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Transforming My TownHome Backyard Into A Native Garden – The “Before”

Enjoying this unseasonably warm weather, I headed to my backyard garden this morning to do “one quick thing” before leaving for my commitments. That “one quick thing” evolved into a few hours of trimming, planting, and trash-collecting before I remembered I was supposed to be somewhere else.

(Luckily when I went outside & forgot about everything else, I had not left anything on the stove. I’ve done that before … Smoke detectors are THE BEST INVENTION EVER!)

My entire backyard is a garden, none of it is lawn. But everything that I’ve planted was chosen because it was “pretty” and its growing conditions matched my yard. Through my Naturalist work though, I’ve learned about the importance of native plants. So I’ve planned to convert my backyard into a native garden, or wildlife habitat.

“Wildlife” being birds, butterflies, insects, frogs — that sort of thing. Not wildlife like coyotes. (Tho do I have a choice as to what wildlife comes into my garden??)

So some days you just gotta go with the flow. And that makes Sunday as Day #1 of BackYard Transformation. To track my progress, I took some pics of my garden as it is today. I’m not sure why I waited til dusk to take photos … so they are poorer quality. I’ll replace if I get home any day this week when it’s still light

From my back door, looking down the right side of the yard:

Front part of garden: hellebores, perennial geraniums, and a few other “pretty” plants. Likely, none of them are native:


Decoration: bird bath and lantern:

Two rose bushes. I had planted five rosebushes the autumn before the blizzards. From the sheer volume of snow, and the the soggy soil for months after, I lost about 80% of my plants. But these two rosebushes thrived incredibly well:

I hope to get my garden certified under the  “Bay-Wise Landscape Management” program. One criteria is having a woodpile for animals and birds to hide and rest. I saved the trimmings accumulated today to make my brush pile, next to a group of things to take to the landfill for disposal:

Trimmed back butterfly bushes along the back fence:

Looking down the left side of the garden; I spent most of my time on Sunday clearing out this area:

This was a seating area / terrace. It will become a water garden – which also would fulfill the “Bay-Wise” criteria. I’ll move my gazing ball here:

Extended view of entire area to become a water garden. I hope to have a frog or two:

I used to have a fountain here. And I have a random, unplanted mulberry bush that invited itself into my yard. I think this area will be used for another shrub or a small tree. I’m considering an American Holly. I’ve placed a few ornaments in the area to get a spatial idea if a large shrub/small tree will work here:

A weigela and the back end of my garden, an area I’ve used for storage:

My backyard garden gate and trellis. The gate needs work, after multiple attempts at breaking-in, or just vandalism:

I also have a small circle garden that I’ve used for herbs, but no pic.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Looking forward to following and learning from your journey.

    March 19, 2012
  2. I’m excited to see your backyard’s transformation. No doubt, you’ll have critters galore, it’ll be like a vacation resort to them! 🙂

    March 19, 2012
  3. Thank you! Blogging about it will help me meet my commitment to myself.

    March 20, 2012

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