Transforming our Yard into a Garden

Transforming our Yard into a Garden

Since we moved into this house 20 years ago, we have had gardens. In fact, the gardens around the yard were something that we marveled at from the beginning.

We chose this house and moved in in the winter time – February and March. We could see lawns, borders, trees and bushes. But that was about it. The real makeup of our yard only revealed itself in the coming of the spring – around about April here in Eastern Pennsylvania.

What we found was a wealth of annual plant life and some wonderfully designed gardens on the back and side yards. There was a White Hydrangea, two beautiful Peony bushes, gardens bordered with Hosta and a couple Azaleas.

Other than a few rose bushes along the side, and a Lilac bush in the center of the back lawn, we have left the planters pretty much alone. We have planted flowers and groomed the bushes.

The other unfortunate aspect of the property is the large trees. We live on a tree lined street with a beautiful canopy of Lindon trees. The affect in the summer is that our street feels like a tunnel. It keeps the street 10-15 degrees cooler, which is also a plus. However, Lindon’s are messy. They drop stuff throughout the year. And the shade, while beautiful, blocks out the sun in front to the point where not even grass will grow effectively. And other than bushes, the only flowers we can plant are impatiens.

The back yard has another feature that limits what we are able to do. Right behind the house is a huge Mulberry Tree. During the month of June, the yard is a mess with rotting mulberries and bird and squirrel droppings.

From the first year, I began planting a small patch in the back lawn – the SouthEast Corner. We have planted what most backyard gardens have – tomatos, beans, cucumbers, zucchinis, peppers and the like. Sometimes we will add something different, but usually it has been just run of the mill.

Where are we going in 2018

As the point of this blog, I am expanding the gardens to grow food and herbs in the available space on our property. It came as an inspiration last year when I really wanted to be planting a bunch of herbs but did not have the time to do it since it was late in summer.

So, this winter, I began to plan out how to gain more space. In the hand drawn diagram above, you can see where I plan to plant. Much of this will require a lot of work, including turning soil, removing bushes and repurposing existing garden spaces. This blog will show it all – and offer as much advice as I can learn along the way.

In future posts, I will explain some of my thoughts and scratched from my sketch.


  1. Hi Andrew,

    Wow; hearing of Mulberry trees is a blast from the past. I remember the berries staining everything for a few month stretch, from the ground to trees to clothes to my fingers. The mulberries were delicious though; so sweet and juicy, just picked ’em and enjoyed in the backyard.


  2. Andrew, curious about the path the sun travels as I look at your map-

    1. Author

      The front of our house faces basically north. Looking off of the back porch of the house, the sun travels left to right. The back 2 beds receive sun most of the day.

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