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Thoughts of a green garden can help warm up the cold winter season.

How to 'spring' your patio into beauty


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If Jack Frost is nipping at your nose and the gray skies and bare landscapes of the outdoors have you singing the winter blues, it's time to spring into action.

By planning ahead you can turn your patio and garden into a family paradise without taking a bite out of your decorating wallet.

These simple and affordable tips can help you get things growing.

Bring the outside in

Don't wait for the last frost of the season to start planting — shift your focus indoors.

Fill decorative pots with soil and proper nutrients along with your favorite plant seeds. Make sure to use a good potting soil mix and allow four to six weeks for the seeds to germinate.

Once outdoor soil is warm, use a water-soluble fertilizer mix to feed the plants you will now transplant from pot to flower bed.

Turn this into a fun indoor activity for restless children during the cold winter months by having them paint terra cotta pots you'll use to plant seeds.

Why not fake it?

Patios or balcony areas have a tendency to look barren in the early spring when plants are just beginning to bloom.

For a great way to keep that professional landscaped look year-round, add artificial vines to your décor.

During the winter months, the green vines will add color to your home while reminding you of the upcoming spring season.

For added beauty, live, colorful ivy woven into the artificial vines will present a breathtaking addition.

Watch your savings grow

You can find many lawn and garden accessories and decorative items at prices lower than wholesale at popular closeout retailers that offer a huge selection of merchandise at rock-bottom prices.

Items available range from gardening tools to planters, patio furniture and the ever-popular pink flamingos.

Get a return on your pennies

The soothing sounds and timeless beauty of an outdoor fountain can add relaxation to your week, not to mention a place to toss your spare change.

To complete a fountain area, consider adding arbors, garden stools, patio animals, park benches or cast iron bistro sets and plant holders. Wind chimes and birdhouses add aesthetics pleasing to the eye and the ear.

Light up your nights

While the sun provides warmth and light to your plants during the day, decorative outdoor lighting can add a more intimate feel in the evening.

Seasonal lights on strings keep the mood festive, torch lamps can provide warmth — and keep nasty mosquitoes away — and landscape lights can brighten the path to your home.

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