3 Tips For Avoiding Garden Hazards

In our region, we never know what winter might have in store for us.  Weather forecasters recently warned us that we could experience something I’d never heard of before:  A “bomb cyclone.”  Luckily, by the time it crossed the coastal mountains, it didn’t amount to much more than a strong fall storm.  But it did bring a lot of branches and even trees down in our area.  So I thought this contributed post was worth sharing.

The following is a contributed post. For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Our gardens are a part of nature and the outdoors.  So it just goes to follow that gardens have the same inherent hazards as other outdoors spaces.  But sometimes it’s easy to forget this – particularly during the cold seasons when we are less likely to spend time in our gardens.  

But a little maintenance can go a long way in helping to prevent or minimize garden hazards.  And the good news is that the more we do this, the more familiar with our gardens we become, and the more easily we can identify issues ahead of time. 

But does this take a massive investment in time and energy to get right? What are the potential issues we should be looking out for? What elements do most people miss ahead of time? In this post, we hope to answer some of those questions and enable you to feel as if your garden space is safer and more secure.

Here are three areas of your garden that you should regularly check:

1.  The Stability Of Your Garden Path

The stability of your garden path will determine how easy it is to walk in your garden, especially during wet weather when walking on your grass may not be as ideal. Cracked patio slabs, uneven wood chips, or improperly placed stepping stones can cause someone to twist their ankle, fall over, or worse. Or paths might become slippery in the rainy season because of mildew buildup.  For that reason, regularly inspecting your garden paths and making changes where appropriate is key.

2.  The Health Of Your Trees

The health of your trees matters. With a tree service company, you will be able to prune, identify rot, take down problem trees, stop rot problems from spreading to other greenery in your garden, and plant tree lines carefully in a manner that doesn’t hamper the structural integrity of your garden. Having healthy trees also helps prevent falling branches – or too much debris accumulation. 

3.  Garden Fencing

Garden fencing is always installed for a reason, but it can be easy to forget that reason if the fencing is not carefully maintained. For instance, a hole that your dog may have had time to unearth could potentially lead to them escaping, or allowing your neighbor’s pets in. A low enough gate could be climbed by a trespasser, whereas higher, privacy fencing may be more worthwhile – particularly if you wish to let your children play freely in the garden. A strong, secure gate can also prevent pets from going in or out – and prevent your children from leaving the garden unsupervised.  Choosing the right fence for your needs and taking care of it is key.

Every garden is different, so the above list is by no means complete.  It’s a good idea to take some time to assess the unique needs of your own garden.  And then you’ll be able to get the best from your property, and its exterior, no matter what.

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The Benefits Of Garden Water Features (Plus 3 Examples!)

I can sum up the water features in our garden in one word:  Birdbaths.  We have four of them scattered in various locations.  I love the quiet elegance they lend to a garden, and the birds actually use them.  During the extra-dry summer that we just came out of, I made sure to keep them clean and filled for all the little creatures that rely on them.

I’m always playing with the idea of having a larger, more interesting water feature.  So today I give you this contributed post, which dives deeper into the concept of water features in the garden.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

 

Why add a water feature to your garden?

It’s a question many of us are posing as we look for new and exciting ways of improving our outdoor space.  Maybe you want to try something different, adding new things to your garden that can enhance its aesthetic appeal and create a unique atmosphere. 

This is where a water feature excels like no other. There’s a real sense of tranquility that’s brought to your garden by various water features. It’s the sound of the running water that creates a relaxed atmosphere and transforms your garden into a mini paradise. The right water feature can complement your garden’s design and improve the aesthetic. Water features also have the advantage of attracting wildlife, which can add to the feeling of tranquility in your outdoor space and make you feel at one with nature. 

In short, garden water features are highly beneficial! The next question is: What water features suit your garden? Not counting pools, here are three examples to consider:

 

A Garden Pond

Adding a little pond can really elevate the mood of your garden. It looks beautiful, you can add fish to it for a splash of color, and pond maintenance really isn’t that challenging. You can choose how big or small your pond is depending on the size of your garden, and it really helps your outdoor area come to life. 

 

A Fountain

Garden fountains can add a real touch of class to your garden, and there are so many different design ideas to choose from. Regardless of your garden’s theme, you are bound to find a fountain that matches it. Now, you can listen to the soothing sounds of the water trickling from the fountain while you’re relaxing or doing a spot of gardening. 

 

A Bird Bath

Perhaps the simplest and most affordable of the three water feature examples, a bird bath works perfectly in smaller gardens. Having said that, it’s just as good in bigger ones, and you can find loads of glorious designs that suit your home. The whole point of a bird bath is to attract lots of cute little birds to your garden. They will add color and movement, along with the wonderful sounds of birdsong. 

The beauty of water features is that you can pretty much go as simple or crazy as you like. If you have the space and budget, you can install massive water features that really grab people’s attention. Or, you can go down the opposite route and choose scaled-back designs that still add a real touch of beauty to your garden area. 

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Fall Porch Decor With Hop Vines

The hop vines that grow along the south side of our house are both a blessing and a curse.  Every year in late winter, I pull out massive amounts of trailing underground hop roots in the hope of keeping these vines under control.

The vines usually recover quickly from this setback.  Stronger than before and out for revenge, they are soon back to swallowing up the sunny side of our house.

Hops trying to get in through our dining room window.

But the hop cones are such a beautiful, fresh green when they emerge in late summer.  And they are rewarding to work with.

So today, I’m sharing a couple of my recent hop projects.

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A Hop Garland

The hop garland was surprisingly easy to make.

I simply measured how long I needed the garland to be and then weaved a few hop vines around one another until I had a long enough garland.  Hop vines like to wind around each other naturally anyway, and they almost feel sticky to the touch.  So it was easy to get them to stay woven together.

Hop vines naturally wind around one another.

In the few places where I could not get them to stay together naturally, I just tethered them together with biodegradable garden twine.

The key to success is to do this project when the vines are still green and pliable.  It’s no good trying this once the vines have already dried.

 

 

Then, using clear fishing wire, Chris and I suspended the garland from small hooks that are already installed on our porch ceiling.

There were a few larger hooks, just above the porch entrance, that also came in handy for hanging this garland.

I weaved in extra clusters of hop cones where needed for a fuller look.  When necessary, I tied them on with biodegradable garden twine.

 

This was several weeks ago.  Now the cone clusters have dried and mellowed to a soft caramel color.

And we added pumpkin string lights to the garland.

 

The garland is now brittle to the touch, but it’s holding up very well.  It definitely helps that it is under cover and, for the most part, protected from the rain.

The little hop headpiece that I made for our porch lion looked good at first.

But, since it was not under cover, it suffered in the weather and ultimately had to be tossed.

 

A Hop Wreath

Several years ago, I made this hop wreath using a metal wreath form as a foundation.

My hop wreath from a few years ago.

It was a fun and exuberant wreath, but now I know how to make an all-natural wreath using no metal forms, wires, or other manmade elements.  The beauty of an all-natural wreath is that, when the season changes and I no longer need it, I can just toss the whole wreath into the compost bin and get on with my life – no need to separate it from a metal wreath form first.

I started by clipping some of the grape vines that grow on our fence and weaving them around one another into a wreath form.  As with the hop vines, grape vines are easy to work with when the vines are still green and pliable.

A wreath form made using grape vines.

I just tucked the ends in until they were secure.  The grapevine wreath form didn’t have to look pretty since it was going to be partly covered by the hops anyway.

Then I cut a length of hop vines.  These vines had woven around one another while they were growing, so they had already done some of my work for me.

 

Then, for lack of a better description, I just weaved, folded, and tucked the hop vines securely onto the grapevine wreath.  It took a little bit of trial and error, but it was fairly easy.

There is nothing manmade holding this wreath together.  It is just vines wrapped around one another.

The front door is very protected from the elements so, like the garland, the wreath mellowed into a golden caramel color after a couple of weeks.

 

A Little Viola Pumpkin

This isn’t a hop project, but I thought I’d share another little piece of my porch decor:  This simple little viola pumpkin.

I cut the top off of a sugar pumpkin and hollowed it, scraping out the seeds and some of the pumpkin meat. (The meat I’d removed made a nice side dish with our dinner that evening.)

Then I cut a drain hole in the bottom of the pumpkin.  I planted the violas in a small plastic container and placed it inside the hollowed pumpkin. A bit of moss conceals the plastic pot.

The hollowed pumpkin probably won’t stay fresh for long, so having the violas in a plastic pot will make them easier to remove when the time comes.  I know some folks use bleach or other substances to keep their pumpkins fresh longer but I don’t because (1) I’m too lazy, and (2) I like to compost my pumpkins when I’m done with them, so I want to keep them all natural.

More Fall Porch Decor

The rest of my fall porch decor is not exciting and, as you will see, our porch furniture needs a facelift – badly!  But here it is anyway.

 

 

 

(In case you’re wondering, the white box in the photo above is our Ridwell box.)

Now to plan:  Should I revamp the existing porch furniture or replace it with something new, perhaps one of these looks?

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A Mound of Baby Tears – And A Garden Update

The garden project I’m about to share isn’t spectacular, but I’m sharing it anyway because it’s a simple project with endless possibilities, and there is plenty of room for experimentation and creativity.

Then, keep scrolling for a late-summer update on my new planting area.

Baby Tears For A Tapered Urn

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Some time ago, Chris and I came across a large and classic terra cotta urn that had been kicked to the curb.  The base was badly cracked, but Chris knew he would be able to mend it.  So we took it.

It wasn’t until later that I realized that the urn had another issue:  Its wide round opening tapered almost immediately – making it impossible to find a plastic pot with the right dimensions to work as a liner for the inside.  Since I wanted to store the urn in a protected place in winter, it would be important to have a liner for it so I could easily remove the contents first.

So I started using a half-round wire hanging basket cage with a coconut liner to line the inside.  Its circumference was a good fit for the mouth of the urn, while the tapering walls of the urn supported it.

So, in spring, I would usually fill it with good soil.

And plant it with annuals.

This past spring, it sat (mostly) empty again – waiting for me to plant more annuals.

But this time I wanted a different look.

I remembered the absolutely adorable DIY succulent mushroom planters I’d seen over at A Crafty Mix.  To create the mushroom top, a half-round wire hanging basket, with its coconut liner, was placed upside down and planted with succulents.

And I started thinking:  What if I put a second hanging basket upside down over the basket that was already in the urn, filled it with soil, and planted it?

I had a hanging basket on hand, so I placed it on top of the urn to see what the shape would be.

Interesting!  The only problem was that I didn’t have a coconut liner or the right cute succulents on hand.  But there was a pot of baby tears in the no-man’s-land behind my garage.  The hardy little plants had survived the winter.  I just needed to remove the dead plants and the weeds from the pot.

Once I cleaned up the pot of baby tears, I turned it upside down and emptied the contents, which came out in one big clump, into the wire hanging basket.  (Of course, if the baby tears had not created such a dense mat, this would not have worked.) I pressed the soil/baby tears clump tightly into the basket, trimming the clump where necessary to make it fit.

Now the baby tears were upside down and pressed against the wire of the basket.  I tightly packed plenty of good potting soil into the hollow middle of this mess and watered it thoroughly.

Then I carried the basket over to the urn, quickly flipped it upside down, and placed it on top of the soil-filled basket that was already lining the urn.

Because I did this so quickly, not much of the packed soil fell out.

I connected the two baskets together with clips.  Now they were joined as a circle, although only the top basket was showing.

There were holes and bald spots in the new baby tears “mound.”  So I added more soil and additional plugs of baby tears where needed.  I also added a thin grapevine wreath to the circumference to give it a more finished look.

Now the mound just needed to fill in a bit.

Baby tears grow well in the shade, so we moved this urn to a shady spot outside our garden shed.

The baby tears mound has thrived there this past summer.

 

As I said before, not spectacular.  But, as someone who likes topiaries, I am enjoying the neat and manicured look of this pot – especially in a garden that is otherwise chaotic by the end of summer.  And I was able to put this together in minutes with materials I already had on hand.

Maybe next year, I will try planting the mound with something else.

This is not the first time I’ve joined two hanging baskets to make a circle.  This hanging garden sphere ended up hosting two birds’ nests!

A Garden Update

You might recall that, back in April, I shared my makeover of a large planting area in my garden.  I was in the early stages of transforming this area.  I had removed many of the existing plants and done a bit of landscaping.

The area then looked like this.

Because it was new, it was pretty sparse.  The Spanish lavender and geranium starts that I had placed around the gravel center circle were still tiny.  The dahlia and peony tubers I had planted had not yet emerged from the soil.

So what’s happening now?

While the peonies didn’t do much this summer (nor did I expect them to in their first year), the dahlias went crazy. The lavender and geraniums thrived as well.

 

 

 

 

I planted Swiss chard to add first-year color to the sparser parts of this new area.

And a couple of recent arrivals are these zinnias,

and this variegated dwarf Joe Pye (which hopefully will be less prolific than the full-sized Joe Pye I used to have here).

Joe Pye blooms late summer and early fall. The bees loved our old Joe Pye so much that I felt I needed to give them something in its place.

But the symmetry I had hoped for on either side of the urn did not happen.

The look is still incomplete and chaotic.  So, come fall, I’ll relocate some plants and rethink others.

But there is something going on here that I like:  Now that the area is less densely planted, we get a little “peek-a-boo” view of the back patio.

 

 

There is a madrone that separates the back patio from the planting bed.  Unlike its rambling, trailing counterpart in another planting bed, this one has been growing up instead of sideways – with beautiful branching.

At this time of year, its bark peels away to reveal fresh green wood underneath.  After it’s done peeling, the bark with turn a rich brown and become so smooth that it will look polished.

I like how the two areas seem more connected now, and I also like how the unique, sculptural branching of the madrone is more noticeable.

So, whatever changes I make (and there will be changes), I will keep that in mind.

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Getting The Most Out Of Your Small Garden

I have a fairly large garden, and I enjoy it. But I can see a day when I’m ready to downsize to a smaller, more manageable outdoor space.  This post, brought to me by a guest writer, gives us a few suggestions for maximizing space in a small garden.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Small Garden

It can be challenging in small gardens to fit all the plants you want to grow into a limited space. You don’t have the luxury of planting every crop or flower species you may want. But, with some creativity, you can make the most of your small garden space.  Here are a few tips.

Grow What Isn’t Easily Accessible To You

You may want to grow and harvest all your favorite veggies but, if you only have a small space to work with, you might not be able to grow all your favorite crops. The best you can do, in this case, is to prioritize and focus on growing what isn’t easily accessible to you. Find out what you cannot buy easily and grow it instead. For example, if you love mushrooms but find them a bit difficult to access where you are, you can try growing them. Out-Grow, for example, can provide you with the mushroom-growing substrates you need.

Practice Companion Planting

With companion planting, you can grow more than one crop on a patch of land. In companion farming, it is important to pair plants that grow well together. Growing the wrong crops together will only lead to competition for nutrients and root space. 

A crop like carrots, for example, does well with beets, as the latter has a shorter growth period. Tomato plants also do pretty well when paired with most other plants. 

Grow Vertically

If you have a limited amount of garden space, why not try growing plants on your garden wall or fence? This will provide you with extra growing space and also add to the attractiveness of your small garden.  You can choose climbing plants or opt to grow plants in pouches and wall-hanging pots attached to your fence. Growing plants in containers on a wall or fence also keeps them out of reach of many pests. 

Look For Compact Varieties Of Your Favorite Plants

Many plant types have compact or dwarf species that take up much less planting and growing space. If your favorite plants take up too much room, try opting for their dwarf species instead. The only downside here is that the compact or dwarf species also yield smaller fruits and flowers in most cases. So, take the time to check your local seed provider or plant nursery for the compact species of the plants you want. And be sure to read the instructions they come with.

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Is Your Home Summer-Ready?

Summer seems to come and go so quickly, and we always want to make the most of it.  So today I’m sharing this guest post, with a few tips for preparing our homes for summer.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

It’s that time of year we all look forward to – summer. There’s nothing nicer than waking up, heading outside with a coffee and starting your day in the sunshine, is there? Of course, while the warmer summer months are extremely enjoyable, if your home isn’t summer-ready it can be difficult to enjoy the warmer weather. 

That’s why, before summer truly hits, it’s a good idea to take the time to think about how you might like to update and upgrade your home for summer. By taking the time to think about this now, you can ensure that you are able to get the most out of the warmer summer weather. 

Wondering what steps you can take to make your home summer-ready? Here are a few ideas: 

Overhaul Your Garden

Chances are that in the warmer summer weather you’re going to want to spend more time outside, which is why it’s worth taking the time to think about how you can overhaul your garden and make more of the space that you have. 

It might be as simple as mowing your lawn, clipping your hedges and adding some new garden furniture, or you might want or need to completely re-design and decorate your outdoor space. Whatever route you opt for, just make sure that you are left with an outdoor space that you love and enjoy spending time relaxing in. 

Think About Staying Cool 

When it comes to making the most of the summer weather, one of the most important things is actually being able to keep cool. Yes, it’s lovely to be able to soak up the sun, but what you don’t want is to come inside and feel like you can’t cool down, so being able to keep your home nice and cool is a must.

Think about things like having HVAC installed if you don’t already have air conditioning in place, or buying security screens for your windows so that you can have them open without worrying about security breaches. 

Create A Combination Space

If you’re in a position to create an indoor-outdoor space, consider doing that. An outdoor kitchen or outdoor pop-up living room could be the ideal space to create to make more of the warmer summer weather. If your home has double doors out to your garden or even sliding panels, open them up and create a combination space. 

Think rattan furniture, potted plants and palms, solar-powered fairy lights, outdoor rugs, outdoor cushions, a fire pit, and anything else that takes your fancy. You want to create an indoor-outdoor space that’s comfortable, stylish and ideal for relaxing in. 

It’s also worth considering adding a pool to your garden, if you have the room for it. Imagine how nice it would be to be able to chill in your own personal pool while soaking up the sun but also staying cool. 

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

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The Practical Side Of Revamping A Garden

This guest post made me smile because, while I’m always thinking of whimsical things like decorative garden lighting or how beautiful my peonies look this year, I tend to forget about the more practical aspects that should be considered in a garden revamp.

So it’s my pleasure to pass along these helpful hints today.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

The Practical Side Of Revamping A Garden

With summer right around the corner, now is the best time to start thinking about what you want from your garden so you can make the most of the fine weather that is almost upon us. You may or may not have revamped your garden for this year and, if you haven’t, then see this post as a good start.

While there are many things you can do to increase the appeal of your garden, it’s important to keep a couple of practical concerns in mind:  Safety and security.  But it can be easy to address these concerns when planning or expanding on your garden revamp.

Add Fencing

You might be a great gardener but, unless you are qualified, don’t try to install your own fencing.  Fence building isn’t as easy as it looks, and trying to DIY it could end up costing you both time and money – as well as leaving you a bit red-faced should you do it wrong. Consider consulting with professionals like Sierra Fence Inc. or those local to you about any fencing installations.

While the main reasons people get fencing installed are privacy and security, you could use fencing to separate different areas of your garden.  This can be especially useful for growing vegetables and herbs while keeping out pests. Alternatively, you may want to distinguish a working area from a recreational area where there is a chance of children being injured by tools, for example.

Address Landscaping Issues

Should you be in the process of revamping your garden, you will probably come across various tasks that need to be addressed – especially if your garden has been neglected for some time.  You might want to get any landscaping done as quickly as possible, but it isn’t quite as simple as clearing out debris and getting to work.

Landscaping is a vital part of garden renovation but it comes with its own issues, many of which can potentially be dangerous.  Issues such as erosion, standing water, and wildlife may require professional assistance. Erosion is a common challenge but can often be rectified by installing soil and mulch, concrete retaining walls, and gabions.  Standing water indicates a drainage problem.  And many species of wildlife are protected by laws that require that they be moved properly or remain undisturbed. 

Check The Safety Of Your Garden

Potential garden hazards to be mindful of include theft, animal attacks, and injuries sustained while playing in the garden.  A UK report from 2019 found that 90% of household thefts occurred in the garden.  Urban wild animal attacks have been rising throughout the US and Canada since 1980.  And around 110,000 children are admitted to UK hospitals each year with garden-related injuries.

One of the first things you should do is secure any expensive items away in your shed or in your home so as to reduce the potential for burglary.  Invest in security lighting and CCTV. To protect against animals, never leave food lying around (fresh or spoiled) and move trash bags to the front of the house where animals are less likely to venture. Dangerous items such as lawnmowers and garden shears are responsible for major incidents, so prevent access to these items by children. 

Place down soft materials in designated play areas if children are to play in the garden. 

Consider the needs of anyone who might be using the garden – including senior family members and pets.  Make sure staircases and decks have handrails and that walkways are free of trip hazards.  Remove any hazardous plants.

Following these practical suggestions while revamping your garden will help ensure that it is a safe and secure place for your family to enjoy.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

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Unlocking Its Potential: How To Revamp An Old And Tired Garden

I find overgrown, neglected gardens very intriguing.  They are packed with potential, and you never know what you will find in them once you start exploring.  This post, brought to me by a guest writer, has a few fun tips for transforming a neglected garden.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Unlocking Its Potential: How To Revamp An Old And Tired Garden

Most of us want our gardens to be beautiful, but many of us lack the time that it takes to create and maintain the perfect garden. You may be working hard to create your ideal eco-friendly homeor making other changes to your home – with no time or energy left to focus on the garden.  But revamping an old and tired garden doesn’t have to be complicated. 

Here are a few key components to bear in mind.

Address Any Decaying Areas

If you want to revamp your garden, you do not necessarily need to swap out all your old plants with new ones.  Remove any garden debris and then take a good look at the plants and trees that are already in your garden.  Try to determine which ones are worth saving and nourishing.  And then give those plants the opportunity to thrive. Trees are important for so many reasons.  They add scale and vertical interest to your garden, and they create shade.  So, if you’ve got any decaying trees, it’s a good idea to bring in tree disease experts.    

Address The Purpose

We spend a lot of time thinking that our gardens need to look just right.  But it’s far more important for us to consider what we are using the garden for. Do you want to grow vegetables? Do you want your garden to serve as a relaxation space? Knowing what you want from your garden will help give you a vision of how you want it to look.  Once you’ve decided on the purpose for your space, you can start integrating specific designs and furniture choices. 

Work Within Your Budget

It doesn’t necessarily take a big budget to make a nice garden. Sometimes the main ingredient to a memorable garden is creativity.  You can build your own furniture using pallets – or repurpose old furniture.  Garden decor can be more colorful, unique, and rustic than indoor decor, so have some fun designing your garden.  And remember, an interesting garden doesn’t have to be perfect:  A few choice pieces of garden decor and furniture can transform the look from neglected to whimsical.   

Focus On The Ambiance

Ambiance is an integral piece of the garden design puzzle.  Without it, even the best design plans fall short. Think about ways to change the feel of your garden space without necessarily removing everything. For example, you can create borders with plants and shrubs, while also incorporating affordable lighting such as LED lights.  They will all work together to create a unique ambiance. 

When we have an overrun garden space, it’s not so difficult to improve it. Revamping doesn’t have to cost the earth.  The most important thing we need to remember when revamping a tired garden is to be creative.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

 

SIMPLE SPRING  HOME REFRESH IDEAS

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
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Exploring

Creating A New Garden Area

You may have noticed that I haven’t been writing many posts lately.  That’s because I’ve become obsessed with projects in my garden, and I’d rather show you the beautiful results than the sometimes-messy progress.  But, as you already know if you are a gardener, (1) beautiful results usually take a long, long time, and (2) the end result is hardly ever perfect anyway.

So I’ve decided to show you the messy progress.

It’s in a part of my garden that I mentioned in my earlier post, Garden Planning and Dreaming – although, right now, it’s not very dreamy.

But here goes.

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The Planting Area

As a refresher, I have a large heart-shaped planting bed that got too overgrown and chaotic in summer.

Joe Pye weed

So last fall I had almost everything removed so I could start fresh.

Empty garden area ready for planting

Using my dazzling tech skills, I created this representation of the look I have in mind for the area – although what I’m actually going for is not quite as insanely manicured.

Garden design inspiration

So let’s see how close I’ve come to this look so far.

 

Extending The Boxwood Hedge

The area had a short boxwood hedge that ran along roughly a third of the front of the planting area.  I liked how the hedge neatly contained the chaos of the planting area, so it was one of the few things I decided to keep.

Clearing the area: The boxwoods stay!

The plan was to have a small opening after that hedge, in the center of the area, as an entryway to whatever piece of garden art would be the centerpiece.  Then the hedge would continue to the right of the opening.

For this I needed to add more boxwoods (dwarf English boxwood, to be precise).

So, my first task was to plant boxwoods.  I already had two in containers, which I planted, and I purchased four more.

Planting dwarf English boxwood

My goal is to prune them into a square hedge to match the existing hedge on the left, but of course it will take a little time for them to grow enough for that.

In the meantime, it looks kind of funny.

Planting dwarf English Boxwood
New Boxwoods In Place

The entryway between the hedges would be flanked by a potted topiary on either side.  I found two affordable little rosemary plants at a local grocery store (seen here still in their grocery store wrappers).

garden planting

Since I want to do a mix of flowers, herbs, and ornamental vegetables in this space, the rosemary seemed like a good candidate for the topiaries.

 

Preparing For The Centerpiece

I was still not sure what type of garden art I would use as my centerpiece, but I knew where it should go, so I started preparing the area.

I stood at the entryway, between the hedges, and took a few steps in.  I took a four-foot long board and basically spun it around in the soil to etch out a four-foot-wide circle.

Then I carved the circle a little deeper and leveled it.

I added landscape fabric and anchored it with landscape fabric staples.  Around the edge of the circle, I secured the fabric with the stones that I would be using to edge the area.

I found two bluestone pavers left over from this patio project that would work well as stepping stones to lead from the entrance to the circle.  I leveled them into place.  Then I added sand to the circle area – and a round paver in the very center.

Now I needed to add pea gravel and, finally, a centerpiece.  I was hoping to use the same birdbath-turned-planter that I had in the area before.  We’d had it for years, and it was crooked because it was beginning to crumble. But Chris is very good at salvaging old garden pots, so I was hoping he could somehow repair it.

After closer inspection, we ruled that out.  I wanted to find another vintage piece to take its place but, before I could do that, I fell in love with a large, whimsical pot that I found at a local pottery shop.  Now it sits in the center of the circle.

 

garden centerpiece

 

Planting The Area

The large pot looks a bit overbearing right now because the plants in the area are still very small.  But, as the season progresses, I am hoping everything will make more sense.

I knew I wanted to ring the gravel circle with Spanish lavender, and luckily I found an affordable flat of Spanish lavender at a big box store.

But they are small starter plants, so it will be some time before they grow enough to soften the look of the circle.  For a little more volume, I’ve planted geranium starts between them.  Right now, they are also very tiny.  But hopefully, once they’ve grown a bit, this circle will look a little more interesting.

garden centerpiece

Further out, anchoring each “corner” of the circle, are daylilies.  Of course, right now, they just look like big clumps of grass.

garden centerpiece

I’ve also planted irises, foxgloves, peonies, and dahlias – most of which I moved from other parts of the garden where they were getting crowded.  But some of the peonies are new this year, and I’m not expecting them to do much in their first year.  I will plant annuals and ornamental vegetables around them to take up the slack for now.

My goal is to have a bee-friendly garden and to have something blooming from spring to fall.  The hedges, the lavender, and the centerpiece will lend winter structure.

On either side of the entrance, the rosemary plants are now in clay pots.  They could use a little shaping, but I’m going to let them get settled in first.

garden structure

And I did a little re-shuffle of the garden edging stones so that the stone at the entry reads more like an actual step up into the area.

designing a garden centerpiece

And, finally, I added mulch.

The Look Right Now

I’m getting there. The hard work is behind me, so the fun can begin:  Adding more plants and more color!

designing a garden centerpiece

Of course, I won’t actually be using the entry and the stepping stones very often.  They are mostly to lead the eye to the large pot.

 

Designing a new garden space

So, to recap, I’ve gone from this

Before

to this.

Now

I’ll post an update later in summer – and hopefully by then I’ll have something prettier to show you.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

Finding Inspiration

I love classic English gardens, and my new garden area is based on inspiration I found by pouring through books on English garden design.

   

 

SIMPLE SPRING  HOME REFRESH IDEAS

 

Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!

 

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