We DIY’d our own flowerbed!

The flower bed is finally done. It only took us two years to finish. Here’s the final bed, now we are just waiting for the plants to grow and mature.

This yard has been a real labor of love
(or more like a real labor of pain-in-my-ass).

When we bought the house two years ago the flowerbed was a wreck. There were three plants and a whole lotta weeds. One plant was totally dead, one was on it’s way, and one was just random and didn’t match anything else.

How hard can it really be to fix a flowerbed? Oh how naive we were! We started by digging up those three plants.

Then we went and priced out some plants. Yowzas! I am no gardener, so I had no clue how pricy putting in an entire bed of plants was going to be. So it sat as a weed patch for a reeeeeeeally long time.

I would go out from time to time and put weed killer all over it. Otherwise Ben would complain because he was having to mow the flowerbed. Yup. For a solid year we mowed the flower bed.

I’m sure our neighbors impatiently waited for us to get on that bed already. I was embarrassed to even pull into my driveway. I’d get out of the car and run inside before anyone passing by could see me.

Fortunately, we did take the time to try to keep the rest of the yard looking clean and cut, and I spent a lot of time trimming the bushes on the right so they are all level and square.

Finally at the beginning of this year we had the money to devote to the flowerbed. We met a gardner who made us a good (but not “too good to be true”) offer to landscape the flowerbed for us, so we paid him part up front to purchase the plants and then agreed to pay the rest when the work was completed.

He planted plants we specifically asked not to have (any plants that bloom and attract bees were a big resounding NO for us), didn’t even plant them (he put them on top of the ground then pushed dirt up around them), and then didn’t use any weed-blocking material before putting the mulch down. So we fired him and wouldn’t let him do any more work for us.

Here’s what he did to our flowerbed. Notice there are huge unfinished areas with no mulch and there aren’t many plants.

The crappy bed sat until last month when Ben and I dug the darn thing up once and for all. We ended up sinking a few hundred more dollars into the bed, but I’m pretty thrifty so I got a lot for free or really cheap.

After lots of really hard work we finally have a finished flowerbed!

I am just so happy that the work is done. It was back-breaking labor and we spent 3 weekends working on it.

The majority of the cost was for the weed-blocking material under the mulch and the 16 bags of mulch. We lucked out on the stone around the bed and got it all for free! I went into a brand new neighborhood that was still being built and found a ton of scrap rock in a trash pile. The guys there said I could have whatever I wanted because they were throwing it all away! It was leftover limestone from building the houses and the pieces were too small to use on the house so they threw them out.

We had to put little gaps between some of the stones because of the sprinkler heads. Eventually we want to dig up the heads and move them forward. Then we want to have the stones professionally mortared so they look finished and not just stacked up. For now they work just fine though.

Here’s the whole front of the house.

We added a patio set at the beginning of the summer. I found it at Home Depot. As for the flowerbed, the back row of plants are boxwood hedge. The middle row are round hedge-looking plants that the gardner put in (we dug them all up and moved them forward to make room for the boxwood hedge). We also added a crepe myrtle that blooms with white flowers, and a few grass looking plants.

I am seriously plant illiterate so I apologize that I don’t know the names of everything we used.

Here is my favorite part of the whole yard, even though it isn’t part of the flowerbed:

I love these trees! They were by far the most expensive plants we bought, but they were exactly what I had in mind and what I wanted. I don’t know what they are called but we got them at Lowe’s for $28 each.

I bought the planters from Target a few weeks ago on clearance. I had my eye out for months for tall planters that weren’t $100 each, so when these were marked down to only $15 a planter I scooped up three of them.

The plant in the bottom right of this next photo came already assembled as a combo plant. I just took the whole thing and replanted it in my new planter.

And here’s one more shot of our porch. I’d love to get a nice big rug for out here and maybe some upholstered furniture but this neighborhood is crawling with cats (ferrell and owned) that think any upholstery on my porch is their personal litter box. Makes me so angry!

We’ve also been working on our grass – especially in the back yard – to get it green again after the horrible drought last summer killed it all. I’d say we’ve made pretty good progress!



In addition to putting in the flower bed in the front yard, Ben also recently cut down two dead trees in back. Now we need to figure out what to do with the beds along the fence in the back.

I know it doesn’t seem like that much but trust me, it was a lot of work and took up several weekends. And of course, we are super smart so we waited until the end of July to tackle this outdoor project. We didn’t die of heat stroke and lived to tell the tale, so that’s worth something, right?!

Here are a few of the before and afters side-by-side (because before and afters are the best kind of pictures!).





I am so glad it’s all done. I would much rather work inside in the air conditioning! haha!

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  1. We have a border along our backyard fence much like yours, and it’s lined with monkey grass and trees. The monkey grass is a great ornamental plant and practically takes care of itself. Most of it died last summer (along with our grass), but it all sprang back up in the spring. The front looks great!

  2. Your yard looks great. I am sitting here with sore shoulders and an achy neck due to my two hours of gardening last evening. I thought it would be so easy to spruce up the plants in front of our house…it was SO much work. I think I do these projects every now and then to remind my why is it so darn expensive to pay someone else to do it for me! Nicely done at your house!

  3. Wow, what an amazing job. Love the planters.

  4. There are few things I hate worse than yard work, so I can totally appreciate the effort that went into this! Nice job!

  5. It looks great! A word of warning…be careful not to overwater your Boxwoods. I rarely watered mine, but this summer I thought they might be thirsty in our unusually warm weather. Then they started turning yellowish and I thought they needed more water. Wrong! Turns out, they need very little water other than what falls from the sky and I caused a root-rot disease which explains the yellow/orange leaves. I think I killed them, as there is nothing that can cure root-rot. Dang.

  6. Looks great! It is true that plants can really bust your budget!
    I also have to admit my favorite picture is the one of your front porch with the phone.. Setting stuff down in the middle of a project and then taking pictures is totally my style too!

  7. Allison, doesn’t it feel great to see the change daily? Knowing it will grow and thrive! It looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing, Helen

  8. It Looks FANTASTIC! And you Stole those Tall Planters… does Target know that? I may have to report you! 😉 I love those swirl trees by the front door… they are working that entry and looking fabulous! NICE WORK!

  9. I kinda love working in the yard. I am so glad you got rid of that Sago palm in the 2nd picture. People love to put those right by the front door for some reason and they are poisonous, painfully sharp and get enormous. Bad combination, confusing way to introduce the world to your home.
    It all looks GREAT!! Y’all did a wonderful job with the porch area and all. Those twirly trees by the front door with be so pretty with Christmas lights. It already looks good and in a few years, it will be even better.

  10. Woohoo! Great job! Looks beautiful!

    @ Creatively Living

  11. Seems like you had the same problem we had! A garden remodel takes up so much time and money and hard work. Time being the key factor here, because it takes so much time until it looks halfway done (I’m still waiting for the grass to grow properly). But you did a wonderful job! I love the stones that you used for the raised bed in front of the house – lovely touch! xo Anja

  12. It looks great! What did you do with the backyard grass to make it recover? We’re in a new construction home and our grass is still struggling.

  13. Great job! We are re-landscaping our entire yard too. We moved in this spring & the yard needed a major overhaul.
    So far we have built 4 large retaining walls in the front, removed a pond from next to the house, removed 2 overgrown beds from the back (they had over half the yard turned into gardens!), rebuilt a retaining wall in the back, and took out a tree damaged from storms.
    Right now we are working on the largest part: we took down the waterfall & pond they had, so we could shift it, enlarge the pond, and add in 3 gardens (2 flower beds & 1 veggie garden) surrounding it.
    FYI – be careful with the bushes you planted in the pots. They need to be transplanted every 2-3 years to a larger pot or they will become root-bound & die. I love the look of them, and would hate for you to loose them. 🙂

  14. Oh my gosh!! It looks so great!! I know JUST what you mean. When we first moved back and saw what an old lady living in a big house by herself and the TX drought does to a yard we had SO MANY PLANS! I would say we have gotten about 10% of all those ideas done. It’s really hard work and so freakishly hot out here! I can’t wait to get everything done. We thought we would have it ALL done in time for this summer. HAHAHAH!! Silly silly wanna be yard of the month’ers!

  15. Yard work is seriously so time consuming! You dont think it’ll take that long to pull up some weeds and throw down mulch, but boy does it take forever! Your front bed looks amazing now though! 🙂

  16. Now there ya go! Im simply enjoying the view of your new garden:)

  17. Erin Garner says:

    Kinda random but… what kind of trampoline do you have that allows the sun to come through enough not to kill the grass. I know some do and some don’t and how do you mow under it?

  18. Looking Good!!! Landscaping is least favorite thing to do on earth! I applaud you for your work!! Awesome!

  19. Sallie Fitzpatrick says:

    Wow! You did a lot of work! Your yard looks amazing!

  20. lynne heldenbrand says:

    Looks marvelous! I can’t believe how much the trees in front have grown in just one year! You are right to love the twisted trees – they frame your front door just perfectly. I can certainly sympathize with not wanting to work outside this year. I am in Missouri where it hasn’t rained since June – married to a framer so this is just tragic! So far all of my landscaping has lived through the drought because they are all established plantings, but I have had to water all of the potted plants daily.

  21. Adam & I started redoing our front flower beds last year then I got pregnant & was throwing up so the Alabama heat was a no go then this spring I had a sickly newborn. Hopefully we can finish next spring. We have too many inside projects right now.

  22. antique engagement rings says:

    I love the flower bed… love the black mulch!

  23. Good for you! And also, how good that you fired that landscaper…didn’t need him at all!!!

  24. Hi Allison what an awesome transformation we will be redoing our front bed this fall. I love your front porch I wish I had one but I have a great back yard. Hope u get some rain we had great rain last night.

  25. Looks good! As someone who has spent the last three summers reworking an abandoned house/yard, I feel your pain.

    Here’s ours:http://sharingourpath.blogspot.com/2012/06/before-and-after.html

    Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way:
    Beg, borrow or steal a rototiller-even for small areas, it makes your work easier and your back will thank you later.

    Don’t buy mulch or dirt, etc by the bag at the big box stores-a local nursery places ia ALWAYS cheaper. It’s like buying in bulk for Costco vs. lil packs of stuff at the super market.

    Get to know your local nursery peeps. They LOVE helping out newbies with plant selection, etc. Just FYI- the crepe myrtle-you need to move him/her asap. They grow way too big for the space you have it in. You could have a dwarf evergreen if bees are an issue; or a specimen rose bush if you want fragrance. Or a mock orange-they have dwarf styles that would fit well in your front bed.

  26. It turned out really beautiful! Enjoy your new curb appeal. 🙂 megan

  27. Gorgeous! The transformation is really amazing. We moved in with already made flower beds but they weren’t cared for very well so it is basically like starting from scratch! I hope ours turn out as well as your did!

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