5,238 Projects For Home Gardeners


I find offcuts sometime and I put them to work, I stand them up on end with another little piece of scrap behind like a picture frame, usually cutting a slot through the big piece and then fitting the smaller piece through, and then standing the whole thing up in the backyard. I have a lot of stains left over from this or that project around the house so I usually will just stain the offcut and maybe the other piece for standing it up, maybe with another color, so like a walnut stain piece that’s sticking through more of a mahogany stain, which looks pretty neat.

-Jess Patchert, Marion, IL


This is good for a big lot with woods in the back. Gather any big fallen branches, 5’ long or so, with a fork at the end. Store them until you have enough – maybe in the garage. Get latex paints, white blue, and orange, shades your choice. Get some big storage bins you aren’t using and clean them out thoroughly. Fill each bin with a color of paint. Dip each branch, fork in paints, one after another, giving plenty of time to dry for each coat. Meanwhile, survey a big twelve-foot grid on your property. Dig post holes at each point, and “plant” each branch with fork side up. It won’t last forever but what does?!

-Susan Kaczmarek, Appleton, WI


Simple, gather up some packing peanuts. Sort into three colors, any three are good. Stripe your lot with the peanuts, wide stripes or short stripes are OK.
-Mike Strunk, Rome, GA


When my oldest was born, we planted a maple tree for him along the back fence. Then Hunter came and we decided we would chip the first tree, plant a new maple tree, and put the chips from the first tree around it. That would be like Tyler protecting his little brother. Then Jacob came and we chipped Hunter’s tree, and so on. We think it’s a pretty nice tradition. We call it our blessing garden.

-Corey Fleck, Wrentham, MA


It doesn’t look like much but when I get sore I take a box of finish nails and I go out back and I just hammer them into the ground. I guess it wouldn’t be worth doing if the soil was better but it’s awful sandy so it feels good to bang them in. You know, at dawn sometimes you can catch all those nails sparkling and it’s nice.

-Howard Franks, Lewiston, ID


I know it sounds silly but lemons don’t do too well in our zone and I just wanted some lemons around. So I made some lemons with papier-mâché, those were pretty much life-size. I couldn’t see them so well from the kitchen so I made some a little bigger by putting the papier-mâché on chickenwire. Those are maybe two feet across. I paint them yellow – otherwise they wouldn’t really be like lemons! I must have a hundred or so out there. They don’t tend to do well in the winter so I have my hands full every year trucking them out and trucking them in.

-Sue Bopst, Saginaw, MI


So I took a 10’ length of sewer hose, ran it off the drainpipe on the northwest corner of the house. Dug an 18” square trench (near as I could get it) at a 45 degree angle off the corner, 7’ or so. Threw the hose in with the end sticking out, covered it back up again and laid sod. Now when we get a heavy rain the water pretty well shoots out the top!

-Tom Penny, Eagle, CO


I built up a cone in my garden and there it is!

-Paul Chandler, Schenectady, NY


My son got me started with the cinderblocks when he was in college and now it’s my thing. I get the cinderblocks here and there and line them up. Then I stack them up to make little walls. Not too high, only probably three high. Sometimes I get little plants from Home Depot, nothing special, marigolds or whatever, and I put those in the holes of the cinderblocks, in their little pots. I started with the edges of my back yard, then my front yard, then my side yard, and now I have them going up and down the backyard, so making kind of little plots. I don’t know, I just get a kick out of them.

-Paula C. Gibbs, Lima, OH


My special garden has goats in it. I don’t much mind what they eat but they end up everywhere and people always stop by my house to see the goats up on the shed and so on.

-Laurie Patchen-Smith, Arcata, CA


I dig a hole in my garden whenever I get the notion. Could be one foot, foot and a half deep, you get the idea. Not more than three feet across, round as I can make it. When I don’t want to look at just the bare hole anymore I get some gravel and fill it in. I like a pea gravel, #4, #5 – change it up a little. If it’s better as just the hole I’ll take the gravel back out and put it somewhere else.

-Steve Pope, Annapolis, MD


For a feeling of living like the Greeks did you don’t need to go overboard. I take any old pipe and knock it into the ground, then a paver on top of that. That’s one kind, simple. Space them out, you’ve got to space them out exactly or it doesn’t look neat. Then the grapes, just plant the grapes and run cable from one pipe to the next. No one can believe how many grapes I get back here.

-B. Shackleford, Texarkana, AR


Death! Death be not proud! How many hosts have died in this place! And all shall go into my death hole!

-Penny Pinchbeck, Bowling Green, KY


I pick a pretty dry day in the spring to “run amuck” and set some fires in the yard. Sometimes I have a go at drawing a picture or something but rarely does it turn out. Mostly I like the smell and poking my shoe around in the char. You never know what you’ll flush out.

-Stew Shelley, Manchester, NH


I have a fine little garden in a box but I won’t let anyone else see it, so when we have company over I take a top and put it on the box. I nail it shut! Drives my wife crazy. I don’t much like her looking in the box either.

-Russell Petzel, Rochester, MN


It’s funny, when we bought our place we didn’t want the hassle of the oak out back so I just had a buddy cut it down. Figured I’d use it for firewood but then the seal in the chimney had cracked and I couldn’t get anyone in for a fair price to fix it. Then I ended up storing some lumber for another buddy for a project he was going to do and he happened to pass away so I had all this wood back there. Then my son had some hare-brained idea that he was going to get rich off pallets so he drove up one day and left damn near 200 of the things back there. Then my neighbor comes up. Says he’s going to make a good profit off of a stand of walnut trees on his property and could he stow the wood back here to cure for a while. Long story short he runs off and I’m stuck with all these walnut rounds. So my property’s damn near full of wood and who knows when I’ll get around to offloading it all.

-Darrell Davis, Oklahoma City, OK


I think I bore people walking them around my Forest of Arden Garden. I’ve named just about everything in it! I call the wisteria Charles. The ‘Knock Out’ rose is Rosalind, naturally! When the hellebores come out in the fall I call them all Jaques, because they have that sad look. I’m working on labels for everything but they aren’t ready quite yet.

-Donald Betsch, Piscataway, NJ


I make patterns with industrial-strength glue (trade secret) in the back lawn and the nice thing is when the glue catches leaves and whatnot and you can really make out the pattern. I get a quilt magazine and mostly copy patterns out of that. Yes, I just get stakes and lines and a level and figure them right on the lawn. Diamonds, stars, you name it. Circle’s not hard, just cut off the line to the right radius length, tie one end to the stake, and just walk it around in a circle! Once the lines are out I just drag around a little wagon with my glues and squeeze them following the line. Of course I always get some glue on my garden shoes – it can’t hardly be helped. You really need strong glue to get it to work so when that happens it’s so long shoes. I would recommend my glue garden to anybody. 

 -Danielle Boudreaux, Biddeford, ME

(October 2019)