Hi Friends! I hope your month is off to a good start. The weather here in New England has been so-so: not quite warm enough to put our winter coats away, but warm enough for us to believe that the snow is at least behind us. This past weekend I visited Walmart and realized that they had actually started putting plants outside in the garden center, so I figured that was my “Okay” to start getting my courtyard garden area in shape.
It’s been a while since I’ve had a garden of any sort. At our last house, my daughter and I started a vegetable garden in the spring before we decided to sell, so it was very short lived. And as much as I’d love to start one here at Hosta House, I know that we still have a lot of projects coming up that I’ll be way more focused on this summer–so hopefully next summer (fingers crossed).
This “courtyard” area of the yard has seen quite a major change from when we first moved here (you can see more then/now of our yard here). It’s the space between our house and our garage. Last summer, we had the trees cut down which helped let the sun in, and opened the space up quite a bit.
Before: After our siding renovation and trees were cut, taken on March 18th
Knowing I wanted to spruce up this courtyard, I took some time to sketch up a little design that would be affordable and also DIY-able. My plan included updating the walkway, planting some perennials in the flower beds, and adding a raised garden bed.
The first step in updating this space, was raking the garden bed, clearing the leaves and weeds and covering the garden bed with landscape fabric and brown mulch.
For the wonky old pathway—we used up some pea gravel that we purchased last summer and never got around to using. We put down some weed barrier right over the concrete “pavers,” and just spread the pea gravel along the path.
While there aren’t a ton of plants available in our zone, quite yet, I was able to snatch up some salvia to plant in the ground to give this courtyard area some color and life. Once the hostas begin sprouting, I’ll add some to the garden beds as well.
We then gathered some large rocks that were left in a pile in our yard to create a boarder. I love how casual and sorta coastal it is. I can’t get over the fact that this walkway update only cost me about $25 in mulch and the cost of the weed barrier and pins-Not bad!!! Not to mention that we were able to get a half ton of pea gravel last summer for only $25 at a local building supply.
To accentuate the pathway, I added these solar powered landscape LED pathway lights. They provide interest and charm to this little path, not to mention a great amount of light!
I love them so much, and I can’t believe how far solar lights have come, I remember using solar lights years ago, just for the look, but these shine nice and bright, and actually provide a great amount of lighting.
Raised Herb Garden
I love using fresh herbs for cooking and garnishes, and since herb gardens require a bit less effort, I figured a raised herb garden would be perfectly inline with my next Better Homes & Gardens Challenge, where they’ve asked us to share what products are helping our gardens blossom this season.
While scrolling through the great selection of outdoor and gardening items from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart. I couldn’t resist this Raised Cedar Garden Bed. At approximately 2 feet by 4 feet, there’s plenty of room for for my favorite herbs.
Since purchasing this garden bed, I’ve been doing my research and have come to learn that each herb/veggie needs *about 1 square foot per plant (according to gardenininutes.com). And because I’m really the only veggie/herb lover in our house, a ton of space isn’t really necessary, which makes this perfect for a small corner of the yard (or patio, balcony or deck.)
I decided to place it right outside of the courtyard door, for relatively easy access from the kitchen.
I thought really hard about the herbs and plants that I would get the most use of and got to work creating my layout. I decided on basil, cilantro, green onions, and oregano for now, I also threw in some sugar snap peas from seed, which I’ll probably have to transplant once they start sprouting.
Why I love it:
- It was really easy to put together, the box is already built, I just had to attach the legs with screws and then put the shelf together.
- It comes with a heavy duty liner, that fits inside the box like a glove. I secured it to the sides using my staple gun.
- It’s attractive looking. It has a nice, clean lines to fit in with any style.
I bought a few bags of Better Homes & Gardens® Organic Raised Bed Planting Mix, and filled my garden bed. (Quick tip: If you order online, you can choose to do curbside pickup, which is so much more convenient than lugging soil yourself ).
This raised garden bed has a handy little shelf below which is great for storing garden supplies. On mine, I’m storing this Better Homes & Gardens metal hose pot which is perfect for corralling the hose while also looking neat and attractive, and an new metal watering can which also comes in white and galvanized metal online.
Last Spring, I got a new Potting bench, so the majority of my gardening tools are stored there.
There are still a few things I’d like to do here, like add some more plants to the flower beds, gather up some more rocks to continue the flower bed edging, and decide whether or not I want to add some pavers. I also think I’m going to paint the door. I just cant wait to start seeing my new plantings start spilling over my raised garden bed.
Before I go, let’s do a quick before, before, and after:
Have you started any outdoor yard work yet?