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Gardening 03.09.14

Transforming my Backyard into a Secret Garden- Part 1

Love my backyard, but after a rainstorm it turns into a lake! I decided to completely get rid of the grass and transform it into a beautiful, peaceful flower garden retreat. I would not only be adding soil to the low spots which will help redirect the water, but I would create a beautiful space where I would much rather spend my time with the flowers and plants than cutting the grass :) Huge undertaking, but I was psyched up for it!

I began with a technique known as "lasagna gardening"- I covered all of the grass (and weeds!) with newspaper, cardboard or paper yard refuse bags- that was the first layer. Second layer, I topped that with a garden soil mix (topsoil, organic compost and peat). The third layer was the mulch. I was able to start planting my flowers and vines when there were no more frost advisories. While waiting for the weather to warm up, I started collecting the seedlings I wanted to plant. I also started growing some flowers from seeds. (I had an ENTIRE back yard to fill with flowers!!!) I planned my secret garden layout and I couldn't wait until I could actually start planting my flowers! At the end of May, I dug in.

63 Comments Displaying 15 of 63 comments | See Previous
  • Ivylore Trenton, MI
    Thanks for the encouragement, Vetsy!
  • Dyanne Phenix City, AL
    Go, Irma, Go! This is a huge project but I can tell you are so "fired up"! It's going to be beautiful!

    Your hard work will give you many years of

  • Ivylore Trenton, MI
    Thanks, Dyanne. I am definitely putting a lot of work into it every day, and I love every minute of it! On "Transforming my backyard into a secret garden- Part 2" I posted more photos of how the project is developing... slowly, but surely. But here are a
  • Pat Koltz Oshkosh, WI
    Irma, when I saw your Part 1 pictures, especially your wet backyard, I thought somehow you had taken a picture of MY backyard. It looks exactly like that after a moderate amount of rain or in the spring. I have not totally decided on my backyard design,
  • Pat Koltz Oshkosh, WI
    Theresa J, (or anyone else) where can I find The Plant Exchange? I'm very interested in learning more.
  • Ivylore Trenton, MI
    WOW, Pat, you have put in a lot of time, effort and love into your home! I really wish I could see your posts, unfortunately, I don't do facebook :( I wish you the best on your issues too!
  • Dahlia C Jourdanton, TX
    Your idea is so awesome. I've been thinking about how to transform my boring back yard and you have given me the inspiration. So easy and practical!
  • Ivylore Trenton, MI
    Thanks, Dahlia! It really is a lot of work, though, But definitely worth it for me. To see what it is looking like now, please see "Scenes from my Secret Garden"
  • Dahlia C Jourdanton, TX
    I didn't mean to say that there was no work to it. I meant that the plans are not complicated. Yes, I know that I'll be putting in some sweat to make it happen. Oh, I see an opportunity for before and after photos! I love your photos! Keep up the hard work!
  • Dahlia C Jourdanton, TX
    Irma, how do I view Secret Garden Part 2?
  • Ivylore Trenton, MI
    I think if you click on my picture it will take you to my posts. Look for "Transforming My Backyard into a Secret Garden- Part 2". Or I think if you search for my name or the title, it should take you there. I hope you'll find it. Thanks for your interest!
  • Deb Mansfield, MA
    @Ivylore...did you have a problem with birds and/or squirrels, etc. digging in the mulch and then ripping up the newspaper? I tried this method (newspaper, then mulch) and it's created an awful mess! Bits of newspaper everywhere, and the mulch is pushed
  • Ivylore Trenton, MI
    Hi Deb- it sounds like you didn't have a very good experience! Did you also put the layer of soil over the newspaper? Your comment only mentions the paper and the mulch. On top of the paper, I placed 10 yards of garden soil (which included topsoil,
  • Deb Mansfield, MA
    No, I didn't add soil. This was an existing garden bed. I had read somewhere else to just put down the paper, wet it, and put mulch over it.
    • Ivylore Trenton, MI
      Deb Oh, OK, It seems to me that soil would be needed over the paper. But I know how frustrating gardening issues can be. One of mine is that we have had so much rain this season that a lot of the
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