In late summer 2016, the hubs and I purchased a sweet little fixer upper rambler style house (that’s the same as a ranch style house in other parts of the country). The gardens were a mess and hadn’t been tended to once the house sold. I was okay with that, because I knew I would be reworking them and doing many garden projects and garden makeovers. This is the first such garden makeover– the amazing transformation of a dreadful looking weed pit into a stunning, tiered flower garden.
I debated with myself whether or not it was the right time to post an update, and although it’s not perfect, I decided just to go for it. This garden will continue to evolve as I continue to shuffle plants, thin plants and add plants. Perhaps this makeover will inspire you to attempt your own garden transformation. And, hopefully, you won’t have to start with what I started with.
Backyard Garden Makeover – The Before
Once we got settled in, sort of, I immediately dug in and started cleaning up this ugly mess. The longer weedy areas are left, the worse they become. I began the makeover by digging out weeds, ditch lilies, weeds, lily of the valley, weeds – you get the picture. Some of the weeds were like trees (which I later learned was buckthorn) and I had to have help with those. It makes me tired just looking at this mess.
Here’s another angle of the mess. Along with the house and yard came several diseased trees. This quadruple trunk ash tree was cut down, along with several others. Word to the wise, if you’re house shopping always look at the health of trees in the yard too. We still have a few large ash trees that need to be taken down. It’s sad to lose big trees and it’s also very expensive.
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Essential Tools for Cleaning Out An Overgrown Garden
Here I’m making progress and seeing that this is a tiered bed. And, who knew all those lovely field stones were there. I love rocks almost as much as I love flowers. There were a few other treasures hiding in this mess besides the rocks- asiatic lilies, a gorgeous bleeding heart, irises and strawberries.
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I dug out tons of invasive plants like lily-of-the-valley and ditch lilies. There are many ways to makeover an existing garden, but when the garden is more of a weed pit, it’s easiest to completely dig everything out and start fresh.
Once I got everything cleaned out and had a blank slate to work with, I really should have taken the time to sketch out a plan. It would have saved me lots of time. But, what can I say, when it comes to gardens, blank slates excite me and I was all too ready to move on this opportunity. This bed gets mostly part sun so it was pretty easy to pick out plants for it.
Since it was late summer, I knew I wouldn’t be able to actually see my efforts come to fruition until the following spring and summer. I went ahead and replanted the few good plants that I had dug up, along with some plants that I was able to pick up on end-of-summer clearance.
Backyard Garden Makeover – After
The following spring was when the real excitement and transformation came into play. Lots of perennials were planted, including several different varieties of coneflower, asiatic lilies, irises, yarrow, daylilies and many more. Again, there was no rhyme or reason to my design, because I was just ready to move onto another project. I added some annuals here and there to ensure color throughout the season. Once the planting was done, I sprinkled Preen (a pre-emergent weed control) and added a thick layer of mulch.
Here’s another view a few weeks later in the summer. The flowers start filling in and there’s more color popping. No method to my crazy design, but it looks so much better than it did the year before.
I’m sure I’ll be moving plants around over the years striving for perfection, which we all know doesn’t happen in a perennial garden.
A good layer of mulch is just like the icing on the cake. Mulch is a huge help with weed control in this flower bed, and it also helps the plants retain moisture.
Tiered Garden Bed Makeover – Updated
So here I am back two years later for an update on this flower bed. Sometimes I look at the pictures of this flower garden and I think, “what a hot mess!” I need to move this and that, and that plant is too tall for the bottom tier, etc. etc. But, then I look at the before pictures and I think it looks pretty darn awesome. So, yes, it still is very much a work in progress.
There are tons of lilies in this flower garden. Some were here and I’ve added some.
I’ll be honest, this bunch of various kinds of lilies and varying heights mixed together drives my OCD self crazy. My plan is to mark the lilies with tape around the stem, so I can move them into like-kind groups. Hopefully, I’ll get to it before they’ve finished blooming this year. So much to do… so little time!
More cheery Asiatic Lilies. The orange and yellow mix doesn’t drive me quite so crazy. Lol!
This combination of yellow Asiatic Lilies and Becky Shasta Daisies is definitely a winner and a combination I will try to repeat.
These lilies are LA Hybrids – Royal Sunset I believe.
There are also lots and lots of daylilies in this tiered garden with staggered bloom times. This is Monterey Jack. I picked him up off of a clearance rack at a big box store a few years ago. The poor fella looked like he’d been run over by a mac truck. I loved and took care of him, and, well, I’d say he’s recovered!
Here are some close ups of various perennials in this flower bed, along with some fun vignettes.
The vine growing on the ladder trellis is Silver Lace Vine.
More Lilies, with a sweet little homemade bird house that was a gift several years ago.
Here’s Sweet Sophie surrounded by Blue Clips Campanula and John Creech stonecrop.
2020 Garden Updates
In 2020, we added Dwarf Alberta Spruce trees along the top of the slope, and made a few other changes. The photo below is the bed in early summer.
Later in the summer of 2020.
Another vignette using my cute birdhouse surrounded by Asiatic lilies and silver lace vine.
Sloped Flower Garden Updates – 2021
This garden has really evolved. The plants in the picture below, include pink malva, black-eyed Susan, Which Way Jim daylily and Powwow Wild Berry coneflower. A wren family took up residence in the birdhouse, so it was fun to hear the babies chirping while I was tending the garden.
Although, the overall design of this garden still isn’t 100% what I want, there are some winning plant combinations like the Becky shasta daisies and pink malva below.
Late summer of 2021, lots and lots of color. There are cheery cheeks daylilies, black-eyed Susans, phlox, coneflowers and more.
This tiered flower garden will continue to evolve over time and I will continue to update this post. If for no other reason than to inspire you all and myself. My goal is for this flower bed to be as low maintenance as possible. This summer I am adding some flowering shrubs and pulling out some of the tall vines and plants that have to be staked.
This tiered perennial bed is just one area that I have made over in our yard. Looking at these pictures reminds me to take more pictures of the progress, because it does my soul and weary body good to see what has been accomplished.
What about you? Is there a weed pit like this that you’ve tackled? Leave a comment and tell me about it. I love hearing what is going on with your gardens too.
Thanks so much for taking time from your gardens to stop by mine. I’m so glad you did. Please come back soon!
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