Tour of our garden

Happy Memorial Day! How has your weekend been so far? We’ve had a great one and I’m looking forward to more of the same today. I’m hoping to get my vegetable garden planted if the rain holds off – I’m planting late this year so I hope it does well this year!

Speaking of gardens, I have to tell you, I’m SO excited about our backyard right now. We’ve had a ton of rain, the temps have been really mild and the plants are just BOOMING. I love this time of year – I actually love taking the dog out because I’ll take a walk around the backyard to see the progress of the plants. ;)

The older I get the more I truly love gardening, I just have so much to learn. The potential in our backyard gets me excited -- I pour over magazines with gorgeous gardens, trying to figure out what to do with ours. Part of me wants it done right now so we can just enjoy it, the other part of me is excited to do it bit by bit and watch it grow slowly. The latter wins out, mostly because of the pocket book, but I also like to take it slow and enjoy the process.

I thought I’d share how it looks now and hopefully by the end of the summer we’ll see some progress! :)

Our backyard is NOT big – we are in a suburban neighborhood where most of the yards are huge, but we chose a lot that backs up against a field, creek and some woods and the trade off was a small yard. Now before the deck and patio were installed it wasn’t bad as far as size really – it just has such a deep pitch to it, it wasn’t much fun to use just as a yard.

All of the changes we’ve made have made it smaller but much more usable. Does that make sense? We love it -- I would not change this spot for the world!

A couple of years ago we added the patio in the backyard, so we have very little actual grass left back there, compared to how it used to look. But it always cracks me up that our backyard is where the kids on the street come to play so often and they love it – even without a lot of grass and tons of space to run.

Anyway, the tour! I’ve got lost of pics so bear with me! We’ll start around the side of the house and move around the back. Welcome to my backyard! :)

I think this is one of my favorite shots of the back – I just love this view:

backyard garden

You can see my vegetable garden tucked in on the side there (I think I may move it over a bit next year but for now it’s staying). Next to that is my limelight hydrangea that still. won’t. bloom. It is bigger than ever, but no sign of flowers still. Grrrr.

The line of burning bushes on the left wrap around two trees – maples I think? They were actually planted in the front of the house and were growing all umpa-loompaish. Tall but spindly and lots of leaves at the top, but not growing out. We replaced them and replanted them on the side of the house about seven years ago. I babied them for a year or two and now they are HUGE. They still aren’t wide but for being so young they are SO tall now. I love them.

I love the bushes wrapping around the trees and the simplicity of it, but I want to bring in some more color there too. I’m coming up with a plan to add something else, just not sure what all will be there yet.

On the right past the deck stairs is one of my peony plants – I’ve been on “bloom watch” for weeks. Every morning I go out to see if today is the day and…NO. Seriously, slowest dang flowers EVER:


They are so close now though, I think tomorrow may be the day! (I say that every day.)

This area gets morning sun and I’m guessing the peony loves it because this one in particular is doing great.

Remember my hydrangea drama last year? Well, the plants I moved did much better last year, just not fantastic. I trimmed the stalks down last week (just the dead wood) and they are busting out now! One even has blooms on it…I have hope people!:


They are loving all the rain lately – I’ve only had to water them once so far this year.

Just past the hydrangea is my awesome knock out Knockout Rose bush. ;) This one in particular is doing SO well:

knockout roses

Again, morning sun, a bit of afternoon sun and it loves it. I’ve had this one for years and moved it to this spot a couple years ago and it’s doing fantastic:

knockout roses

If you don’t have a green thumb I highly recommend these knock out roses – they are so easy to grow. I do very little and they thrive. I don’t even trim them – are you supposed to? This one hasn’t ever been touched and it’s blooming like mad.

Across from that bush are a couple arborvitaes we had planted for some privacy:


Again, we’re in a neighborhood, so we wanted some “natural” screens. I do have to say though, I LOVE all of the backyards down the street on our side. Nobody has even put up fences because it’s so private and beautiful back there. I love love LOVE our backyard.

Straight ahead is an area I’m totally stoked about – a little spot where we had all the brush cleared away last year:

It’s a mess right now, we still need to mulch it all again and get the hammock put back in (the base is there) – but someday it will be an amazing little shade garden. It could be so cool and I’ve been dreaming it up for years now. I’m kind of obsessed with hostas so I’ve already put two back there, and I plan to add a bunch more.

I don’t know if the hammock will stay or not – I can’t decide if I want that there, or chairs, or a big umbrella or what. Things get…ahem…dirty back there, so I need something easy to clean.

If you turn around you’ll see the back of the fireplace, and I have grand ideas in my head for this area too:

outdoor fireplace

For now there’s my pee gee hydrangea trees, which I love. I got the tiny little boxwoods for like a buck on clearance a couple years ago, and for boxwood standards they’re growing pretty fast. I do want something more substantial there though, so those may move. The tree rose in the middle did great for a couple of years and now it’s almost toast. I have realized I’m not good with a rose that requires much care. ;)

I’m also determined to get some natural coverage going on the back of the fireplace – I planted some ivy and a climbing hydrangea last year and both did nothing. Now they’re both taking off, finally!:

I wondered if the ivy would even grow, with all the morning sun, but it’s doing great now! It’s grown more in a month than it has all of last summer.

One thing I love SO much about the back is all of the huge rocks and pavers we had installed:

They put them in in a really organic way – not perfect, no equal spacing, and I love how they look. I also love the moss that grows on some of them. :)

The back of the patio is looking kind of sad. I got a few more hydrangea last year and they did pretty great at first, but they are slooooow going this year:


I think the one on the left is a goner. I’ve not had a ton of luck with them but I’ve never killed one, till now. :) We planted a version of a birch on the left last year hoping to give those guys some afternoon shade, but the “tree” is still very much a bush – waiting for that one to move upward.

We’re planting a few river birch back here soon and that back area is where I really want one for some shade on the patio.

Here’s another shot as you keep going around, I love the stones as a walkway:

path with stones in garden

I was a little concerned they would be slick when wet but they aren’t bad at all.

We also had big ones installed as steps off the patio:

stone patio

And when I say “we” I mean our brilliant landscaper friend who had the idea. ;) He did the patio and hardscaping for us a couple of years ago.

Here’s that same spot from the patio – I’m DYING to get some kind of arbor for over this space:

stone patio

Wouldn’t that be amazing?

To the side of that area are a couple more peonies:


These aren’t doing nearly as well as the other one. I’m guessing the hot afternoon sun is too much? I don’t know, I thought they loved sun! These only have a few small blooms so far so you know it will be August before they bloom. ;) For real – but everything is blooming late this year here.

Around that corner are three more knock outs:

knockout roses

I just planted them last year so they are small, but doing great.

I planted a few new annuals on the patio and deck already in preparation for the Home Depot shoot – these were just a hanging mixture from HD and they are taking off:

container flowers

And I can’t remember what these plants are by the fireplace, but they are awesome!:

outdoor fireplace

I thought they were annuals when I planted them last year but they are actually perennials – they lasted all winter. Any idea what these are?

I want to get more to plant in the landscaping:

This spot gets sun all day long so they are great for a sunny yard! I love all the colors in there – I’m going with a red, yellow and a little bit of purple theme on the patio (stealing it from the pillows) and they fit in perfectly. ;)

So there you go, a tour of our garden as it is now. I have grand plans for the space – I want it to be lush and English garden feeling, but not too busy. I think coming up with a plan for the outdoors takes as much finesse as decorating the inside, don’t you think? It takes time and some thought for sure!

What do you have growing that you love? I’m looking for lower ground cover and taller plants as well. I’d love some more color too!