Before & After: From Scraggly Old Yard to Beautiful Oasis

(Image credit: Submitted by Karin)

The previous owners of Karin’s home had used the backyard as something of a doggy dumping ground. After some much needed clean up, Karin called in the professionals to help lay pavers and stone, before attacking the planting herself. Add in a shed and a re-done deck and you have a totally transformed backyard oasis.

(Image credit: Submitted by Karin)

From Karin: I purchased my house in December, from people who were using the yard as a “doggie daycare”. Suffice to say that I found a lot of “surprises” once spring rolled around (several large buckets needed!) The deck was a hodgepodge of gates and railings and the few trees were small and scrubby.

(Image credit: Submitted by Karin)

The first task was to demolish the decrepit shed and remove all the dog waste. I hired a local garden company to dig up, level the site, install landscape fabric and then the flagstone path, some beds and pea gravel. I wanted something that didn’t involve grass. When it was first done, it really looked scary, a bit like the moon. I had a new shed installed and that helped. Once the plants went in I started to see how it was going to develop. Sometimes when I sit on the deck (which I rebuilt last summer) it’s amazing to think that I planted EVERY tree and plant in the yard.

(Image credit: Submitted by Karin)

My garden is now nine years old and it’s always evolving. This year I built a water feature, made from a large storage bin buried underground and topped with flagstone. It’s powered by a special underground power cord that runs through conduit to my deck receptacle.

(Image credit: Submitted by Karin)

The birds really enjoy it and because the water source is all below ground, you don’t have to worry about raccoons or mosquitos. Since I was a novice nine years ago, I wasn’t as educated about plant spacing. In hindsight, I would have left more area between trees since it’s starting to look a bit wild!

(Image credit: Submitted by Karin)

Karin’s words of wisdom: Patience, patience, patience. Gardens never look great at the beginning and you have to be open to removing elements that aren’t working. Secondly, educate yourself about what makes a great garden — soil components, choosing the right plant for the location. Visit garden tours for great inspiration. You can save a lot of money if you are willing to do the work yourself but always understand your limitations. Sometimes it’s better to hire professionals for important things like electrical and tree removal.

Resource list:

Thank you, Karin!


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