I am exhausted just writing about this week's Before & After.
Shyrlene over at The Bunnies Buffet is one ambitious lady! She doesn't just have a Before & After; she has a Before Before and an After After ! (Overachievers of the world, UNITE!)
Shyrlene overhauled and renovated her home AND her gardens. Imagine seeing your front garden being ripped into the above chaos! Now I know...this is backwards of how a Before & After is supposed to go. I promise I didn't mislabel the photos. :)
You're exhausted too now, right? And this is just the front garden. I can't wait to see how it fills out this summer - talk about a complete transformation! Here are Shyrlene's Garden Redux Secrets:
(or really, just me being nosy and asking questions!)
1. How did you plan your new garden?
I figured out general areas (sun/shade) of the front and backyards. In the past, before we did the addition, the whole backyard was in sun - so it was sun-friendly plants or nothing.
Started my "Shade Garden" first - because it was next to my new 3-Season room, and I needed some instant gratification to motivate me as I sat there and I sketched garden plans for the rest of the yard! It was also where I re-purposed some concrete sidewalk from front yard demolition during construction. They became my steps to the backyard.
|Shade Garden with re-purposed concrete|
Designed the "Front Garden" next, so the neighbors didn't have to look at a wasteland any more. I wanted organic-shaped garden beds - so I sketched a number of ideas until one jelled for me. I also wanted to create a visual border/ screen to the house to the West of our home - so plants that would grow large or be an evergreen were important for the plant list.
I learned early, when we originally bought the house years ago - plant your "anchor" plants first. Trees & bushes should be planted immediately, since they are slow growers usually. Mature trees & bushes = good!
|Is this a Master Plan or what?|
2. Did you run into any snags or surprises?
Surprises: Tree roots! I had no idea just how far mature trees send out roots! They are everywhere, even in the middle of the yard . It will give you 'tennis elbow' when you are trying to dig a new garden.
Snags: Bunnies --- they decimated 2 new Arborvitae, made a 3-yr old Golden Privet a "chew bone" (I thought for sure it was dead as a door nail), almost took out a new Dappled Willow, and snipped new branches off of 6 Red-twig Dogwoods. (Now you know why I call my garden blog the "Bunnies Buffet"!)
3. What is your best advice for someone wanting to start a brand new garden?
Start new garden beds the fall before you really want to plant. Rather than excavate yards and yards of grass & turf, put down newspaper on top of the grass (where you want to put your garden), then add compost and pete moss (+ 6") on top. Let it overwinter. The newspaper breaks down the sod (and is environmentally friendly). The grass, newspaper and compost/pete moss all breakdown and enrich the soil. By late spring, you are ready to start planting.
4. Did you have any great deals on the plants in your garden or a cheap DIY tip to share?
Share plants with your friends. I dug up all my plants before construction - and gave them to many friends; now 3 years later - they are sharing "back" to me! (Hostas, Daylilies, Sedum and native grasses)
Buy hardy perennials at Lowes, Home Depot, etc. I love Moonbeam Coreopsis and Pink Gaura. Lowes is just down the street, and was selling both for $3/plant last year! It fills in the gaps in your new gardens - for the loose change you collect over the winter! Save the 'big bucks' for your favorite nursery, for the exotic or unusual 'must have' plants, and bushes that you want a 1-yr warranty on.
Thank you so much Shyrlene for sharing all of your incredible hard work with us here at Sweet Bean Gardening!!! I think I'm going to go take a nap now... :)
And a reminder: If you have a garden Before & After, send it to me at sweetbeangardening(at)gmail.com. I'd love to feature your garden too!