Amateur Work: My Yard

I am by NO MEANS a gardener, but I’ve been getting great joy out of designing and working in my yard recently.  Previously a city gal for the past 10 years, I now feel a little overwhelmed with both a front AND back yard.  It will probably take me years to get the whole area together.  The back  is particularly full of challenges.   In typical Naomi/George overzealous ambitiousness, we’ve discussed a deck, adding a fence, an outdoor living room, tiered vegetable garden beds, a shed/workshop, a fountain, a firepit.  The truth of the matter is, I don’t see this as a forever home, so it’s probably crazy to do so much work.

For now, I’ve been mostly focused on upping my curb appeal and making my front yard a little less embarrassing.  I’ve trimmed down ugly bush trees and completely removed the grass.  Since the space is so small I’d prefer to have mulch and plantings.  The idea is for it to be a cutting garden, with something or other blooming throughout the warm seasons.  I love having fresh flowers in my home and having them come from your own yard is even more special.

When I first bought the home in September 2012, my front yard looked like this…

front yard on closing day
And now in June 2014 we have progressed to this…

Cottage Front Yard June 2014

I know, I know, I have a long way to go and I’m not exactly winning and curb appeal awards yet.  Would you be more impressed if I told you the yard looked like this on May 31st?  Not even exaggerating.

4 Weeks Ago

yard from front june 1

yard from side june 1

And Now…

Left side on June 21

A little less terrible.  Not done weeding.  (Does it ever end?)  Need to re-mulch.

I half mulched the right side and it makes me feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

right side half mulched

right side detail

Container Garden

I know this isn’t very impressive.  I’m mostly posting to hold myself accountable and keep it real.  Gardening is hard work!  I’ve gotten a lot of help from my Mom so far and hope we can make some headway in the next few months.


– paint fence

– add second section of fence on left side

– hide recycling/ trash cans

– finish weeding

-finish mulching

– tackle front porch

That’s it for me today.  Wish I could go outside and play right now, but it’s work time.

How are your gardens growing?  Are you into plantings or grass?  And do you have any tips for me to help me pull my front yard together?  I’m all ears!

  1. Selina

    Wow! Good on you. Love your work. Maybe a cute stepping stone pathway from the driveway to the main path. My dad and brother do all the gardening. Greetings from Australia! 🙂

  2. I miss yard work. I do! I have no tips, only to say that what you’ve got so far is so charming. Think about walking by things, like hardy herbs (lavender? thyme?), and having them release their scent into the air as you brush against them along your path. I really do miss being in a yard. Enjoy your patch of dirt! xoxo

  3. Amy

    Congratulations! You have made great progress with your yard. What color paint did you use on your front door? My house has a challenging color scheme, and I am trying to figure out what colors will work with it.

  4. This is rock-solid progress and I fully endorse your goals. Manageable, worthwhile to you, and one step at a time. I am a terrible gardener, myself, and started out with, “Well, do I really have to do something?” My first summer in our house, I was too intimidated by all the things that MIGHT be required even to try. The next summer, I moved on to planting things in the (already existing) raised beds. I promised myself that if the whole mess died, I would never spend money on seeds or seedlings again. Well, I actually got some edible stuff out of it (and dozens if not hundreds of beautiful zinnias – for about a penny apiece!). Not a stellar showing, but enough to have me looking at the next year for possible improvements. That would be this year. My ambition has slowly grown as I have tackled some of the bigger outdoor projects, come up with a schedule for the next few big ones, and started to understand how I can approach some of the darkly mysterious ones (such as nasty vines attacking my front yard) in manageable stages. Meanwhile, I am actually starting to figure out what is not worth bothering with (no point planting eggplant, period; no point planting bell peppers from seed), and what has even BETTER results than I expected (daffodils will succeed anywhere; gladioli are slightly pickier but will thrive where Oriental lilies won’t, plus they multiply in JUST ONE YEAR; zinnias are amazing and awesome but apparently my late crop last year had nothing to do with seeding late, because they are growing ever-so-slowly right now whereas late last summer they shot up like crazy – I’m guessing a month from now they’ll be on crack again; lavender requires more patience than I was planning on but apparently can survive a crazy winter; even very-established azaleas are surprisingly easy to transplant; and Knockout roses grow really fast, even for me. At least, the one that didn’t die last winter. SAD FACE). Your afters look much more impressive than I think you’re giving yourself credit for.

    • Naomi

      Oooo very interesting! Sad to hear the bell peppers didn’t take… I definitely was hoping to plant some of them. I’ll have to look into knockout roses and oriental lillies. My lavender is doing fab so far.

  5. tobe

    actually, it is impressive. you had quite a chore in front of you back then! looks great! landscaping is sooooo much work. i used to leave all of this to eric, but my domestic genes have kicked in and i actually get joy out of beautifying the yard now….weird. i have done more hard labor in the yard this year than ever in my life. feels good because it’s so foreign, you know? you feel like you’re really accomplishing something.

    can’t wait to sit out on the new deck in front of the fire pit with that relaxing fountain going in the background…. 🙂

    • Naomi

      Tobe, if we plan a visit then I will REALLY have inspiration!
      I love the labor involved. It’s cool that its relaxing and a workout all in one.

  6. Martha

    Wow! You did a lot of work! Looks great! Gardening is a ton of work, I find muscles I didn’t know I had.
    That fence is so cute… looks like you get full sun, I could see a climbing rose on it.

  7. jennifer

    It looks 1000 times better!!!! Good job. I think it has all the makings of a real cottage garden. Way to go. Gardening is hard work and lots of time. Pat your self on the back.

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