Living with a less than Pinterest worthy yard

Shed before / Living with a less than Pinterest worthy yard on

You may be a little shocked with today’s post. You won’t see things just so, complete with glorious shots.

 Uneyecandy for sure. Today I am living with a less than Pinterest worthy yard.

Shed before / Living with a less than Pinterest worthy yard on

When you look at EVERYTHING that has to be done as a whole, it’s impossible to tackle. You have no idea how many times I’ve sat out here, let out a big sigh, and just walked right back into the house again. 🙂

Pretty yard work is hard work. Luckily for most gardeners, they truly enjoy the task. And for those folks, it shows.

I hestitate to say ‘I’ve failed’ my yard, but I haven’t kept up the way I normally might. So over the weekend, while sitting out there with barren flower beds and weeds happily growing in my veggie garden, it was time. 

Let’s face it. Pick a topic of the day, and that one thing could become a full time job. And yard work falls into that category in a heartbeat.

Flowerbed with an old bike / Living with a less than Pinterest worthy yard on

Flowerbed with an old bike / Living with a less than Pinterest worthy yard on

Then my mind flipped into overdrive on what the spaces could become. And then I got that feeling… that feeling that makes me want to slam on the breaks because I’m instantly overwhelmed. 

Wheelbarrow planter before / Living with a less than Pinterest worthy yard on

Deep breath… 

So this is when I have a chat with myself every year.

Flower garden before / Living with a less than Pinterest worthy yard on
“No. You don’t have a Pinterest worthy yard. But you do have a yard. And it can be beautiful. Just put on the blinders to the entire thing as a whole, and take it one small section at a time.”

Vegetable garden before / Living with a less than Pinterest worthy yard on

And then I force myself to pick up a garden tool, and tackle the weeds. It’s brainless work, so that makes it easy, you don’t have to ‘feel inspired’ to pull a weed.

But once you see a little productivity, you start getting fueled for more. And then you’re suddenly digging and turning the soil and adding compost and… you’re taking off!

You don’t decorate or clean your entire home all at once, you clean it room by room. So I like to think of my garden in terms of rooms. Every little nook and cranny can be special. I just put blinders on to the entire thing as a whole and break it up.

Vegetable garden before / Living with a less than Pinterest worthy yard on
And that’s exactly how I’m going to create my maybe one day Pinterest worthy yard once again. 

This post was nothing more than to empathize with those of you that click on beautiful, amazing, forest spun flower filled rolling hills Pinterest worthy yards, leaving only to feel ‘heavy’. Just remember… those yards are done. That’s why those pictures are there. There aren’t many people that would take a photo shoot of their ‘before’ and pin it! 

So allow me to be the first. 🙂 Because we need to feel ok with our yards as is, and be encouraged.

If your yard looks like mine, I’m high fivin’ ya. Let’s work on our yards together, and see if we can’t eventually get something Pinterest worthy this summer, deal?

On a scale from 1 (lowest) to 10, how would you currently rate your yard?

Past gardening posts are HERE (scroll down)

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Categories: Gardening, Junk Drawer, Outdoors, Seasonal, Summer
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50 thoughts on “Living with a less than Pinterest worthy yard

  1. What a great post. My yard is in a continual state of change, seldom does the entire yard look “Pinworthy” but I feel great when I am working in my yard. I just bought a vintage wheel barrel and I can’t wait to fill it with flowers.

  2. I too once had a beautiful yard but life and drought have gotten in the way and it is no longer the way it once was. 🙁 Thanks for the motivation….maybe one of these days.

  3. love your philosophy! I love to garden, and landscape, but I have accepted that I will never have a pinterest-worthy yard. Mostly because I have a spouse with hobbies that are simply not pretty. It used to bother me, but then I realized “hey wait, it’s his yard too. Why should I be the only one who has a say?”. So now, at least, inside our un-pinterest-worthy yard, we are peaceful and busy with doing our own thing in our happy home. And when my grandma comments on his collection of rusting scrap metal, I remind her that he lives here too.

  4. Your yard looks nice to me, and you have mountain view! You are blessed! A yard doesn’t have to look like a picture from Home and Gardens, in my opinion. Yours has a more natural look, and that’s what I love.

  5. You guys that live where it snows have it harder. Over here in the tropics – I’m in Brazil – we are supposed to have pretty landscaping year round.

    I don’t have a yard, but I do have a balcony and would love to have some pots with plants. Trouble is we are in the middle of a bad drought – the reservoirs for water are under 10% for the city. On top of that the climate is very weird: a few days back I saw the first hail storm here in the decade I’ve been in these parts.

    My point is – life gets in the way. My potted plants will wait until the drought ends, your yard will wait for you to have time and motivation.

    Life is not supposed to be pintrest worthy. Martha Stewart’s was and look where she landed. 🙂

    • I never even thought about maintaining a yard year around… oh my. I sure enjoy my fall rest! I feel for you! haha But at least you have amazing weather for the most part. There’s always that. 🙂

      • I love the weather here. It is always nice. 🙂

        I lived with snow for the first time this year, only for a couple of months. It was plenty for me. I cannot drive and having to wait for transit when the temps are bellow freezing is painful.

        I have been reading your blog for a while, love the knack you have for re-using in the best way.

  6. The internet is so great until it becomes another vehicle for “keeping up with the Jonses”. I love your yard especially your cabin. And the little vignettes you have. Plus a yard is a living thing so always changing. I’m currently enjoying bouquets from mine!

  7. All things great take time. I like the idea of taking it one thing at a time, less overwhelming and you feel like your accomplishing something along the way. Great possibilities here! Carole at GardenUp green

  8. You are just so cool Donna. I love your take on life! I too have sat in my yard and felt totally overwhelmed. I know the potential it has but so often it seems way too much for me and then I think…baby steps, yep that’s the way I need to go. Thanks for sharing. I know it will look awesome soon ( and just seeing all the new green growth is inspiring alone!).

  9. My yard is in a sad state right now. I think I see it (and my house) as it should be and not “as is”. However, I am going to work on it tonight and over the holiday weekend. It’s so hard for me to concentrate on one area. I think I may be ADHD, which means nothing usually gets done, because I get distracted so easily. Hopefully, I will get to enjoy a better space over the summer.

    • I totally get that! I don’t dare turn around after working in one area, because right behind me needed me even more. 🙂 I often park my chair right in front of where I’ve worked so I can really appreciate the effort made and newfound beauty. The rest can wait until tomorrow.

      You can do it Sally!

  10. you put into words my very thoughts and feelings…i tend to over buy seeds and plants then wonder how i am going to find the energy and time to actually plant them in the beds (or prepare the beds to begin with!) As this spring has progressed I have learned to take one project at a time and my yard is certainly coming along…by July I should be all caught up!!!!! Every finished area is celebrated and makes me glad i took the time to do it right (compost, mulch, etc..) and that helps me move onto the next with inspiration and vigor… on! love your blog btw

  11. High five!!!! lol,
    thank you, Donna! since I love old things! your yard looked interesting! full of goodies!
    also living here in BC we get that LUSH green all over! who cares if it is not all “manicured”?
    I totally related to this post, I do the same a you! walk away several times, then one day start in it, one “room” at a time!

  12. I am easily overwhelmed, and not just by gardening (which I loathe), so this is the way I approach most things. Just one. step. at. a. time. 🙂

    • Am loving your yard and spaces…I thought it was supposed to look this way.I have a friend who has a huge yard..and is just about ocd. ha When I hear of the angst she puts herself and teens through..I am so glad I have a teeny tiny space compared to her, and so thankful I am not too enmeshed with my yard. I cannot physically take care of it , and hubs hates yard work. so I do hostas and 2x a season hire someone to take out weeds etc .I do wish I had some neat “junk” in it tho.Plants in my wheelbarrow do not do well, any suggestions for “junk” in it instead?
      I STILL love your little shed …what a sweet area.

      • Hi Bernice, My suggestion is, just go to a few yard sales or other kinds of inexpensive sales in your area and just keep your eye out for anything old and funky that appeals to you – then stick it in your yard! 🙂

  13. I’m so very glad that I’m not the only one that gets overwhelmed like that. I do the same thing with my yard AND my home! I look at it and see SO much to do, get overwhelmed, and then just walk away. Don’t know where to start so I don’t start at all! Folks like us need to just calm down and eventually take a deep breath and take it a step at a time. However, it’s so easy to say this out loud , but then not so easy to follow through. Thank you for allowing me to feel ok about this. It will get done when I can. And if it don’t? So what. The world will not end because of it!

    • Besides, if you want to get a tan, your eyes should be closed anyway, right? Haha

      Yes, it’s perfectly normal to feel defeated before you even start. The most beautiful yards are by those with many hands working on it all the time. If our hands aren’t there, it just can’t be.

      It’s all about choice.

  14. Jack and I have been working on the remodel of my garden space for several years and you’re right. If I look at the whole picture it’s a like a mountain of endless failure. But if I focus on one area then move on to the next it’s workable. Thank you for the refreshing reminder and reality check, Donna!!

    • It really does take several years. And then there’s moving stuff around only to start over again because the first 5 drafts didn’t work out. 😀

      Gardening is an ever growing, ever moving evolution for sure. It really is fun if you give it the time it needs.

  15. Actually, your yard doesn’t look so bad to me. My yard is a -10 right now! I have a problem with ONLY seeing weeds. No matter how much work I do in the yard, it will never get much past a 5, in my eyes.
    One year my daughter made a beautiful flower picture book for me. It was all photos from our yard. I looked at it and said “that is my yard?”
    Now, I am trying harder to see the good and that applies to everything in my life!(this is still a work in progress)
    We not only should take time to smell the flowers, we should also take time to see them.


  16. I don’t think your yard looks bad at all. I think your flower bed with the bicycle is pretty. Maybe YOU can see the weeds, but I think it looks lovely. I also adore your rustic shed. My current yard is probably a 7 out of 10. I’ve been working on it for 5 years now to get it where it is today. In my previous house I worked on my backyard for 10 years – just got it where it was “Pinterest worthy” and then I met my husband, got married and had to sell my house! Funny how it works out that way!

  17. Love the pictures and you are off to a great start! I have a few of those tin buckets/pails, and I never thought to just stick them outside. Being outside is therapeutic, you just have to force yourself out there, even if your head and heart are saying no. Being outside is great therapy, even if your just walking around, looking at trees, birds, and flowers. After a house fire, and personal losses, I too struggled big time last year with no motivation at all to be outside. My heart was broken and I was depressed and had no energy at all. But over the winter, I started focusing on trees, birds, and flowers, and this spring I feel better. My heart is still broken, but I find if I get outside, listen to the birds, admire the trees and admire the beginning of life again, it helps me to push forward and start gardening again, and feel better overall. My heart will always be broke, I believe, but I’m finding new ways to move forward and the yard and nature are great therapists.

  18. Maybe a 3 if I’m optimistic.
    But I LOVE your shed. You have to give yourself a huge high five for that!
    I just thought of something…maybe I’ll go out and take pictures “before” so I can see the improvement. Looking forward to seeing what you do!

  19. Love it. I’ve always thought about my yard as a work in progress, sort of like what nature is. It is not always perfect and it is always changing from one day to another, and etc. There’s times I’ll plant something, not like it there, and move it. Sometimes several plants. But, it’s a work in progress. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Donna Sweetheart. I feel this way every spring! I look around at other yards and think about how much I need to do. It’s early in the season and now that we can be outside, we’ll tackle it. The weeding, trimming, planting, painting will all happen. It’s outside. It’s exercise and it’s all good. I had foot surgery a month ago and I have had to crawl around my garden and kneel until my knees screamed, but a little at a time. I love the Pinterest pics, but they are taken in prime season. Do not despair. Try and remember all the lovely things you do.

  21. Sadly, I think my yard currently ranks around a 2. I haven’t had the time to clean it out, get the garden tilled, or cut the grass. It doesn’t look abandoned right now, but that could happen at any time. I did plant some pots yesterday, so I think that is progress. After a very stressful start to spring, I am being easy on myself and trying to do it as I can manage.

  22. I know how you feel about being overwhelmed! I have been trying to restore my mother in laws gardens to their former glory. She is 91 and has several beautiful gardens that she has spent her entire life creating but due to poor health they have gotten ahead of her the last few years. The problem is grass growing in them, I have been trying to dig out the grass but it grows faster than I can dig. Does anyone have any suggestions how to get rid if the grass. She has a lot of unusual plants, some that she started as a child so I don’t want to harm them.

  23. I so agree………any yard is worth a ton more than just a picture! Or my thought anyway. I have a yard that I might not brag about, but I am thankful to God above that I have it.

    I don’t think I have pictures that would show all the hard work I have done, but I, yes me, I know I have done it and it is a big deal. NO, not fancy, but much cleaner, clearer or at least once a week when I struggle to start my 11 year old mower and clean it up once again…. then I feel better….. and happy and this mowing thing comes around WAY too often for me. But I would not trade it for any other neighborhood I know. I love my tiny, little, scratchy acre!!!

  24. I would rate mine a “1”. We had mower problems and have only mowed once. Weeds are growing everywhere. Maybe this weekend we will be able to get it straightened up.

    God Bless

  25. Your yard looks wonderful – and with that view, you can’t go wrong:) My yard is far from Pinterest worthy, but it has come a long way from the gravel parking lot it was years ago. Also, I do my yard for ME, not anyone else. It’s my sanctuary.

  26. I have gardened most of my life. It is a bag of mixed blessings. Very hard work here in Texas. Draught conditions, bugs and the ever present heat make digging in the dirt a real chore sometimes. However, I cannot stop. If it has a bloom, I love it. Weeds, too:-)
    At one time I even became a master gardener, but found out I have too much of a renegade spirit to conform to list of proper gardening rules. I believe whatever brings you joy in your yard protocol, then your yard is perfect for you. I love junk, therefore my yard has many reloved treasures and I plant what some would call haphazardly. I am not a fan of ” soldier” planting— everything in nice little rows. So, Whatever you do it will be perfect for you…Pinterest is fickle:-)

  27. I mow my own yard and do the flowers myself also. But, I have a company do the fertilizing of my yard. I tried and failed miserably. It’s well worth the $46.00 every other month. I had an area that I made a walkway… hauled bag by bag of river rock from Home Depot, hauled bricks from my neighbor’s yard. That was 3 years ago. I’m embarrassed to say it’s so overgrown now with weeds now. 🙁 The last 2 years it has gotten really hot (in the 100’s ~ KS) really early, and I didn’t keep up with it. My sister and I got a good start on it a month ago. We need the rain, but I hope it doesn’t rain the entire weekend, so that I can get out there. I’m doing one-area at a time. 🙂

  28. Donna – thanks for this reminder. I often have to tell myself that Pinterest is just staged pictures, not real life! My back yard with the garden would get an 9, only because we have worked so hard at it. I can view the garden and flowers from my kitchen windows and it makes me smile. My front yard would get a 5 — because life happened!

    Have a great weekend and enjoy that almost Pinerest worthy yard!

  29. Hey Donna!

    I would give my yard a strong “5”, but that’s up from the past. My yard is in “progress” and will never be perfect. My yard is not my “calling”, but is very pleasurable to me. Being Pinterest worthy would mean that my main concern is what others think. That’s just not the reason I enjoy my yard. There’s something quite thrilling about seeing what’s springing up each year. Changing up my vignettes is just part of the fun. My family and friends enjoy the time we have together in the yard…even if it’s not Pinterest worthy.


  30. You are writing exactly about my feelings! My garden is, unfortunately, somewhere at the end of my to-do list because there is still a lot to finish on the house… Well, I was always more the one who enjoyed working on all the small details so the whole look was usually not perfect… If I look at my yard now, I see only a quite big mess and some endless work, but If I would think about it in terms of rooms as you do, maybe it would be better… I would really love to have a quiet place to sit and just enjoy my breakfast or afternoon coffee, but my biggest dream is to have a swimming pool (yes, really!). It doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be luxurious, I just really want to have one and you are right, all those perfect Pinterest pictures make me feel bad about how it looks like in my garden. For example, I just clicked on these pictures and they overwhelmed me. Yes, I know that it’s unrealistically perfect, but if I would have even a small part of something like this, I would be totally happy… 🙂

  31. Thanks so much for sharing the pictures of your imperfect yard ( which looks pretty good to me) 🙂 and your thoughts. I have been experiencing that same over whelming feeling when I look at my yard with its weed gardens in some places and bare spots in others. I’m surrounded by neighbors whose yards are Pinterest worthy :-). I love the idea of looking at the various places of need in my yard as rooms :-). This is helping me take a deep breath and focus on one “room” at a time :-). And, a special thanks for keeping it real 🙂

  32. Dear Donna, Your yard looks pretty good to me! 🙂 But I know what it’s like to look at it and feel overwhelmed with what needs to be done <3

  33. Great post! Thank you for sharing and being so honest. Your trees are so beautiful! I love the variety of foliage and color. My husband and I just moved out to the family farm last fall. I started creating outdoor rooms last summer and am excited to continue this journey. Our house has a lot of windows and I want to create a nice landscape for us to view year round. Being winter time right now, the corrals are looking a tad sad. I would say our yard is a 4.
    P.s. I have the same bed frames as you. I was going to use them as gates, but that may change now.

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