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Garden Design Tips from Better Homes and Gardens

Great-looking garden design doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. If you don’t forget about the basics, it’s easy to create a professional look like you see in gardening magazines.

Better Homes and Gardens magazine editor Justin Hancock reveals his time saving tips and money saving tricks for backyard beauty:

Add Instant Impact Easily
Hancock says one quick and easy way to achieve instant impact in the garden is to plant en masse, filling-up flowerbeds and bolstering borders with super-sized color-bearing shrubs like azaleas, shrub roses and hydrangeas.

“Planting several of the same variety of a plant in one area is a fool-proof way to create a big impact, even if you have a little space,” says Hancock. “And it’s less intimidating to work with one color instead of having to mix several different shades.”

Do opt for repeat blooming shrubs. Planting long season bloomers eliminates the necessity to plant annuals to maintain continuous color in the landscape.

Water Wisely and Feed Well
“No matter what kinds of plants you grow, your garden will look its best if you keep your plants healthy,” says Hancock. “Regular maintenance -- watering and feeding your plants appropriately will also save you time and money,” he says. Keeping plants healthy and hydrated is your best defense against poor performance.

Do save time and money fertilizing. Look for a long lasting, slow release plant food like Dynamite All Purpose fertilizer. Dynamite’s slow release formula will do the work for you. It releases just the right amount of nutrients that plants need for a full nine months, eliminating the need to feed more than once a growing season. And because it features a release technology awarded the Gulf Guardian Award by the Environmental Protection Agency, home gardeners can rest assured they are fertilizing well without harming Mother Nature, as this particular fertilizer reduces nutrient run-off and keeps our waters clean.

Minimize Your Lawn; Maximize Your Style
Today’s style conscious home gardeners are trading in their square-shaped lawns for a more curvaceous, stylized look that ultimately saves time and money.

“Most gardeners I know want to cut down on how much time they spend mowing the lawn and how much money they spend watering it,” says Hancock. To accomplish this, Hancock says to think outside the planting box, “Get rid of lawn in areas where it’s tough to mow or the grass struggles. Replace it with easy-care perennials and groundcovers.”

Or replace grass with hardscape elements and free flowing flowerbeds to create an outdoor space that adds dramatic visual interest and unique style.

“One thing that’s great about free-flowing beds is that it isn’t a science -- you can create shapes that look great to you. You’ll end up with a personal look with loads of impact -- and less upkeep.”

Incorporate Art in the Garden
Garden planning is a lot like interior design. Every great indoor room incorporates decorative accessories that add interest and a finishing touch to the overall look. You can apply interior design elements to your outdoor design as well.

Do add architectural elements of surprise within gardenscapes in the form of garden art.

“Using architectural salvage is hot right now. Decorate your beds and borders with accessories such as an old metal gate you plant sweet peas on or using an old chair or table to put containers on,” he says. Design elements like these will add a powerful punch and a touch of panache to an otherwise traditional garden setting.

Hancock says that garden art doesn’t have to be high end or brand new. Look for unique artifacts in your own garage, at a yard sale, or a flea market.

For inspiration designing your outdoor room, visit, and

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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