Transforming my Backyard into a Secret Garden- Part 1

Love my backyard, but I got tired of keeping up with the grass; and, after a rainstorm it turned 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 and absorb 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 used a technique known as "lasagna gardening"- I did not pull up the grass! 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 of that first year, I dug in.
For a more detailed description of the process, please visit my post
(To see more here at Hometalk, please view "Transforming my Backyard into a Secret Garden- Part 2 and "Scenes from my Secret Garden"). Abracadabra, let the magic begin!
covering with newspaper and cardboard was too cumbersome (plus I ran out!) I began using the brown paper yard waste bags. This was much easier!
I also began growing some flowers from seeds since I would not be doing any planting until the threat of freezing would pass. In Michigan, that's not usually until late May :0
All the work was definitely worth it! This photo and the following were taken this past season (2014) -which was the next full season after I had begun this project! It has provided so much beauty and joy!
You can see more pictures of my garden and the plants and flowers I have in my garden in my other posts here on Hometalk. Thanks for viewing!
This is my secret garden today (June 2015)
June 2015

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  • Elizabeth Sagarminaga
    Elizabeth Sagarminaga Mission Viejo, CA
    Nice article on backyard transformation. If you renovate your yard into secret lovely retreat ,in my opinion you should put a white picket fence around your yard as it not only enhance the looks and curb appeal but also can protect your yard from
    • Ivylore
      Ivylore Trenton, MI
      Elizabeth Sagarminaga And it really is a secret garden because it can't be seen at all from the front. So everyone that does come down the driveway to the back are
  • Samantha
    Samantha Sebewaing, MI
    Wow!! What a difference! I haven't been able to hunt down the other 2 posts yet, but the pictures you posted in the comments look fantastic!! I've never heard of "lasagna gardening", but it definitely saved you some work digging up all the grass. I hear
    • Ivylore
      Ivylore Trenton, MI
      Samantha Thanks, Samantha! Yes, and this year we haven't had much of a summer yet, but all of the rain hasn't seemed to hurt my plants. Right now the daisies have taken over and are "show-boating" again---
  • A1zwkc
    Ivylore Congratulations! You have done well. A really lovely garden. Should be proud of yourself. It will give you joy for years to come.
    • Ivylore
      Ivylore Trenton, MI
      A1zwkc Thank you! Looking at the garden and working in it really lift my spirits!
  • Sheila garza
    sheila garza Irving, TX
    It was well worth your time and hard work. It's beautiful.
  • Anna Picket
    Anna Picket Lehi, UT
    That's a fun idea to put in a garden retreat in the backyard. Maybe we should do something like that. I have to admit that I'm kind of bored of our plain grass yard. Are all your flowers and plants fairly low maintenance? I'll have to talk to <a
    • Ivylore
      Ivylore Trenton, MI
      Anna Picket Hi Anna, Yes, I researched which plants/flowers I wanted. I have mostly perennials so that they will return every spring... Then I ususally buy some annuals to fill