Transforming my Backyard into a Secret Garden- Part 1

Garden Ideas 05.18.16
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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  • 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
  • Pat Ruge
    Pat Ruge Murrieta, CA
    What a lovely garden you have created! The creativity and patience you have exhibited does not go unnoticed. Well balanced and delightful. We in So. Cal only wish we had your "too much water" problem.