A no-flowerbed update with a simpler summer shed – Part 5

A simpler rustic garden shed for summer. A flowerbed full of green plants, and two sawhorses to hold up garden tools and clay pots.

As you may already know, I’m currently planted on the beautiful island of Maui which I shared in THIS post. You can catch my spontaneous ramblings and filming on Insta Stories HERE

While I’m enjoying a little downtime until I build some stories of the tropical variety, here’s a little update on my yard, based on a reader’s request!

Not long ago, someone asked me how the ‘no flowerbed’ backyard was going, and what did it look like now with the grass grown back in?

At the time, I had just had the lawn thatched, so it wouldn’t have made a very nice shoot!

Now that the grass has had a little chance to come back, here’s an update. And how I REALLY feel about the yard with no flowerbeds in sight now that I’ve had a run at actually living it.

You can read the other posts to catch up to this story HERE

Established weeping willow tree and sumac as part of this natural mountain view backyard landscape with an old rusty bike and a rustic shed as the focal point.

To mini recap, last summer I had all my flowerbeds removed out of the backyard because I just couldn’t keep up with everything.

And I didn’t desire to hire out more help than I already was. This summer alone, I’ve got the lawn thatched, and soil / flower bed edges recut and some pruning done. Then in the fall, all the hedges and some trees will also be trimmed yet again.

Not to mention all the work that the outside of the house needs… egads. However we’ll chat about that in another post. It’s a BIG topic I’d love your opinion on.

Anyway, the above shot is the shed corner of the yard as it looks today.

That’s a grapevine growing along the fence that continues over the shed.

 

 

Established weeping willow tree and sumac as part of this natural mountain view backyard landscape with an old rusty bike and a rustic shed as the focal point.

And here is the left side of the yard.

Trees, lawn and a honeysuckle vine… that flowers! Whadda bonus.

Established weeping willow tree and sumac as part of this natural mountain view backyard landscape with an old rusty bike and a rustic shed as the focal point.

In spring, there were lots of groupings of snowdrops popping through where the old flowerbeds use to be. I had forgotten there were buried bulbs and honestly, it was pretty, like walking through forest grounds.

Reclaimed wood garden fence beside a purple blooming hydrangea bush

In the hydrangea corner of the yard, the lawn came in really well along the fence.

HERE is what the before looked like. It’s come a LONG way.

Reclaimed wood garden fence with a vintage red metal garden wagon

I still have not yet hung a thing on the reclaimed wood fence I built in THIS post.

However, the right thing will eventually hit me.

How I prune hydrangeas to get the most blooms

You may also remember the post about how I prune my hydrangeas to get the most blooms HERE.

I don’t generally prune out all the old dead wood, so this session was a big one.

A reclaimed wood fence with a blooming purple hydrangea bush in a backyard

And luckily, the hydrangea somewhat forgave me and is already putting on one pretty show, even though it’s still considered early on the west coast.

I’m just so grateful for that hydrangea bush. It truly saves the day flower-wise in the backyard.

A reclaimed wood fence with a blooming purple hydrangea bush in a backyard

Aren’t they pretty?! We haven’t had a ton of super hot weather yet. Later in the summer the edges of the petals tend to burn.

However right now, everything is fresh and vibrant and so brand new looking! And still working on blooming.

A reclaimed wood fence with a blooming purple hydrangea bush in a backyard

I’m looking forward to seeing it in its full glory soon!

A simpler rustic garden shed for summer. A flowerbed full of green plants, and two sawhorses to hold up garden tools and clay pots.

So… every summer I tend to do something new with the shed.

This year I even downscaled that!

A simpler rustic garden shed for summer. A flowerbed full of green plants, and two sawhorses to hold up garden tools and clay pots.

A simpler rustic garden shed for summer. A flowerbed full of green plants, and two sawhorses to hold up garden tools and clay pots.

I was about to do something totally different, so proceeded to remove the sawhorse potting bench by starting with the top planks.

You can see last summer’s potting bench version HERE

A simpler rustic garden shed for summer. A flowerbed full of green plants, and two sawhorses to hold up garden tools and clay pots.

After pressure washing everything, I placed the pots on the sawhorses so I could mow the lawn, and fell in love with the look as is!

A simpler rustic garden shed for summer. A flowerbed full of green plants, and two sawhorses to hold up garden tools and clay pots.

I like the open look of the flowerbed and the sawhorses seem to have jobs, with one holding up pots and the other organizing tools, so they stayed.

Without a flower in sight! While flowers would enhance, I think it looks nice as is as well. And doesn’t require any watering. 

A simpler rustic garden shed for summer. A flowerbed full of green plants, and two sawhorses to hold up garden tools and clay pots.

The crazy-train grapevine and trees seem to fill in the blanks. Literally. 🙂

I could trim the grapevines, but they sure produce a ton of grapes, so why not enjoy it?

A simpler rustic garden shed for summer. A flowerbed full of green plants, and two sawhorses to hold up garden tools and clay pots with Potting Shed shutters made with Funky Junk's Old Sign Stencils

I left the Potting Shed shutters intact, which are aging gracefully.

The shutters use to be an old rake sign HERE 

A simpler rustic garden shed for summer. A flowerbed full of green plants, and two sawhorses to hold up garden tools and clay pots.

As for how I’m enjoying less flowerbeds and more green?

At first I went through withdrawl. It felt bare and empty giving me no real reason to linger in the yard to tinker around.

However as the grass slowly filled in, I spent more time on the front yard where there are still flowerbeds, so I applied my efforts there instead. Plus, with less fuss in the backyard, I had WAY more time to do other things, feeling like I’m actually keeping up with things, not making a mad dash off the yard to avoid the horrors of unkept beds and such. (I did this frequently!)

Today, I’m quite enjoying a quick mow then trim to be all the back yard needs! It’s so easy to care for and honestly looks so neat and tidy, I don’t miss the extra fluff!

I am debating on adding more forest-like plantings, such as ferns, stumps, etc. inspired by my forest bike rides. I think that would help soften edges without a ton of labour. I hope…

It’s funny. When I was chatting with my pet sitter, she asked me if there was anything in the yard to water. I smiled ear to ear with a big fat, “Nope!” Such freedom with that statement I tell ya…

While the yard is far from perfect, I have honestly been enjoying less effort required to maintain my home AND yard. This has been such a long journey that is starting to pay off. One day I hope to walk through my place and KNOW there isn’t’ anything more I need to gut and clean!

If you are also struggling to keep up, perhaps a few less beds and a little more lawn could offer you also a sense of calm…

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How are you managing with your yard? Still going strong with lots or are you also scaling back abit? Do you think you could live with a yard ‘this simple?’

Read all the instalments to this series HERE

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Categories: Gardening, Junk Drawer, Outdoors
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  1. I am trying to cut back some.. The watering is what kills me.. I live in the south and you have to water every other day or things are dead real fast. I still have flowers, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and lettuce but I did only half as much this year. It has helped, but like you I miss all the flowers. My trees are finally growing and my crape myrtle. Wish there were easier ways to water.. My far back yard is more than 200 ft. away from my water source. I have 7 Rose of Sharon back there and they are finally getting lots of blooms this year. They are still small and not bushy but they are quite pretty. I planted 3 dogwood this year. Cant wait to see them. I have planted over 20 hostas too. Sunflowers are going in the ground in a month. How do you water?

    • Hi Gail, your yard must look amazing! I personally don’t water. I live on the west coast of BC where conditions are generally pretty wet so nature can take care of things. I also find if I just grow perennials, they don’t require water once established, so I’m swaying that route for certain.

      As for things that do require water such as watering baskets or annuals, I drag a hose to them, however ensure wherever they are located are all reachable so it’s easy to maintain.

      I know many that install underwater sprinklers, that may be something to consider in your climate.

  2. Hi Donna,

    Sounds like you are enjoying Maui?

    Love your yard as it is now. We are doing what you did…less flower beds and more grass. Love the green yard.

    Enjoy your stay in Maui.

    • Hi Nancy, I too am super taken with the green! I think the lushness of a slightly overgrown look really picks up the slack of not having flowers in bloom.

      I am indeed enjoying Maui immensely! Still getting climatized and darting off here and there for my fav things to eat. I’ll blog about it soon!

  3. Thanks for your article. I am getting older and having health problems so facing having to give up gardening after years of it being my passion. My back and front yard is full of beds and bordered with flowering shrubs. I also have a large pond that’s landscaped with flowers. I put the shrubs in as I could see I was heading towards having to give up the flowers. Now it is all just too much to maintain. Your description of the relief and feeling of freedom from the work of it all is reassuring to me. And you’ve given me some ideas and food for thought as to how to move ahead with this but still have an interesting yard. Thank you for sharing this change in your life.

    • I can relate Linda. I use to be ‘that gardener’ that had the most perfect, full flowerbeds for many years. I think what happened with me is my interests just changed. I no longer had the time to give my yard what it deserved so something had to go.

      I love the idea of ‘little flowerbeds’ or focal points, such as the plantings around my shed. It’s simple,and super easy to maintain however still interesting so a yard doesn’t just look like an empty rectangle.

      I hope you come up with a solution that works for you!

  4. Boy…are you reading my mind these days, I too am thinking the flower beds are becoming a chore and not a pleasure. I am about 20+ years older than you and I am trying to keep up..takes me lots longer these days to get the many flower beds ready, weeding, mulching done so I can enjoy the flowers. I had one flower bed reconstructed this last fall to avoid all the weeding, new plants, easier to care for, new beds and mulch. It is blooming like ever and very little effort required. I have a shade garden on the East side of the house that is becoming a jungle with huge plants (they are thriving)..thinking I will need to have it re-done by someone in a few years ..reducing the plants or just turning it all into grass. I still have another large garden going down the back stairs and surrounding the patio that gets less effort but still needs attention. Of course, I put all these gardens in 15 years ago when we built the house and now it might be too much. No decision this year but thinking it will need to be revisited in a couple of years. I get to sit back for about a month and enjoy them before more pruning!

    • Oh, I totally get it. Weeding is only one thing… pruning is another!

      I have a ton of perennials that bloom only in spring so by late spring they are done and it all needs to be pulled. It was a big job. And now there is nothing all summer. As in… bare soil!

      Now that I have more time for the front, I’ll see about adding something in the fall to even out the score a little.

      Your place sounds positively lovely though, so I hope during your month of no pruning, you can come up with a happy medium of having that beauty without so much effort required.

  5. You need to have a butterfly/bee garden. Just to help maintain their lives. They are more needy without flowering plants. Don’t be selfish. Help them live too. It is your responsibility.

    • Hi Corkie, I do have plenty of flowerbeds in the front yard. I trust the bees and butterflies can find their way there. 🙂

      When my flowerbeds in the backyard got overrun, it was just time to remove them. They weren’t producing any longer anyway but rather turned into one big weed fest.

      My pro gardening brother once told me, “If you can’t keep up with it, go back to lawn.” I wholeheartedly agree with his advice. It certainly beats a yard in shambles!

  6. Sometimes we need to downsize, simplify, clean up. I think it gives us time to rethink, take a rest, have a different view. Enjoy your new view and the grapes. Who knows what next year holds.

  7. Well, gotta be honest…I LOVE IT! Flower beds are great, but require a lot of attention. You now have the best of both worlds!!!!!

    I’m a mixed media collage artist and while I enjoy my gardens, I miss time away from my studio. So a little less maintenance outside is not necessarily bad! I just removed a bed and replaced it with bushes and hardy perennials.

  8. Love it! I’m currently putting grass where a flower bed was. I have several beds, but was ready to scale back also.

  9. I’ve definitely scaled back. The only time I miss it is when I look at other people’s le’s yards! 😂 The deer eat everything I plant so it’s a waste of time and money and I finally conceded defeat! Your yard is lovely!

    • Haha, yes, I also feel the pull of more flowers when I look elsewhere! However I’ll just keep looking there as it’s maintenance free… 🙂

      I can see wildlife eating away your efforts! I’m now feeling a little more grateful to have moved into a place with a fully fenced yard. My property backs onto mountain view / park so I’d possibly have the same issues if it weren’t!

  10. I think everything is beautiful! I don’t have flowers ether – mostly because everything I try dies, even on my porch – so I have learned that green can be just beautiful and soothing to the soul. The older you get, the more glad you will be. Believe me, I know!

  11. Ahhh your garden is a sight for sore eyes Donna. We’re slap bang in the middle of Winter here and while our garden still looks okay-ish I miss that beautiful green you only get when the plants around you are exploding into new life. And what fun that those forgotten bulbs of yours came back to surprise you in such a lovely way.

  12. Well Donna, looking at the yard in a long shot, it looks like a veritable lush heaven. The different shades of green is breathtaking. I like your backyard as it is now. Liked it before also, but understood the reasoning. I personally, like it a lot more green. My yard is the same. I have done vegetable gardens, and flowers often, but with age and the busyness of life, not having all that is okay. Your hydrangea gives your yard a burst of color. It is more open, green, and easy on the eyes. I happen to love green trees, green grass, and natural formations. It goes back to my childhood. Always spent our days playing in the woods. No game systems or movies on demand back then. To this day if I need to heal and recharge, put me in a grove trees, and I am a happy camper. Our summer is being spent pruning our trees, which we have a lot of. They provide great shade. But, if left unattended, can overtake a yard. In this heatwave we are experiencing, it’s enough for my husband to do. Thanks for your post Donna. I know you’re in Hawaii now, so enjoy!