10. October 2019

Garden DIY: My new garden beds

I just love creating new growing spaces here in my garden. This year, I decided to radically improve a neglected area of my lot and make a few new garden beds.

En igenvuxen del av en trädgård, med massa ogräs och två bilar som står i bakgrunden. A neglected part of my lot, new garden beds.

This hideous sight is the first thing our guests get to see when they come over. But this is about to change!


Those of you who follow me on Instagram have probably noticed how much I have had to fight to keep some of the overgrown parts of my garden in check. It's hard work! But I finally started seeing some results and I'm so excited! There's still plenty left to do though, that's why I wanted to write more about my progress in a series of blog posts.


My new garden beds

This part of my garden is located right next to where we park our cars. It's not the best spot for a parking space, but since we can't solve it any other way, we will have to make do. I decided to put a privet hedge in front of it and I also have a bed of perennials here. I grew most of the perennials from seed and blue was the theme.

This area is becoming more and more overgrown every year. I just had enough at the start of summer. I didn't want to look at it anymore! So, one night I just decided to cover the entire area and start over again rather than try to repair the damage.


En mer ordnad trädgård med en rabatt med blåa blommor. New garden beds, flower bed.

This is what my perennial bed looked like a few years ago. We had an apple tree here too, but it blew down last year.


En blommande blå rabatt.

I grew all of these beautiful plants from seed and I just love watching them grow. The tall red one is a Paterson's curse variety.


En vacker blå rabatt med vita aklejor i förgrunden. New garden beds, beautiful blue flowers.

This is what I started with, and the plan was to keep going in the same direction. I put my dreams for the bed on hold in the summer of 2015 when I got pregnant though.


Doing things differently

I have come to realize that I made quite a few mistakes these past couples of years. For example, it rains a lot less than it used to and I need to save more water in the future.


How to: Growing vegetables in dry conditions


It's getting harder to take good care of the smaller beds (for example next to the trees in my garden), because of the water shortage. These areas are located all over my garden and just getting there with the water is hard work. That's why I decided to almost completely ignore the north side of the garden. This is partly because we have some contractors coming in through that part of the garden, but I haven't exactly been busy getting a hose for the area either.

My plan this summer was simply to remove the smaller growing spaces and instead create larger unified areas. This is what I want my entire garden to look like.


Remove the grass

We had a bit of an epiphany about our lawn this summer. Our neighbors helped us make it in the summer of 2010. My ever-growing garden beds are making the lawn smaller and smaller though. I sometimes think it's bad manners to remove it completely, especially since we got so much help with it. I was pregnant at the time, so I couldn't do as much as I would have liked.

This year, I had to watch my previously thriving perennial bed go so dry that only the plants with very deep roots managed to survive. Most of the others have withered away.

Frustratingly enough, the lawn right next to the perennials looks perfectly green and lush. The grass roots are shallow and can thrive even with very little rain. But then, there's nothing left for the root just slightly further down. I just hate grass right now.


More creative projects in the garden: Make your own woven basket


I decided not to have any grass at all in the newest areas of my garden. It simply needed to go! Instead, I decided to go for wood chips to cover all the areas where I don't grow.


Massor av ogräs och några gamla perenner. New garden beds, weeds and a few old flowers.

This is what the area looked like in July after a few years of neglect. Plenty of weeds, a giant scabious, catmint and a beautiful iris that I found in the forest.


My plan

This new area is around 11 yards (10 meters) long and the width varies. The long side towards the parking spot is closed up by a privet hedge. The outer edge (north-facing), is going to get a little greenhouse, made from all the windows I have gathered these past 20 years, and a little wooden fence. I plan on making a fence on the other side too, I don't know what material I want yet though. The short edge next to the path to our house will either be made from rocks that the kids found, blueberry bushes or a brushwood fence. The reason why I want to create these boundaries is mainly that I don't want our dog to get any ideas. He's a large Newfoundland dog and he can do a lot of damage if he wants to.


Read more about Garden DIY: Building a brushwood fence


I'm building five long new garden beds in this area. Two of them are completely done by now. I'm going to tell you more about how I built them later.


En fullständigt kraschad gräsmatta och forna perennland. New garden beds, my lawn and old flowers.

I have been working hard to dig out and place perennials in large pots and troughs. The surface of the bed looks completely trashed now though.


Tre upphöjda bäddar med jord och träflis i gångarna emellan.

The new spot is starting to look ready a few weeks later.


I decided to put vegetables here. After all, I do enjoy growing vegetables. In the future, I might want some perennials here too though. I might put perennials here and there and even grow them together with the vegetables in some spots.

New projects and thinking differently doesn't scare me at this point. I actually feel free and excited about being able to admit that things didn't turn out the way that I wanted them too, and that it's OK. This is a really important step for me, and it will open up for so much more enjoyment in life. Watching this spot change lifts me up, it makes me feel happy and excited for the future.

What do you think about my new garden beds?
/Sara Bäckmo

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