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30+ Cheapskate Handy Hints for the Outdoors

Save those milk jugs, soda cans and pool noodles you thought were useless—and give them a new life outdoors with these genius ideas.

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HH milk jug plant protectorPhoto: Family Handyman

Protect your plants with milk jugs­

Are you eager to get your plants in the ground? Cut the bottoms out of gallon jugs and set them over new and fragile plants to protect them from bugs or a late frost.

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HH kiddie pool bush clippingsPhoto: Family Handyman

Corral your clippings

When trimming hedges, use a plastic kiddie pool to catch clippings, kicking it along as you clip. The clippings fall into the pool, making cleanup a snap. When you’re done trimming, dump the clippings into your mulch pile. —Matthew Steffano

Want to give nature’s most important pollinators a helping hand? Add these bee-friendly plants to your yard, garden or balcony.

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HH DIY hose drip watererPhoto: Family Handyman

DIY drip waterer

Here’s an easy way to turn any hose into a drip-watering hose. Drill 1/8 in. holes every 2 in. and screw a cap the end. Weave the hose around your plants and turn on the spigot. You’ll have to do some testing to figure out the right setting. To make watering even easier, I added a programmable faucet timer to the hose. —Matt Boley

Want to add more colour to your landscape this season? Consider these colourful plants!

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HH Garden sprayer labelsPhoto: Family Handyman

Garden sprayer labels

It seemed any time I’d mix something in my garden sprayer, I’d have some leftover, but I’d always forget what was in the bottles. So, I bought a set of key labels and marked them Roundup, GoMax, Aphid Spray, etc. Now, when I mix one of these chemicals in my garden sprayer, I clip on the appropriate key label. I keep the rest on my pegboard, so I can easily switch them out when I mix something different. —David Watermeier

Take note of these brilliant ways to use dryer lint in your backyard and garden.

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HH hedge trimmer pipe insulation bungee cordPhoto: Family Handyman

Hedge trimmer sheath

I lost my hedge trimmer’s blade sheath, so I had to get creative to safely store the tool. A piece of foam pipe insulation was just right. I cut two 1/2 in. foam tubes to the length of the hedge trimmer blade. The tubes are slit down their length, so they slide easily over the blades. Three 4 in. bungee cords hold them in place. —Thomas Curran

Make your life even easier with these brilliant yard tool hacks!

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HH key ring plant tag organizerPhoto: Family Handyman

Plant tag organizer

You know those plant tags you save to reference later, but aren’t exactly sure what to do with? To keep them organized, punch holes in the tags and slide them onto a key ring.

Here are 11 things to never keep in your backyard.

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HH baking cup cocktail capPhoto: Family Handyman

Cocktail caps

Keep bugs from swimming in your drinks by topping glasses with baking cup liners. Cut a small X into the centre of each liner, poke a (reusable or paper) straw through the hole and enjoy your beverage pest-free.

Discover the fall yard maintenance tips you’ll wish you knew sooner.

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HH direct plant watering bottlePhoto: Family Handyman

Direct watering bottle

For healthy plants, it’s important to get water to the roots. Here’s my method: I drill holes in water bottles and bury them alongside my plants, leaving just the cap above the ground. To water the plants, I unscrew the bottles’ caps, fill the bottles and screw the caps back on. It requires some extra effort, but it conserves water, and my plants—especially the tomatoes—are thriving like never before. —Diane Newman

Check out these clever repurposed garden containers.

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HH utility tackle box camping suppliesPhoto: Family Handyman

Utility tackle box

After 20 years of fishing, I’ve accumulated a few extra tackle boxes. Instead of throwing them away or just piling them in the garage, I fill them with toiletries, first-aid supplies and other camping and fishing gear. Tackle boxes keep these odds and ends organized and easy to pack. —Matt Boley

Make your garden pop with these inexpensive plants!

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