Sunday, May 5, 2013

Gardening Plans

Now that the snow has now melted from our backyard (yes, shockingly), it's time to plan the backyard overhaul that we didn't get to last summer. 

So my musts are:

1.  Privacy from kids, dogs, cats and neighbours who can see into our backyard if they are outside on their decks.  We are surrounded, and I can't stand it.  Ever since our crappy cabana blew down during one particularly nasty summer storm in July 2011, we haven't bothered to put up a new one.  So we are done with that nonsense, and I have to now find a way to create 'visually appealing' privacy around the hot tub without resorting to severe tactics.

2.  Minimal maintenance.  No mowing the lawn as the backyard has been a breeding ground for weeds in the past.  We are done with that too.   I need easy to maintain plants, perennials and trees that won't shed and won't damage the fence. (I live in a Zone 2B).  Our yard gets mostly full sun during the day.

3.  Use our planters for growing vegetables and herbs.  Easy enough.

4.  Get rid of the grass and perhaps use concrete blocks for a path and use something else for ground cover.

5.  Have built-in seating installed on our deck or find furniture that can hold up to severe climate changes (we are talking hot summers to hail to snow and -40C in winter, wind, etc) as we don't have room in the garage to store bulky patio furniture.

6.  Find a good stain for our deck that we don't have to reapply every year! 

7.  Implement some nooks and crannies to make the yard interesting and inviting.

8.  Nothing fussy or cutesy.

Our backyard isn't that big, most of the space is taken up with the higher/lower deck/hot-tub.  One of my co-workers suggested going to Dutch Growers (a local gardening centre here) to see if they will draw up a plan for the yard and make suggestions.  My sister, who is more gardening-inclined than I am (and who is also planning to establish her backyard this year) suggested installing grape vines, which are apparently quite hardy and will stand up to severe varying weather conditions.

Pinterest has some good finds, I like these ideas:




                                         this is what I'm thinking of, but no grass

Any yard & gardening successes for you?


  1. I would say definitely go to the garden centre to get their help on drawing up an overalll much easier to add little changes over the years if you have the framework already in your mind...also a local place is terrific because they will know what will truly grow in your conditions...not just what is trendy.

    But I would also say...go for walks around your neighbourhood with a camera and take note of which plants are really thriving...take the images to the garden centre so they can help identify the species that you aren't familiar with...because a thriving luscious garden is at least one half of a beautiful landscape. What an exciting project!

  2. This is exciting to be creating your own landscape design. I agree with Glamour Drops when she suggested walking your neighbourhood equipped with camera. Would you consider leaving a tiny piece of grass? It is so refreshing to walk in bare feet.

    Wishing you success

    Helen xx

  3. Hello, it's exciting that it is finally Spring here in our beloved Canada. Such a long wait. Your gardening ideas posted here are wonderful. I would suggest building concrete paths and lots of greenery plants. Asking your local gardening nursery will be helpful. Adding lavender plants too will be nice and fragrant.

  4. I am with Helen - a little grass is a good thing. The less expensive path is one like I have - a pea gravel path, but I went that way as I am gardening an acre in the backyard and patio stones or brick would have been prohibitive! I would do the walk as well, but your local nursery will give you ideas you would never have otherwise and I think is a real money-saver in the end. When you say concrete blocks, I assume small ones that interlock - the big ones will look big, if you know what I mean! Good luck!

  5. How fun to be starting with basically a clean slate. You have some great ideas to start. If you want simple, do not put in a pond. They do take regular maintenance and have to be cleaned out at the end of the season. I think grass is overrated unless you have small children or pets. There are other ground covers available that are much lower maintenance.

  6. Thanks for the great ideas everyone! Hubs is trying to convince me to keep some grass. :)

  7. I love all the pinterest ideas you posted. They are lovely.
    I vote pond, but then I have 2 myself. One big and one small and love them.
    Happy gardening!

  8. Succulents are so hardy and grow without any attention. All the NZ natives like tree ferns and laxes are incredibly tough and hardy. I'm with you on all those requirements - no fuss! Grass is a pain and we replaced ours with fake stuff so the kids can play on it and not bring mud into the house.

  9. Great list you have here. I agree.. get rid of the grass, go low maintenance and work on the privacy issue. Usually the local nurseries will provide lots of gret ideas if you take photos in. Your inspiration photos are gorgeous! Boxwood snd succulents are both attractive snd don't require much attention. We have lots of rock and outdoor lighting - its easy to pit in and is really pretty at night:)


  10. Love this last one! I think you have some good ideas and I totally agree grass isn't worth doing. I love boxwoods because they look so nice and are easy. Also love pea gravel for a French look and feel and it's inexpensive. I think it really is helpful to get a landscaper's opinion. Backyard lighting is really important. It's always nice to have a pretty tree you like and have it lit up so you have something nice to look at from inside. You'll love it.

    I look forward to seeing what you do!

  11. Thanks Jody, Leslie & Kim -- I'm taking note of all these suggestions and you've totally reminded me to do the backyard lighting too!

  12. Actually a friend has just put in little solar lights too so I want her to get back to me about how good they are, that would be a less pricey solution to the lighting if it works