So I’ve been waiting to do this post since the day we put an offer on our house. We moved in to our first house in March of this year. It’s our “dream house”, and we plan on living here for as long as humanly possible, but with all good things there was a down side. I hated my backyard, well I should say I hated the landscaping or lack thereof in my backyard. The house has only been owned by a handful of people, one of whom lived in it for over 50 years. From what I can tell I am fairly certain not one of those people ever touched a shovel.
When we moved in there were 2 dogwood bushes next to the garage and a peony bush on the front side of the house. These were the only plants alive in the yard.
It was a lot of work to get the yard to point where I could even begin to plant flowers. As soon as the snow melted I had to start digging out all of these rocks and prepping the soil for a garden. I also had to remove the stumps of some old bushes and weed and seed the yard.
Could someone tell me who likes rock gardens anyways?
As you can see from all the yellow spots, the yard was ruined by dog whiz.
So I started out small, as there was no way Jeff was gonna let me go nutzo with an unlimited budget. I began with some seed packets, planting Zinnia’s, Snap Dragons, Marigolds, Morning Glories and Cardinal Climber vines. I also planted 3 different Dahlia bulbs and Gladiolas. I took whatever my mom could spare me from her garden, lots of Hostas, Bleeding Hearts, Sedum, Lily’s and Phlox. I bought perennials whenever they were on sale—Home Depot always had the best deals—but I also bought from Bachman’s and Tonkadale Nursery in Minnetonka. I have to say, Tonkadale was the most expensive but my plants purchased there flourished the most.
I spent a $100 one day and bought all of my annuals. I figured I could get a lot of bang for my buck if I had pretty planters, especially since nothing else in my yard had matured enough to look good. Here is one of my pots featuring pink and green Coleus, rose colored Petunias, red-orange Geraniums, orange Lantana, lime green Potato Vine and purple Persian Shield.
I keep a little notebook where I draw sketches and keep records of all of the plants I have added to the yard. I had at least 10 sketches of garden layouts with the intention that I would sleep on it and add a side garden over time, as in: not this summer. One afternoon Finn and I could no longer stand it and we went nuts on the side garden. I’m pretty sure our neighbors though we were insane. We dug up all the grass and created a curvy little side garden. Although it was unplanned I have been so happy with the results and wouldn’t have done it any other way.
And then there is the patio; not a huge space, but big enough to hold a table and a grill. I deliberated about what kind of table to get for weeks. I couldn’t believe how much money patio furniture cost. Originally my budget was $300 but no matter how hard I looked and schemed I couldn’t get anything good to close that price. In the end I bought this VINO set from Ikea for $500 and have been more than happy with it. First of all it looks good, secondly it’s super functional. All of the chairs stack and the table legs fold flat for easy storage.
Just recently I was able to acquire a whole lot of bricks from my parents’ house. They had just had their old siding removed which included some brick on the front of their house. I salvaged the bricks and brought them home, carload by carload. I have spent the last week digging up my yard even more and adding this brick border around the edges of all my gardens in the backyard. It looks so finished now. I am super happy and can’t wait to see what these gardens look like next summer.
Here is the entire backyard. You can see how I added the brick border all around the garden. All of my plants are much bigger now and on the verge of being over-grown. I brought the Dogwoods back to life and have kept them well pruned and organized. Finn’s happy too because we left tons of room for soccer fields and baseball diamonds.
Now let’s talk about the front yard. From the outside this was mos def not my dream house. It looked like an old ladies’ house – I am pretty sure of that. The awning was the worst, and the mint green paint and flesh colored flower boxes don’t help anything either. Fortunately these are all things that I had power to change. Unfortunately, I will have to learn to live with the asbestos siding, I’m hoping a future paint job will spiff it up a bit.
And voila, it’s not perfect but it’s so much better. We added grey paint to the base of the house, painted the flower boxes red and removed the old lady awning. I added plants around the foundation of the house, as well as annuals to the window boxes and some pots at the base of the front walk. We weeded like crazy – there used to be dandelions for days. And as soon as spring began we added a flowering white crab tree to the front yard.
Here’s a better look at my flower boxes and foundation garden. For the foundation garden I added Salvia, “Regina” Coral Bells, Golden Moneywort for ground over, sweet smelling white Alyssum, and snow white Phlox.
We got a little overwhelmed by all the weeding that needed to be done when it came to the boulevard in front of our house. We started and then gave up right away. Our resolve was to tear up the entire boulevard and plant a garden. Before the afternoon was over our neighbors had joined the effort and began tearing up their curb too. By the end of the week we had the start of what will hopefully be a sweet little boulevard garden. Can’t wait to see it next spring!
If you’d like to see more proof of my green thumb check out my flickr set. Believe it or not, I have taken even MORE photos of my yard.