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In addition to the patio garden, Jamie designs the bench seats, which Zigi and Yusef helped build, out of inexpensive plywood. He even updates Zigi and Yusef's daughters' sandbox with a covered version.

"I always tell everybody, all homeowners, spend between five and seven percent of the value of your property [on the outside of your house]," Jamie says. "Because people love their weekends, they want to know where they can spend the two most important days of their week—Saturday and Sunday."

Jamie's update, however, doesn't even come close to that cap. With just $1,858, he transforms a waste of space into a little piece of paradise.

Even if you don't have as much room to devote to your garden as Zigi and Yusef, Jamie says you can still introduce foliage to your environment. "If you've just got a nice well-lit window or even a potted plant on the balcony, just bring a bit of greenery into your house," he says. "Keep it near a well-lit window, rotate it a lot so it gets an even source of light, and it's a bit of nature in your house."
FROM: Nate's New $10,000 Challenge
Published on January 01, 2006