When we bought this house, we didn’t think much about the outdoor space. We talked about how nice it would be to have all the old trees around, plus room for the kids to explore and dogs to roam. We did not realize how much work and maintenance this kind of outdoor space would take, especially once we started to cut through all the weeds and overgrowth that sprawled in each garden bed. I’ve been overwhelmed since the summer of 2020, first thinking it would be a project I could tackle on my own, then slipping into debilitating overwhelm not knowing where to begin.

We have since made some decisions on how to move forward with our garden and yard, step by step. We know that we now have a better grasp on how we like to live and how much we want to spend on this project—both in terms of a dollar amount and the scope of upkeep.

Below you’ll find our spring and summer gardening plans, plus a peek at what’s coming next year…

The first step in planning our garden and yard? I asked for help.

After trying to tackle our garden and yard myself the past two years, I gave in to the fact that I’m not fully sure what I’m doing when it comes to gardening quite yet. I’ve decided to plan our garden and yard for the person I am now, not the person I hope to be. 

The first step in updating our garden and yard was hiring a landscape design company (Landscape Love, for Twin Cities locals) to work with us on future plans for the area. A friend of mine hired Landscape Love for her yard and raved about their design capabilities. We first met with them last month and they’ll bring us plans to review in June. We’ll then have a few weeks to edit the plans and they’ll implement the updates in 2023. The process of planning exactly how the end result will look is a fee outside of the actual installation, which is something I really appreciate. From my perspective, this process will help give us a roadmap for the updates and a better understanding of how we can break down the cost and timeline in a way that works for us.

In terms of high-level updates for next year, we’ll likely be replacing the patios and many of the patio walls (a lot of the brick in these areas is crumbling), both in the front and back of the house. The designers plan to create a design that keeps the lush garden area in the backyard. If you’re curious to see more, I’ve been saving inspiration to share with our landscape designer on this board on Pinterest.

A lush, green backyard garden in peak growing season with a dog standing in the middle.
A look at our backyard garden in peak growing season (photo from summer 2020)

My Gardening Plans for This Year

This year, the plan is to get focused on updates we can realistically make on our own, given our bandwidth. Here’s the gist of our gardening plans for 2022:

1. Lately, we’ve been cleaning up debris in the yard that didn’t get tackled before the snow fell. 

2. We’ll hire someone to remove plants that have been dead for a while. We’re trying to keep as much existing healthy growth as possible. We will tackle this sometime between April and June.

3. We’ll hire someone to aerate the lawn and put new grass seeds down. We’re hoping this will be done within the next month or so.

4. I purchased bulbs from Breck’s (tulips and foxgloves) that I’ll plant throughout the garden in the backyard in April. It isn’t optimal timing, but it’s still cold enough here to plant them, so I’m going to give it a try.

5. In terms of additional gardening design elements, this year the focus will be on container gardens. We plan to add planters in the front, flanking the front door, as well as in the patio area in the back. I’m excited to use the container gardens to bring more color to our outdoor spaces, since right now the plants are essentially all green. I’m working on a design plan and am pulling inspiration at the moment for these containers. I also bought a course on container gardening on Create Academy to help me intentionally plan for our container gardens. The teacher of the course, Arthur Parkinson, is amazing!

What are your spring gardening plans? Do you have any tips to share? I’d love to hear in the comments.

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