For fast results, try hydroseeding your lawn. Hydroseed is prepared in a mixing tank. As the tank is filling with water, a cellulose fiber is added, as well as the seed mixture. Once the tank is full, a growth stimulant and fertilizer are added and then mixed for about ten minutes. Once it's ready, the mixture is sprayed evenly across the soil.
You can use a level on top an 8 ft.-long 2x4 to determine the slope for yard and garden projects. If you need a slope of 1/4 in. per foot, tack a 2-in. block under the 2x4 on the down- slope end. When the bubble is level, you will have 1/4 in. per foot (2 in. divided by 8 ft.). You can vary the block height for other slopes. If you want a slope of 1/2 in. per foot, make the block 4 in. high.
Want to check for surface feeding insects? Cut out both ends of a coffee can, screw it into the suspected area of infestation, fill it with water and a tablespoon of dish washing soap. As the water soaks into the soil the insects will float to the top.
Consider planting flowers in hanging baskets if your garden space is limited.
When used incorrectly, pesticides can pollute water. They also kill beneficial as well as harmful insects. Natural alternatives prevent both of these events from occurring and save you money. Consider using natural alternatives for chemical pesticides: Non-detergent insecticidal soaps, garlic, hot pepper sprays, 1 teaspoon of liquid soap in a gallon of water, used dishwater, or forceful stream of water to dislodge insects.
A good mulch prevents water loss, helps control weeds, and can enhance the flower bed appearance. Grass clippings can be used but they deteriorate quickly and have to be replenished often. When lawns don't grow, clippings will be in short supply. Avoid bright colored mulches such as marble chips as they may attract more attention than the flowers. A neutral colored mulch is best. Because annuals are replanted every year, select mulches that decay when worked into the soil. Permanent mulches, such as bark or stone, interfere with replanting.
Removal of old flowers prolongs the blooming period, reduces self seeding which leads to volunteer plants, and promotes flowering on side shoots. Cut off spent flower spikes just below the lowest floret. To be effective, removal must be done soon after the flowers fade.
You can use your garden hose to help lay out the borders of curved areas for gardens, flower beds, paths or small ponds. Just lay the hose along the proposed edge, check it for position, then mark out the curve by using a garden spade along the edge of the hose.
For home sites, the bottom line is pretty simple: You want soil that has good bearing capacity, exerts relatively low lateral pressure, and drains well, so that you can have a stable, dry foundation. The best natural soils for these purposes are sands and gravels. Silts and clays are fair, but the softest ones are poor. Then there are soils such as peat, expansive clay, and improperly deposited fill, which are so bad that they must usually be removed and replaced - often at considerable cost to you.
Before you apply fertilizer and lime you should know your soil nutrient values. Soil tests can be done at most Land Grant Universities for little or no fee. Others avenues for testing are County Extension Agents and maybe some of the better garden nurseries. An easy way to take a soil sample is to take an old golf club. Keeping the grip in place cut the shaft at a 45 degree angle about 2' down on the shaft. About 2" up from the angled cut, cut out or notch 1/2 of the shaft circumference. By inserting this into the soil it will remove a 2" core of soil. Take at least a dozen core samples from all over the lawn area. You will need about 1/3 -1/2 lb. of soil in total. You then remove the grass top from the core and place the remaining soil in a brown bag to be sent off for testing.