Using Gravel in Landscaping

Article by  Cathrine Wilson

Gravel comes in numerous kinds. One should recollect the way that gravel, once blended with the landscaping elements, will be difficult to expel at a later period. Thus, it should be utilized as a part of regions where they are required consistently. Moreover, gravel does not add to the natural elements of the soil.

Gravel cost could be substantial if obtained in high sums. Consequently, it is practical to ensure you choose the amount you require for your landscaping and have it delivered at home if the amount is too huge. Gravel can shape some portion of numerous locations in a landscape. It helps in having gravel spread out in the waterfalls or such water related zones. The edges of swimming pools or ponds show signs of improvement and complete the look when the correct sort of gravel is blended there.


24 Genius Gardening Hacks You’ll Be Glad You Know

This collection of gardening and landscaping handy hints will give you effective new techniques to get the beautiful garden and backyard you’ve always wanted.

plant in a pot landscaping design seasonal mums HH Handy HintFamily Handyman

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Plant-in-a-Pot Landscaping Design

Ever wish you could reorganize your garden after seeing how the mature plants look? Here’s a clever way to do it. You’ll need a bunch of pots of the same size, so they’ll nest in each other. Put your plants in doubled pots, and then bury them at ground level. Whenever you want a change, lift out the top pot and put in a different one. This method is also really slick for bringing plants indoors over the winter. This method is great for quickly changing out seasonal plants, and allows for easy experimentation with color and placement of plants and flowers.

Outdoor Handy Hints

These handy hints make everything in the great outdoors easier!

HH Handy Hints Pop cans save soil gardeningFamily Handyman

Saving Soil with Old Cans

For deep planters, fill the bottom with old cans and plant pots. The cans and pots improve drainage and create air pockets for better aeration and healthier soil.

HH Handy Hint Plant seeds in toilet paper tubesFamily Handyman

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Cardboard Seed Tubes

For an easy and green way to start seeds, save your toilet paper and paper towel tubes. Cut the tubes into 2 in. lengths and set them in a waterproof tray. Fill the tubes with potting soil and plant your seeds. When the seedlings are ready to move to the garden, plant them right in their cardboard tube. The cardboard will decompose. Be sure to keep the tube below the soil surface, so it doesn’t wick moisture away from the roots.

Check out these 20 brilliant ways to use hangers, rubber bands and cardboard tubes around your home.

HH Handy Hint How to fertilize dense plants PVCFamily Handyman
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Fertilize Dense Plants

Fertilizing bushes or other dense plants requires getting the fertilizer to the base of the plant, so I use a length of 2″ PVC. Slide one end down to the plant base and pour the fertilizer into the pipe. Cut the top of the pipe at 45 degrees to give yourself a larger opening to pour in the fertilizer. – Gordon R. Watson

See more garden hints at:


New plants for 2020 gardens

by Tara Nolan

This is the page where I discuss the eye-catching new plants that cross my radar each year. Check back in from time to time, as I’m sure I’ll be adding a new plant here and there if I discover something special.

New plants for 2020

Superbells Blackcurrant Punch and Double Blue Calibrachoa

Wave Carmine Velour Spreading Petunia

Marigold dropshot

Coleus Main Street Beale Street

UpTown Frosted Strawberry Zinnia

Bright Lights Berry Rose Osteospermum

Sedum takesimense ATLANTIS

Lavandula Bandera Deep Purple


For photos and descriptions of these new plants, please go to Tara’s website:

4 Great Alternatives for Beloved Plants that Don’t Fit

Article by Rochelle Greayer.

How on earth did that small arborvitae I planted in front of the house get so huge?

It happens all the time.

Either a previous owner, or maybe it was you, planted something that was tiny when it was new, but over the years it has slowly turned into a hulking monster.

It is really hard to imagine the size that a shrub or tree will eventually achieve even a few years, let alone when it is fully mature.  Plant companies and breeders know that this a common problem so the influx of dwarf (or latin ‘nana’) varieties are very common.  But if there is no dwarf, you may find you need to seek out other options.  Here are some smaller options for four of the most loved, but often overgrown garden plants.


Arborvitae commonly found in nurseries top out at anywhere from 20 to 60 feet tall —not exactly what you want in front of your living room window. Look out for Thuja occcidentalis ‘De Groot’s Spire’ (pictured above in the background) on the other hand, is a slim, tall-ish column that slowly grows to just 15 feet tall and 4 feet wide.

Thuja occcidentalis ‘De Groot’s Spire’ is a cultivar of the native Eastern arborvitae that works beautifully as a foundation bed accent or a repeating vertical theme in a large mixed border. It prefers full sun to part sun and will be much less dense if grown in shade. USDA Zones 3-8.


Need a ladder to smell your lilacs?
The common lilac, Syringa vulgaris, matures at 12 to 20 feet tall and spreads 8 to 15 feet across. A good alternative is S. meyeri ‘Palibin’, a compact 4-5 foot cultivar of Korean lilac. Or Also, The Bloomerang lilacs (S. x ‘Bloomerang’, ‘Bloomerang Purple’) were developed using S. meyerii as a parent and are a great, short 3-4 foot alternative.

Lilac Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’ by Christine Riggle CC

Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’ has pale pink, fragrant flowers that bloom profusely in late spring. As a bonus, its foliage is quite resistant to powdery mildew. Full sun, USDA Zones 4-7.

syringa lilac boomerang from proven winners

Bloomerang lilacs (Syringa x ‘Bloomerang’, ‘Bloomerang Purple‘) are a great 3 to 4 foot alternative to the larger and more mildew-prone common lilac, S. vulgaris. Another plus is their sporadic re-bloom throughout the summer and into fall. Full sun, USDA Zones 4-7.

Birch Trees

Why did you think that river birch would work as a foundation plant?
River birch is a beautiful native tree with gorgeous form and bark, accompanied by a great constitution, but it is also fast-growing to and can quickly reach 30 to 40 feet,. It’s baby cousin, however, Betula nigra ‘Little King’, is just as nice but it tops out at no more than 12 feet.

They are just too big - alternative platns for bloved overgrown varieites. - Dwarf birch from Monrovia

Betula nigra ‘Little King’ (Fox ValleyTM River Birch) is a dense, compact, multi-stemmed shrub with an irregular crown, typically growing close to 10 fee tall and wide. It fits nicely in a foundation garden or as a centerpiece of a mixed border. Full Sun to Part Shade, USDA Zones 4-9.

Butterfly Bush

Love butterflies, but can’t get over the big ugly butterfly bush mess that happens every winter?

Late summer blooms and butterflies, especially in a small garden, can be had with dwarf Buddleia x ‘Lo and Behold’ series – none gets more than 3 feet tall.

Buddleia x 'Lo and Behold'

The ‘Lo and Behold’ series offers lots of color choices: blue, lilac, pink and deep purple. Any one (or a combination) would make a fantastic mass planting in a hot, dry, sunny spot, and you can sit back and watch the butterflies at play. Full sun, Zones 5-9.

Thanks to Rochelle for this useful and timely article.  Her website:

Best Ways to Garden in Small Spaces



If you are anything like me, you love to garden but also know that sometimes it can be difficult to know how to start out. This is especially true if you live in an apartment or don’t really have the space to start a garden, and if money is tight.

A small court yard of a stone residence demonstrates that it is possible to garden in small spacesSave

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to garden in a small space, all while sticking to your budget and not breaking the bank. This easy guide will help point you in the right direction.

Come Up With A Plan

The first step in growing plants in small spaces is to come up with some sort of game plan. If you live in an apartment and only have a balcony or patio, then you are going to have to be a bit more creative when it comes to finding a way to plant everything, while not taking up all of your space with vegetation. You still need a bit of room for smaller sized outdoor furniture and seating.

The first step to coming up with a good plan is to find inspiration. I have found that following gardening, DIY, and landscaping boards on Pinterest has helped inspire some of the best and most creative ideas when it comes to growing my favorite plants!

Occasionally, these ideas have also helped me save a few dollars in the process. If you do not already have a Pinterest account, I highly recommend you get one and start following a few gardening boards.

They are loaded with all kinds of fun and quirky ideas!

Follow Gardener’s Path’s boards on Pinterest here.

Collect Items

Once you have a plan, or at least some sort of idea on where you are going to start with your garden or what you would eventually like to achieve, the next important step in gardening in small spaces is to start collecting the tools and items you will need.

One of the easiest ways to get started with growing plants in small spaces includes growing them in containers. Container gardening doesn’t have to mean clay or terra cotta planters, or perfectly formed plastic pots.

With a little imagination, you can recycle a vast number of items that you’ll find all around your home. Virtually anything can be transformed into a garden container, with very few limitations.

Just be sure that the items can hold enough soil for the plant, and that it will permit adequate drainage. The drainage issue can be resolved with a simple household drill to the bottom of the vessel.

Also ensure that you are not gardening with any containers that were used to hold toxic chemicals, especially if you are growing edible crops. And be sure to clean your containers thoroughly before planting, no matter what they were originally used for.

AN old yellow and white procelain claid footed bathtub being used as a planterSave

Reusing and recycling household items are great ways to garden efficiently, all while saving space and money. Chances are, you have many household items that can quickly be turned into unique garden containers.

Look around, and see what you can find. You’ll be surprised at the small treasures that await you.

Looking for items on websites like Craigslist or Freecycle, or checking for supplies at resale and thrift shops are more great ways to get more bang for your buck, and find unique items that will work great in any space!

Some of my favorite garden treasures have come from thrift stores.

Once you select an item that you’d like to recycle into a garden container, examine it for any signs of rust or mildew. Again, it’s a good idea to thoroughly clean out the container to remove any debris or potentially dangerous chemicals.

In addition, if you’ve selected an older wooden object, you may want to consider treating it with a clear waterproof latex sealer. This will extend the life and durability of the container.

Household Items That Work Great As Planters:

  • Cans
  • Milk Crate
  • Bottles
  • Jars
  • Toilet Paper Rolls
  • Lanterns
  • Fish Tanks
  • Fish Bowls
  • Tires
  • Old Toolboxes, Mailboxes, or Baskets
  • Glassware
  • Gutters
  • Pipes
  • Cinder Blocks
  • Concrete
  • Wagons, Wheelbarrows, Wagon Wheels
  • Coffee Mugs
  • Pallets
  • Old Bird Baths
  • Laundry Baskets
  • Broken Terra Cotta Pots
  • Metal Tea Canisters
  • Watering Cans

Get To It!

Once you have a plan and the items you will need to start your garden, you will want to buy soil, seeds, and plants if you have not already done so.

I have learned from experience that planting flowers, fruits, veggies and herbs from seeds tends to work better than transplanting plants that are already half grown and sold at the stores.

Seeds are also usually fairly inexpensive to buy, with prices ranging anywhere from $1-4. I’ve found a variety of good seed starters at places like Home Depot, Target, and Amazon.

Another thing you might consider when purchasing seeds is trying to find items that you can reuse later. What I mean by this is being able to save the seeds again for next year, or replanting by recycling plant parts (like green onions, celery, pineapples, and so on).

Once you’ve got all your seeds and everything else you need, it’s time to get to it!

Some Cool Ideas to Help Get You Started:

Shoe Organizer

One cost effective and quirky way to garden in a small space is to invest in or recycle a canvas shoe organizer.

This can be hung up and kept off the wall with a few strips of wood. And this type of planter works great for growing herbs.

Salad Box

If you are looking for an ideal way to plant lettuce, kale, spinach, or other greens, then you might consider creating your very own salad box.

Raised beds on table legs or platforms work great for this type of planter, and also require less bending over to tend to your plants, which is even better.

You can create your own simple salad box by upcycling and hollowing out an old desk, or taking the drawers out of a dresser. Other items that work well are redwood planter boxes with a few 1 x 4s.

Simply piece these items together with a hammer, nails, and some glue, and you’re good to go.


One of the easiest and most efficient ways to garden in a small space, like on a balcony or patio, is to get a pallet and set it vertically.

This type of planter works great for herbs like basil or rosemary, or even to make a “catio” for your feline friend. You can grow some catnip and other types of cat grasses within the pallets.

two pallets being used to form a vertcal gard with soil and plantersbeing placed between boardsSave


Gutter Gardens are becoming more and more popular in small gardening spaces. This brilliant solution involves taking gutters and connecting them to walls in a sunny area, so that they are off the ground, away from bugs, animals, and a foundation that can sometimes become too wet.

Two rain boots hund on whit picket fence and used as plantersSaveRain Boot Planter

Another cheap and whimsical way to add a bit of style to any outdoor space or even wider window ledges is to use old rain boots as planters. (And when you’re ready to toss the old ones, check out our review of the best gardening footwear to pick your next pair!)

They can be hung from the walls, a fence, or just sit on top of a table or the ground. This specific planter is a fun idea to try with your kids.

Canning Jars

Making a wall mounted herb and spice rack from canning jars is another cheap and easy way to garden in small spaces.

This idea can even be used by those individuals who don’t have any outdoor space.

A canning jar garden will work great outdoors on your patio, fence, balcony, garage wall, or indoors on the wall of your living room or kitchen. They’re perfect for planting fresh herbs or microgreens.


Terrariums are a fun idea for any gardener who loves to get creative and have fun.

Some of my favorite terrariums that I’ve made came from items that I thrifted (like old fish bowls and spice bowls with lids, gnomes, fake flowers and vines, rocks, pebbles, sand, and so on).

A terrarium will add flair to any garden that is on a patio or balcony, or any indoor area that gets some natural light.

Window Boxes

Another cute and simple way to grow some of your favorite flowers or a few of your favorite herbs is to invest in a window box. These can usually be found at your local gardening store, home goods store, or online at Amazon.

a window box with a spray of colors from different types of flowers and herbsSave

You can even reuse household items like wine boxes, baskets, and wooden crates to make your very own window box.

To add a bit of pizzazz, try painting your box and distressing it. You can even buy some stencils and write some cute messages or words on the box, to turn any plain old box into an adorable window box in no time.

Wheelbarrow or Cart

Another excellent idea is planting in a wooden wheelbarrow or an old garden cart. This is one of my favorites.

Not only is it an interesting way to display a beautiful arrangement of colorful flowers, but it’s also a movable vessel.

This would provide a simple way to change up the look and feel of your garden, and eliminate any concerns with too much or too little sun exposure.

An old antique garden cart serves as a unique garden planter

Coffee and Soup Cans

A coffee and soup can gardening is another easy idea when it comes to maximizing your use of small spaces. Both are everyday items that you probably already have lying around the house.

If you paint them to add a bit of charm and then plant your favorite flowers or herbs in them, they can be placed on the ground, window ledges, or tables, or even be hung from ceilings, rafters, roofs, walls, fences, trees, and poles.

Square Foot or Raised Bed

Making your own raised bed doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems. In fact, you can even measure out your gardening square footage very specifically.

You’d be surprised by just how many vegetables and flowers you can manage to fit in a few square feet. Cinder blocks work great for this, especially if you are planting something like strawberries.

If you don’t have enough space to build a raised bed garden, you might consider using a few cinder blocks by themselves, and planting a select few plants inside them.

This raised bed in a cottage garden demonstrates gardening in small spacesSave

Laundry Basket

Laundry baskets work great for growing things like potatoes (and harvesting them, too). They also come in handy when it comes time to harvest your plants.

Because it’s filled with holes, a laundry basket works as a natural strainer or like a giant colander to rinse off the produce. Gone are the days of having to lug everything in the house one item at a time to rinse and strain!

Artistic and Unique Ideas

A bunch of showe and boots on a shoe rack servey as an "Artsy Fartsy" garden for a small spaceSave

Gardening is a fun way to express yourself, and your creativity. Don’t be afraid to let your freak flag fly a little!

Check out these cool artsy ideas and suggestions for upcycling:

  • Mosaic Walls
  • Tile Paths
  • Teacup Flowerpots
  • Broken Terra Cotta Herb Garden
  • Vertical Planters
  • Birdhouses and Birdfeeders
  • Upcycled Pallets and Wooden Crates
  • Repurposed Wooden Barrels
  • Porcelain Bathtubs
  • Wheelbarrows, Wagons, and Bicycles
  • Wicker Baskets
  • Umbrella Stands
  • Stone Sinks
  • Old Mailboxes

Feeling inspired yet? Hopefully, this list will inspire you with a few ideas of your own.

Believe it or not, I’ve even seen a toilet used as a garden container. And one close neighbor annually housed her daisies in her husband’s work boot! If nothing else, these items would certainly make an interesting conversation piece.

Remember, just because a space is small doesn’t mean it lacks potential.

When I lived in an apartment, I literally just went into the woods and collected buckets full of stones.

Then I dug around our windows where the grass was dead, and laid down some soil and river pebbles that I got at a summer sale at Lowe’s, and then I outlined the landscape with the collected rocks.

I planted seeds and spread mulch around, bought $2 solar lights from Target, and thrifted gardening tools like watering cans and materials to make terrariums.

At our new place, I bought 6 red bricks from Home Depot for less than $20 and just dug up a bit of grass in front of our patio where I wanted to place them, set them down in a curved path, and patted the dirt back down.

It took about a year for the grass to grow in around this (sure, I could have bought grass seed and planted, but I was lazy). Within a year’s time, we now have a cute DIY path leading from our patio to our small garden.

With a little bit of imagination, and creativity, and a bit of hard work, your small space will be thriving in no time. And you don’t even have to spend outside your budget to make it all happen.

How To Create Gorgeous Garden Color Schemes

By Wanda Simone–From House to Home

Garden Color Schemes

Start with the feeling you want the garden to have. Then pick a “contrast level”.

Most soothing gardens use low contrast color schemes.

Energizing gardens often use high contrast color schemes. Although a long line of red flowers is pretty energizing, even if they are planted in a low contrast color scheme.

Low Contrast Garden Color Schemes

Monochromatic Colors

Monochromatic garden color schemes are one of the easiest to create, and they don’t require a color wheel to get you started.

Monochromatic pink garden color scheme with peonies and roses

Pink peonies with lighter pink roses are an easy combination that I use in my backyard for a late spring monochromatic garden color scheme.

Analagous Colors

Analogous colors on a color wheel drawing

High Contrast Garden Color Schemes

Now we’re on to the high contrast garden color schemes that are really effective for creating interesting and energetic flower gardens.

Complemetary Colors

Complementary colors on a color wheel drawing

A complementary garden color scheme is created by selecting colors that are opposite to each other on the color wheel.

Yellow and purple garden color scheme with purple lupines and yellow day lilies ©yolfran -


Because of the color placement on the wheel, you’ll end up with a warm and a cool color in your garden bed which increases the color contrast and automatically adds some excitement to your yard.

For Dual Complementary Colors and Triadic Colors, see Wanda’s website:

How to Make A Penny Bowling Ball


By Pam Kessler of

How to make a penny bowling ball, fun and unique yard art for your garden. And some people say the copper pennies repel slugs!

This weekend I turned an old bowling ball that I found at a garage sale into a gazing ball-like piece of yard art. A penny bowling ball!

I bought this bowling ball, bag and pair of old used bowling shoes (yuck) at a church garage sale all for just $1.00. I knew I only wanted the bowling ball itself, so the other items were just along for the ride.

How To Make A Penny Bowling Ball

The first thing I did was fill in the finger holes with paper towels until there was about 1/4″ of the holes left and then filled the rest of the holes in with some caulking I had laying around the house.

And then threw the bag and shoes into my Goodwill pile.

How to make a penny bowling ball, fun and unique yard art for your garden. And some people say the copper pennies repel slugs!
I wanted to cover the ball in pennies so I used roughly $4.50 worth.
So then I searched the Internet for other penny cleaning tips and ran across some science experiments for kids that uses 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of table salt to clean them.

Next I used Dap Clear Silicone Sealant for Doors And Windows to glue the pennies onto the bowling ball.

How to make a penny bowling ball, fun and unique yard art for your garden. And some people say the copper pennies repel slugs!

I glued them all heads up, but that was my OCD kicking in – you could mix it up if you wanted. Or maybe do all heads except for one tail???

And here is the finished project.

How to make a penny bowling ball, fun and unique yard art for your garden. And some people say the copper pennies repel slugs!
For more info including making a mosaic bowling bowl, go to her website: