Around The Yard | Early Summer

Oh yes, I'm so thankful for this space.

We've lived in this house for just about two years now. Last year I did just a bit in the yard - mainly with the raised beds in the summer and planting some shade perennials in a bed between the house and the patio. Take a look back at early spring, mid-spring and mid-summer 2011. Especially crazy to see the difference between April 2011 and now (bare trees vs. the green of now).

Part of my manifesto this summer is to spend an hour outside everyday. That might be playing, reading, working, eating, resting, entertaining, dreaming or puttering.

Click on any image to view it larger.

Right now a lot of my outside time has been planting and a bit of moving things around.

I love perennials so a lot of what I've been doing is planting those and in the process digging up some things that were here before we moved in that I don't love.

Those chairs and tables (three of them put together) are from Costco.

This yard has three main sections. (1) An area with a shed and raised beds (and a whole other side along the house where the AC is located that is just dirt right now), (2) an area directly behind the house where the patio sits (the photo above is in this area), and then (3) a large grass area off to the right (what you see through the pergola in the photo above) with a couple trees at the far edge.

This is in the second area just behind the house. This is what I see when I look out my kitchen window.

These are my beloved peonies. I've cut most of them and brought them inside. They smell amazing.

This is also in that area directly behind the house, farther down from the peonies, that needs a bit more love and attention.

For me, working in the yard like this is an exercise in patience. It's remembering that that small hydrangea I just planted won't be so small next year or the year after or the year after. Sometimes it's hard to wait - I want it to all be established and full and lush right now. I can tell, though, that I'm getting better at the waiting. It's all a learning process, every last step of the way.

To the left of the patio area are the raised beds and the shed (and an area you can't see that's currently a no-man's land of just dirt). I have plans for this area - I'm still thinking pea gravel around the beds. Around the corner, over by the shed, there's a pretty big blank space. I need some new dirt over there and then I'll plant the pumpkins and corn and see how that goes (I haven't done either before).

Another place that needs some new dirt (and a new lattice on top of the fence) is along one of the edges of the grass area in the left yard. There's some really big (giant) trees in the neighbors and roots all throughout that soil that you see here.

I've got three blueberry plants that are totally thriving in the spot they were planted last summer.

Those strawberries were here when we moved in - they did pretty good last year.

Once the rain stops again we'll be working on some sort of a fort for the kids back in this area behind the fern.

Looking back towards the house from the far end of the grassy area.

There's a lot to learn and right now I'm really relishing getting my hands dirty and joyfully doing the work.

76 thoughts

  1. Paulette

    2012-06-06 19:27:19 -0400

    Oh Ali... I remember when we first moved to our apple farm & the only "tree" on the homestead was an old lilac bush. We have spent hours & hours & hours in our yard... I wish I had taken before & 20 years after photos! I have a fondness for lupines which grow wild here, and I love peonies & dahlias too...Thanks so much for triggering another story to tell :o)

  2. kdan

    2012-06-06 19:47:24 -0400

    WOW! what a beautiful yard, so full of adventure and color and imagination.

  3. Linda Marie

    2012-06-06 20:12:32 -0400

    Ali, LOVE seeing your yard. It makes me wish I had documented my gardening efforts like this. Moved into my house 12 years ago and the first few years were all about planting. It was worth it when I see how much everything has grown (and you do lose some...between the animals + conditions)

    I don't see any ornamental grasses in your yard!

    Not sure what zone you are in, but in Illinois I have great luck.They are fantastic to watch with each season. My favorite are micanthus variegatus (green/white) and porcupine (green/yellow). They are great for blocking views you don't want to see...Thanks for sharing your stories!!

  4. Jesa

    2012-06-06 20:47:17 -0400

    How fun it is to read about your gardening. The area looks very nice.

  5. digiSara

    2012-06-06 21:00:34 -0400

    Love the idea of putting together 3 small tables to create a bigger one. I've been looking for a good solution for my yard (don't want something too big, and also want some flexibility to move with the sun/shade) and that has really inspired me!

  6. Pamela B.

    2012-06-06 21:00:46 -0400

    We tried our hand at Pumpkins for the first time last year and it was by far the thing I was most proud of in our garden. We planted just 2 little seeds and they filled up a good quarter of our yard. We ended up with 6 good sized pumpkins (would have been more but we lost a few to "powdery mildew"). Probably my favourite part of last halloween too... seeing them all carved and lit up on our front porch... pumpkins that WE GREW :D A very rewarding experience!

  7. Amy

    2012-06-06 22:49:36 -0400

    I have a pup question for you - do you section off part of the yard for Lily to do her business? Strange question I know, we have a dog who uses our entire yard and I feel really limited because of it gardening-wise.

  8. Lis H

    2012-06-06 23:05:47 -0400

    It looks great - no wonder you are so enthusiastic! I am especially envious of your peonies - it's too warm to grow them here, in
    this part of Australia.
    But we find that adding a good layer of mulch helps enormously to keep down the weeds, keep the roots shaded and moist, and as it rots down, builds up the quality and quantity of soil.

  9. Kathy

    2012-06-06 23:34:36 -0400

    Your yard looks wonderful ready for summer entertaining and definitely making a commitment to be outside at least 1 hr every day will be's just stepping outside and once you are outside it's so good for you.

  10. Teresa

    2012-06-07 00:16:47 -0400

    Love your yard. I want to come over and play!

  11. Bec Kilgore

    2012-06-07 02:23:31 -0400

    After all the drought we have had, my yard needs to be blown up and started over. Your outdoor space is beautiful.

  12. kate adderley

    2012-06-07 05:30:00 -0400

    Hi Ali, just love your yard pics, and l hope you dont mind me telling you, but l am a bit concerned about where you have planted your hydrangea, these plants are shade lovers , the more shade the better, and they are water lovers too, the rose and hydrangea wont do well together, roses need as much sun as possible, 6 hours of morning sun is the best, this will help stop mildew and blackspot occurringl dont know where your sun rises, morning sun is best if any, just by looking at your yard pics, the hdyrangeas would do well one each side of your wisteria arch, planted on your house side of the fence so it will also get shade from the large white flowering tree, feed it with lots of seaweed solution and it should do well, l hope this helps you

  13. dawn

    2012-06-07 06:02:18 -0400

    Love this Ali, how gorgeous and fun your yard is. Thanks for taking the time to show all this!!

  14. Cindy

    2012-06-07 09:33:21 -0400

    My boys and I are moving into an adorable little house, with lots of flower beds, and tons of potential, at the end of June. Love seeing what you've done, it's always a work in progress, constantly evolving. Thanks for the bit of inspiration to begin planning my own digging and planting!

  15. Debie Grace

    2012-06-07 09:37:45 -0400

    I am so in love with your yard <3

  16. Misti

    2012-06-07 11:33:48 -0400

    I haven't commented here in a very long time (years!), but I wanted to say that I really love your yard. It is very cozy and enjoyable-looking. :) Good luck with your edibles---and I love your table idea, very movable.

  17. christy

    2012-06-07 13:58:51 -0400

    oh, so lovely! i want to wrap up your garden and unfold it into mine - except that I think the Mississippi heat and humidity would not be kind to the plants. it looks likes a beautiful place to rest, relax, have fun, and most of all create! Looking through your pics, I've decided to I want to create "areas" in my garden. Just not sure how to go about it.

  18. Jakki

    2012-06-08 12:28:29 -0400

    I've always felt that your home should be a special part of you and what you cherish because it is your sanctuary...your place of comfort and sometimes, hopefully, it can be that for your friends and family. Thanks so much for sharing this with us!

  19. Denise KC

    2012-06-08 12:35:00 -0400

    Hi Ali,

    I love what you’ve done and are doing with your yard! The potted plants on the patio look great and what a good idea to put three costco tables together!

    Thanks for’re always an inspiration :)

    Take good care,

  20. Karen C

    2012-06-09 09:39:48 -0400

    Ali, I love your blog and your creativity, but I have to say I really love this post (like all others) because we need to landscape the front of our house and I see things in other's yards that I like but I have no idea what the names are. Thank you for labeling the plants - definitely have some things to go on. :-)

  21. wendi

    2012-06-10 23:30:07 -0400

    Wow! What an amazing space. Your kids will have great memories out there. Looks like you have some great palns. Enjoy!

  22. Maricar @ Paper Goodness

    2012-06-11 10:05:15 -0400

    This is beautiful! What a great space. No wonder you want to spend time in this everyday.

  23. A. Sanborn

    2012-06-13 06:34:05 -0400

    Thank-you for sharing the lovely photos of your gardens! There's something to be said for "dirt" therapy... nothing like it! =)

    Since photos can be a bit deceiving... Your climbing rose will be climbing within your Clematis pending the direction you guide it. Have you considered an obelisque with a birdhouse within or atop? The birds love the privacy the plants offer. so much so, we have a pair of bluebirds for the first time this year in the boarding house out back! My happy place...

  24. Jennifer Kistler

    2012-06-16 00:23:05 -0400

    Oh wow, I just love your yard, and it goes with the house so nicely! Looks like a great place to rest and grow and dream, very peaceful and comforting, and at the same time fresh and happy. Can I come hang out? LOL!

  25. patricia p. in pacifica

    2012-06-17 01:07:08 -0400

    your yard Ali is just beautiful..I live in a coastal town and the wind blows and blows and so very few trees are around mostly shrubs are what we have and low plants. It was so wonderful to see so much greenery and trees galore. I just loved you entrance with the climbing plants on wonderful and I too now feel like getting out and doing more. Your house looks wonderful too.
    Ahhhhhhh the good life...LOL
    thanks for sharing with all of us.

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