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Outdoor and Garden Products Buying Guide



Let's face it: we love our yards. We plant, mulch, weed, and sculpt in an attempt to not only beautify our properties, but also to make our neighbors incredibly jealous of our great yard. Whether you've got a killer green thumb or just love taking care of your yard, we have the scoop on all of the essential gardening tools, supplies, and even plants, so your outdoor area will look its best.

Regional Guides and Resources



The United States is a very big country with a wide variety of climates and habitats. Every plant species has a unique set of needs, such as minimum and maximum temperatures, water, and soil type. Light is a factor as well, of course; areas closer to the tropics have more stable light levels, while light in northern regions changes between the summer and winter. We know that climate is on a gradient, but it is also useful to divide the country into several gardening regions based on average high and low temperatures, number of frost-free days, amount of precipitation, and other factors. It's tempting to think that the tropics are naturally more suited for growing everything, but this isn't true; while there are many beautiful tropical flowers, vegetables, such as peas and broccoli, prefer cool temperatures. Lilacs only grow in areas with freezing winters.

Your Neck Of The Woods



To keep your yard looking beautiful, you must work with your environment. Live in a dry area? Try a cactus and succulent garden instead of a lawn. Are your winters cold and snowy? You might enjoy a beautiful display of lilacs when the weather finally warms up. There are plants suited for every region, and of course the boundaries of each region are fuzzy. With a little TLC, you'll be able to grow in your climate zone.



Looking for a way to tie everything together aesthetically in your garden? Not sure where to begin? Start with a focal or beginner piece such as a stepping stone or statue, both of which will inspire you when planning your outdoor space. And remember, you can never have too many gardening tips. Plants and flowers need special and delicate care, that's why you should read up on do's, don'ts, and how-to's.

Supplies



Scattering seeds in the wind works if you're planning a wildflower garden, but that's about it. Most garden plants will need a little bit more attention: bulbs need to be planted deeper than seeds, for example. Whether you're pruning your bushes or just giving your vegetable garden a boost of extra fertilizers, you'll need a few basic supplies to keep everything coming up roses (and daffodils and tomatoes--and much more).



Equipment



Sometimes maintaining your outdoor space takes a little extra effort. With gas prices on the rise, you might want to look into the most efficient form of these tools or use a manual machine instead. Besides, wowing your lawn with a manual mower is also good exercise!



Accessories



You work so hard to maintain your yard; don't forget to take time to enjoy it too! If wildlife watching is a hobby, why not make your yard a place not only to relax in, but also inviting to furry and feathered friends? Or maybe you just want to sit outside with a book and work on your tan? You have your pick of hammocks and outdoor furniture. Don't forget to check out the buying guide to grills for the ultimate in outdoor entertaining.



Quick Picks



Once the flowers have bloomed, the grass is cut, and grill is set-up, it's time to play! Whether it's a day with the family, a relaxing evening under the stars, or you're entertaining guests, you will need a few essential games, cleaning gadgets, and entertainment for kids. 
* There's relaxing and then there's a peaceful paradise. This can be achieved with the addition of a pond, a running waterfall or garden fountain, and lots of plants.
* What's the best way to ensure everyone has fun? Games, of course. Simple activities, such as ring toss and catch, are great for kids and those who can't move around a lot.
* If you don't have a pool, cool off with a family-size inflatable one. These are convenient and can be inflated and deflated within minutes. They also don't take up a lot of space. For anyone with an above ground or inground pool, vacuums are essential for keeping dirt from collecting on the bottom.




Related Guides


* Home and Garden
* Hedge Trimmers
* Grills
* Lawn Mowers
* Outdoor Furniture 

International Resources



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! FR: Jardin