A Small Perennial Garden in an Ugly Spot in the Backyard

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Three years ago, ahem, I wrote a post about the five ugliest spots in our backyard. Since I don't even want to go to the place where I describe our quickly-spiraling-downward-backyard let's focus on one little area that has seen a bit of progress.
This is the picture of Ugly Spot #5 that I shared back in May of 2011. It's the little spot between the fence and our lower deck. It was barely growing any grass and just looked awful. I decided to take action. Either last summer or the summer before (where does the time go!?!?!) I went ahead and dug out the grass, added some rich garden soil, and planted some perennials.

I chose two climbing perennials to draw attention away from the ugly, old window as well as the hydro meter and cable lines. One is a climbing hydrangea that was a tonne of money (and that I almost killed but miraculously brought back to life) and the other is a white clematis.

I chose a peony for the middle of the garden because they get quite full and leafy to disguise the window. Oh, and they're kinda pretty.

The rest of the perennials I chose were kind of random. I think I planted some coneflowers, asters, and phlox. I suppose it will be a surprise if / when they flower this season. 

The space still looks pretty ugly. But, it's definitely better than it was before.

The climbing vines are growing up wooden stakes at the moment so I picked up two adorable trellis' on my last trip to the grocery store when I was supposed to actually be in the grocery store and not in the garden centre. Wink, wink.

I think I might have to tweak the spacing of everything once the perennials are a bit more established. But, I think I'll worry about that later.

For now, my helper and I are just trying to keep the plants alive.

Eventually I'll try to find some pretty garden edging. I don't want anything too formal so I pinned this picture of a flagstone edge that I really like. I try not to look at too many pictures of nice gardens and yards though. It gets a bit discouraging when you're trying so hard but your lawn is still invaded by dandelions, moss, and chinch bugs (true story).

Dear picture: please stop rubbing it in that you have a nicer garden than me. It's not nice.

In other news:
- I've got a few posts in the works about how our deck is coming along. I've made it my life's mission to give it a little makeover this summer. 
- Alex is tiling the basement fireplace as we speak! If you were one of my dear blog friends who inquired about the tile name and manufacturer after my last post - stay tuned. Alex stashed the invoice for the tiles and we still haven't come across it. Wow, we're so organized. ;) 
- Our whole little family got slammed with the stomach flu and then a super bad cold. These past few weeks have been tres sucky. But, it's been sunny for three days in a row (THREE!!!) and I think we're finally all on the mend. Yippee!


  1. It will be so pretty! and I have to tell you that your first photo makes Charlie Brown's Xmas tree look really, really good...


    1. Ahahaha, I love your polite honesty. :)

  2. AnonymousMay 26, 2014

    Glad you're back to posting. I check your blog daily, I really like it and your style.

  3. I love the trellis you got! I hope I can find some that are similar! They are just what I want to grow some Jasmine on! Looking forward to seeing your gardens progress this summer when everything fills in! Yay, for fireplace tile!!!

    1. I love your new nickname, Lisa. Hee hee! I got the trellises at the Independent grocery store greenhouse. I saw a lady walking out with two of them. And then I was another lady walking out with two more. :)

  4. That last comment was from me. I didn't realize I was signed into my son's Google acct.!

  5. Delightful! Love the trellises. One of the things I like most about your posts is that you explain your thought process and choices in your projects. Not only interesting, but also useful.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Elaine, I really appreciate it. :)

  6. AnonymousMay 26, 2014

    So happy to see a post from you. Great trellises. It will all be beautiful by July.

  7. yay! miss your posts! I just love your photos they are always so fantastic and clean and crisp looking!

  8. AnonymousMay 29, 2014

    Hi Sarah
    I was just wondering how your beautiful hydrangeas survived our harsh winter this year? I lost so many of my hydrangeas it makes me so so sad! I have been busy replacing them but they look so silly at this stage! Your little garden will be nice in no time at all! Love the trellis!

    1. Hi Kelly!!!! :)

      My hydrangeas are doing surprisingly well. I was able to clean them up a bit last weekend so they are looking a bit better than they were a few weeks ago. I'm not sure if they survived the cold and long winter because they were so established already, or if it was because they were sheltered a bit along the house. I'm sorry to hear that yours didn't make it. I also have a little baby hydrangea growing and it looks really wimpy compared to all the others.

      I hope your news ones grow real fast.... and I also hope we have an extra hot, sunny summer to make up for the worst winter ever!!!!


  9. utilizing ugly background for a beautiful garden in the future, nice idea. maybe I will follow your guide here. nice picture and very informative.


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