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.


Front Yard Project – Today, 2 Months Later


Front Yard Project – When First Completed 2 Months Ago

Here are a few more images of the front:

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


Here is the Original Post:


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!


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…


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…


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.


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.

Cute Hanging Succulent Plant Ball for the Outdoor Garden, Patio, Balcony, Wherever you like…


My Homemade Hanging Succulent Ball

I’ve been wanting to make something like this for a long time, ever since seeing this amazing one from Martha Stewart:

source: via Marie on Pinterest

But of course, it had to be cheap and easy. I found the little round birdcage at a yard sale for 75 cents. A small piece of it’s bamboo was missing, but it was very strong and sturdy. I knew just what to do with it…


I gathered my materials: Spagnum moss, potting soil, floral wire, needle-nose pliers and wire cutters, gloves,  a small but sturdy stick, and of course, succulents. I mixture of succulents would be great, but I have a rock garden area in my front yard where the Chicks N’ Hens needed to be thinned out, so I got all the plants for the ball from my garden. No cost! First I soaked and wrung out the moss. Then, using the little bird door that I could just get my hand through, I put a layer of the damp moss around the inside of the cage, pushing it partly through the wire where I could to keep it in place and reinforced it with twists of floral wire where I couldn’t get it through the side of the cage. Then, I filled it with potting soil and packed it in as best I could.


Front yard rock garden area, source of Chicks n Hens.


Bird Cage, Mossed.

Time to start planting. I started with the inside, and planted a few there. Then the challenging part began. I poked a hole with the stick and pushed the plant root in. Because of the way the wires are on the cage, I had to reinforced many of the plants with a loose twist of the floral wire. I was time-consuming, (and I poked my hands more than once) but it looks good and I dig it. I hung it up and watered it well when I was finished stuffing in the plants.


Inside planted, now for the outside…


Planting the outside.


Almost Done…

And here it is! My funky little hanging succulent planter. Because I had all the supplies I needed on-hand, it only cost me the 75 cents for the cage (and a couple hours).

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I hope I’ve inspired you to think outside the box and use something interesting in your garden! I’d love to see your garden projects, tell me about them in the comments section. Happy gardening!


It’s been a couple weeks since I hung the succulent ball. The plants have “found their footing” and are spreading out nicely. I thought you might like to see how it looks now:


Succulent Ball, 2 weeks after planting.