gardenNobody starts out wanting their garden to die on them over the summer. But somehow it just ... happens. You begin with the best intentions, watering regularly and making all your plants happy. And then all hell breaks loose. The kids are out of school, you're always out at some activity, you go away on vacation, and it's just too hot to work in the yard. By summer's end your paradise is a disheveled graveyard where beautiful botanical dreams go to die.

I know. It's happened to me. But there's hope! Here are 8 clever hacks that make summer gardening so much easier. This is how to not let your yard die on you this year.

garden hacks

1. Put your plants in diapers. Yes, really! The very thing that makes diapers so absorbent will also help the soil in your planters retain water. Just mix equal parts soil and diaper stuffing (take it apart and dump out the gel/fiber filling) and use in planters and window boxes. Here's a handy video to show you how.

2. Put your sprinklers on a timer. This is nothing new -- my parents did it when I was growing up. But if you have a yard with in-ground sprinklers you should have them running automatically. The Hacker's Bench has instructions for making a $3.00 sprinkler timer. And if that's too complicated, Instructables can show you how to set up a hardware store automated sprinkler system.

3. Put yourself on a schedule. Okay, we don't all have in-ground sprinkler systems. But what you can do is figure out how often you need to water which parts of your yard. Then set up recurring alerts on your smartphone. Remember the best times to water are first thing in the morning or later in the evening.

4. Use your air-conditioning runoff to make a self-watering garden. Multitasking! Instructables (again!) shows you how to recycle that AC water to keep your plants happy.

5. Create a "no-work" cottage garden. I like that sound of that! Better Homes & Gardens has a tutorial on creating a small, rambling bed of super-hardly plants.

7. Set up a drip system. This is a system of hoses that can water rows and rows of veggies and flowers. You can buy soaker hose sets to put together kind of like Legos, only faster (in under an hour, they say!). Turn on the faucet and everything gets watered at once.

8. Grow native plants. Are you trying to create a classic English garden in the middle of Arizona? Hope you have a whole Downton Abbey's worth of servants to help you. Your garden will survive neglect better if it's filled with plants that already grow in your region.

Have you found other ways to keep your yard alive through the busiest days of summer?

 

Image © rvbox/iStock (top), Image ©iStock.com/MarinaRazumovskaya (bottom)