How to turn a long neglected yard into a beautiful flower paradise?

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I have recently retired and would love to turn my side yard into a place that I could sit and enjoy my morning coffee among beautiful flowers. The yard is next to the brick wall and there is a small walkway between the yard and the house. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

q how to turn a long neglected yard into a beautiful flower paradise
  9 answers
  • I would start with the seating area. Decide where you want it to be and how large you want it. Choose the 'floor' - patio block, flagstones, bricks, etc. and get that installed. Choose some plants to surround that area and then work your way out from it. Keep in mind, the whole side yard doesn't need to be done at once, Judy. I can't wait to see what you do!

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    • PLEASE keep me updated on your project, I look forward to seeing what you do! There are so many ideas out there, I'm sure you'll find something to your liking...and I would be thrilled if you followed The Apple Street Cottage!

  • Grahame Grahame on Aug 29, 2018

    There are loads of stuff you can buy for that space.

    to start off you will need a few large bags of compost 70l or 90l per bag. You need to but top soil 50l bags and mix the 90l compost to the 50l top soil.

    if your making a flower border I suggest a curved flower border be better than a straight border. Before buying your plants look online to see 1000s of different types of flower/plants and choose the ones you love first.

    plants are better to buy to put in the garden but can work out expensive

    pits tonnes cheaper buy seed packets and pot to sow the seeds in with all types of sowing,planting, care while growing, aftercare lets you know how and when to cut the deadheads off the flowers and cut off the sedd pods after the flowers have dropped off

    you can buy things like table and chairs, plant pots that are placed around the garden with all different sizes and colours.

    you can buy long planters to sit all along the top of the wall with plants in.

    you can buy solar garden lights and solar ornaments, fence or wall solar lights.

    once you have finished the flower garden you might want to think about a vegetable garden and also a fruit garden. You will need to buy garden tools and maybe a small garden shed to store everything in

    • Judy Guelde Judy Guelde on Sep 01, 2018

      Thanks so very much for the wonderful suggestions. I love to go to Lowe's and get their "TLC" plants and flowers that are normally really reduced in price. Usually you can bring them home, water and plant them and they "most of the time" survive. I'm sure this will be a "work in progress" !


  • Janmwhitaker Janmwhitaker on Aug 30, 2018

    I have tried for years to get grass to grow. No luck. I finally gave up and found a young man in NC that does flower beds. He is a new guy and he has his own ideas and he does what you want him to do. I will give you his link if you are interested.

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    • Janmwhitaker Janmwhitaker on Sep 02, 2018

      The guy that we used is: Better Bloom Landscapes and Ryan O'Gorman is the owner. He tells you what will live in what area and what will not. Ours is doing great. I think you will find our home on his webpage. Please tell him that I sent you, it will make his day. Keep me posted and glad I could help. I have never answered one of these questions before, but I know how much you have struggled and It just worked for us. Thanks and hope it all works out for you.

  • Linda Behne Dixon Linda Behne Dixon on Aug 30, 2018

    I love flowering shrubs. They aren't s "needy" as flowers.

    • Judy Guelde Judy Guelde on Sep 01, 2018

      Thanks ! I have several shrubs in my yard that bloom. They are so mature that they have to be cut back every year and then they grow twice as tall the following year. I may consider transplanting a few of them into the space.

  • Har17697120 Har17697120 on Aug 30, 2018

    The first thing I did was to get an automatic sprinkler system. My cheap annuals are still blooming today. But I have also planted plenty of perennials. Then every year you get more ideas and plant others.

  • Judy Guelde Judy Guelde on Sep 01, 2018

    I had an in ground sprinkler system, but after several years of drought in Georgia and they placed a ban on watering, some of the pipes have split and the cost to replace them is more than I'd have to invest in it. I will probably get a rotating sprinkler to use.

  • Ellis Ellis on Sep 02, 2018

    What a beautiful space you have to work with! I would choose a sitting area first, and decide whether to place a swing, a bench, some chairs and a small coffee table, or a bistro set. A nice paver or gravel area should be planned for that. Then perhaps you could map out some gardens with curved edges, and a small grass central area for walking, or a gravel or stepping stone path. If you do plant any flowering shrubs, stick to smaller-sized shrubs, so you aren't constantly pruning. Many garden catalogs feature shrubs for smaller spaces. Also, you can start with inexpensive annuals, but add a few more expensive perennials each year. In addition, try to notice the various sun conditions in the yard (which areas get most and least sun) and buy plants accordingly.


    Good luck, and have fun! It's your garden, and it will be a reflection of you.

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Sep 02, 2018

    Go with schemes that have:

    - no maintenance or low maintenance materials

    - any growing plants in contained beds, planters or pots (no bending required)

    -minimal number of bushes or trees (minimal clipping or pruning needed)

    -rocks, mulch, no grass (no mowing or water needed)


    In my experience, people often plant too much too soon, and too close to the house. Gardening tasks require muscle power and physical agility, materials and tools are often heavy, and are not inexpensive. Once growing starts, then the situation can easily get away on you. Go for quality, not quantity. You want to spend most your time relaxing and enjoying the beauty the flowers, not weeding, spraying, cutting, pruning, raking, watering, fertilizing, and bagging up yard clippings. (That doesn't sound like fun to me either).


    For immediate shade and privacy before you get a permanent source for your sitting area, you might consider purchasing a cantilever umbrella. These can be adjusted and tilted according to time of day and season.

  • Sue Peet Sue Peet on Sep 13, 2018

    I can tell by your picture that it gets lots of sun so why not have either a small gazebo built or a covered area so you can enjoy your outdoor space without sitting in the sun. You have plenty of space to create different sizes for flower beds. You might want to see what flowers are natives to your area, they are less maintenance.

    You could always have raised beds built so as you get older you won't have to bend over to care for your plants. There are many ideas on Pinterest. There are so many colorful flowers, flowering trees and bushes to add color to your space


    Instead of grass in between your beds and sitting area think about using other materials like wood chips, stepping stones, or just plain dirt.


    If you like birds you could add a birdfeeder or two, then you could watch them as you relax in this area.

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