Saturday, May 18, 2024

Landscaping ideas for backyards – Turning a soggy backyard into a garden oasis.


landscaping_ideasDisclaimer: I am not a landscaper, but I was definitely born to be one. I come from a long line of ‘ladies from the prairies’ who have made landscaping or ‘fixing up the yard’ a way of life. They did this with a pile of kids underfoot (my Grandma had 13 kids! She must look at me struggling with my four and just laugh at me), 6 loaves of bread in the oven, and possibly while in a constant state of pregnancy. Given this legacy, I have no reason not to fulfill my landscaping destiny other than being completely lazy.

Landscaping ideas for backyards

When I was 16, I didn’t even want to put my hands near a pile of dirt, and I definitely didn’t want to help my Mom when she dug up the entire backyard and turned it into a garden. Looking back, I have to admire her for that now, even though she only planted potatoes. Seriously.

I’ve lived in this house for 9 years, and I have never tackled the backyard short of putting sod down and installing a large playground. I’ve always looked at the fence line and thought there must be an easy landscape trick I could pull to make it look nicer, but of course I could never quite figure it out. Until one day, a few months ago, I just picked up a shovel and started digging. The result is in that photo right there, and it wasn’t even that hard. Here’s how I did some easy landscaping in the backyard:

  • Dug a straight line along the fence line, going around the apple tree. I removed all of the clumps of grass straight into the corner and put them in yard bags (which were nasty to try to pull out to the curb).
  • I bought flats of pansies and begonias, moved some of my little trees I had carelessly dropped here and there, replanted a sad fern and hosta that were literally hiding in a shady spot and not growing.
    Landscape project after a month of growth - June 2013
    Landscape project after a month of growth – June 2013
  • I bought three small wooden climbers from the dollar store and put them up with honeysuckle vine and orange black-eyed susans.
  • Once I was finished planting, I brought in red bark mulch and covered all the dirt.
  • Don’t forget to decorate your fence! I hung little garden buckets from the dollar store and filled them with flowers. I also put up a ton of inexpensive solar patio lights.

I used to have a garden too. It was in a corner, small and neglected, and it was only a spot for strawberries to grow should the sun even actually hit them. When I saw that the local cats had taken it over as their litter pan, I decided enough was enough and got rid of it. Before I mulched it up, I took out all of the strawberry plants and put them up here:

Fence_Garden_Backyard_LandscapingAs you can see, all of my plants are now hanging on the fence, with the exception of the carrots. I’m currently growing peas, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, and I’ve just planted a butternut squash.

Tune in next time for more landscaping ideas, as I continue to dig along the fence and explore the mysterious world of shade plants (which, let’s face it, should be required reading for someone who lives in the Pacific Northwest.)


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