enter during the winter months, and block direct sunlight in the summer.
    • A row of shrubs can act as shade, protect against harsh winter winds and create a natural sound barrier.
    • Trellises allow vines to grow by windows and patios that can provide cooling shade and deflect winter winds.


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