Use What You Have, Get What You Can…A Free Garden Make-over, Before & After (+ 2-Month Update)

2-Month UPDATE! (see original post below)

The Garden Make-over in the front of the house is now two months old, and it’s filling in nicely. About a month after I posted this, a friend gave me some hardy strawberry plants and a few Datura from her overgrown garden, which I added into the front planting. The day-lilies haven’t grown much, but they are alive and well and I am confident they will come in great and bloom next year. The chicks-n-hens, fool-proof little darlings of the garden that they are, are getting bigger and sending out lots of babies already. Most of the plants that I divided and re-planted are doing well (I did lose one or two vinca transplants). I admit to spending $8 on some pansies to add a little color, and I may get a few more (on sale at Home Depot for $1.99 a 4-pack!) but to date that is all I have spent on the ground planting. The biggest delight has been the  Nicotiana sylvestris that I got for the pots by the front gate. They’ve gotten HUGE! 3-4 feet tall and flowering like crazy. I did pay $7.50 each for these 2 plants (4″ pots when I bought them) at Country Gardens, but they have been worth every penny. Only $7.50 to fill a big pot? Awesome. They grew FAST and filled in the pot in less than a month, then they just got crazy tall. I am collecting seeds to start more for next year. (you can see the Nicotiana in the before and after picks below.) And, I added a nice little birdhouse I snagged for $2 at a yard sale to the top of the tree stump to the left.

front4aug2013

Front Yard Project – Today, 2 Months Later

frontyardfinal

Front Yard Project – When First Completed 2 Months Ago

Here are a few more images of the front:

front3aug2013  front2aug2013  frontaug2013

I do hope to add some more color soon, maybe more pansies, and some ornamental kale or cabbage for the Fall would be nice…

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Here is the Original Post:

frontyardfinal

Front Yard Project – After

I’ve been itching to fix up the front part of our yard (as you can see in the picture below, it was a MESS!), but was waiting to have some extra funds, which just isn’t happening, so I got creative!

frontyardbefore

Front Yard – Before (yikes!)

I started with the pruning. The tree on the left was overgrown, and the poor forsythia bush on the right was half-dead and in desperate need of a heavy chopping. Then I pulled out all the weeds, thinned the overgrown plants, and divided the existing vinca to spread them out. Next came the digging…

frontyardprogress

Thinned out, weeded, and ready to dig…

As you can see here, the terracing had been started (on the left) but never finished. So I took my trusty shovel and and finished the digging, then I relocated some big rocks from other parts of the yard to finish off the terracing. I had a big stack of terra cotta saucers (another free alley find) in the garden shed that I’d been looking for a use for, and decided to add them as a decorative element on the bottom row. Next came the planting…

frontyardprogress2

Almost there, time to plant!

I had been scouring Freecycle and Craigslist for free plants (both great sources of usable freebies!) and was lucky enough to find a super nice lady giving away a bunch of day lily divisions and a couple rudbeckia as well (those went to another part of the yard). The day lilies are perfect for this part of the yard, as they do well with any soil and are drought-tolerant for our arid Colorado climate. So I took all the day lilies and the divisions of vinca I dug up earlier, as well as some extra chicks and hens from the back part of the front yard (they’ve been growing like crazy this year!) and replanted them. It’s looking good! It will look great once the plants grow and fill in. So using entirely what I had, and some gifted plants through Freecycle, I have a new yard, free! The whole project took about 5 hours. I do hope to come across some flowering plants to add in this area, or perhaps a really good sale on some pretty annuals. I will update this post as I find new goodies and add to the yard.

frontyardfinal

Front Yard Project – Completed

Do check out Freecycle, the Free listings on Craigslist, and even posts on Facebook and Twitter as sources for free garden plants. People do a lot of dividing in the garden this time of year, and most want to find good home for their plants. Happy hunting!

Did you do a gardening project over the weekend? I’d love to see it! Tell me about it in the comments section.

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