Garden Projects and Ideas - Gardening Forums

Help! First house, ugly yard:(

Need advice about building a raised garden bed, double-digging or installing an irrigation system? This is the place to find the help you need!

Help! First house, ugly yard:(

Postby carrievalentino » Apr 07, 2012 1:38 pm

Hello! I am new member and new home owner! I have no knowledge of gardening and so I have come here to learn.
Here is my front and side yard... anyone able to identify the bushes in pictures? Also, any ideas on how to make it look less ugly on a serious budget? (bank account drained from purchase)

Thanks!! :D
User avatar
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 07, 2012 12:57 pm

Re: Help! First house, ugly yard:(

Postby kelly_m » Apr 07, 2012 1:59 pm

Hi Carrie! Welcome!

You have a couple of euonymous in there, possibly a rhododendron (couldn't tell too much.)

Some serious vine (you'll have to wait a little while longer to find out what it is) on the fence.

First, I would remove the concrete border. There are much nicer ways to dilineate garden and lawn.

I can garuntee once that is done you'll step back and say wow!

if you need a border, I'd go with the basic black PVC virtually invisible.

You can trim up any of the shrubs that seem to be taking over (like the green and white one) and that can be done anytime.

You will, however, need to wait a little longer to see if there are perennials in the beds!

I suggest you wait at least a year with the old beds. Unless there's nothing there but shrubs.

In the mean time, there are lots of annuals you can use for filler!

good luck and happy gardening!!!
Zone 5a/b

User avatar
Posts: 5905
Joined: Nov 14, 2006 12:14 pm
Location: Smaller town Ontario, Zone 5a/5b

Re: Help! First house, ugly yard:(

Postby Dumbo » Apr 07, 2012 3:39 pm

carrievalentino wrote:new home owner

I would stick with what Kelly said for the 1st year. Your debt is just going to get higher if you start puzting with landscaping and interlocking brick.

Give it a year, see what fills in, what others have going around you etc and get idea's that you can budget for next spring.

Besides, a new house will have it's little money holes, be it paint, gutters, balcony, new BBQ, furniture, fence, patio set, etc.

Settle in, put some annuals here and there and sketch out what you think you would like and price it.

Pick up a bit here and there at the end of the season or off-season when it's half price or so.

Also, there are tips here from others on low cost idea's that you can learn as well.
User avatar
Posts: 2070
Joined: Feb 06, 2012 11:20 pm
Location: Zone 5

Re: Help! First house, ugly yard:(

Postby styric » Apr 07, 2012 4:50 pm

Find your local freecycle! If it's a good one like mine, you're set.

I've gotten tons of plant cuttings, edging, brick, topsoil etc off freecycle the past two years. I just got some very old framed windows and scrap wood to make a cold frame.
The most effective mosquito repellent is a shotgun.
User avatar
Posts: 309
Joined: May 23, 2010 10:45 pm

Re: Help! First house, ugly yard:(

Postby Lizcordysmum » Apr 07, 2012 9:10 pm


You can safely trim off sticking out bits that you don't like, on the bushes/shrubs...the ones that REALLY stick out...not all of them. Now.

If this will be your first spring/summer/autumn here, leave the garden alone to see what it does. Take pictures of what you like, what you don't like.

buy a few pots, and plant some annuals for colour, and put where you, read, read,

That's a lovely little home you've got there...I hope you have many years of happiness in it.

(If you are on a very limited budget, and if you have time, join a garden club. Lots of freebies, lots of good advice...but leave room for stuff you especially love.)
Cordy's Mum, Liz
Rain Coast, BC Zone 7b/8a

Nae words, nae quarrel
User avatar
Posts: 5587
Joined: Nov 14, 2006 2:17 pm
Location: Wet Coast, BC Zone 7b, 8a.

Re: Help! First house, ugly yard:(

Postby Dumbo » Apr 08, 2012 5:42 am

Just to add a bit to this, in terms of having no budget really to spruce the place up as carrievalentino stated:

Some idea's that may get your creative juices flowing can be found all through-out this forum, at little or no cost.

Example 1:
-As styric said above about "FreeCycle". I never looked at this, but a quick search yesterday after styric mentioned it showed some people wanting to get rid of earth, flower pots, tools, and even brick edging material etc in my area.

Neat! Never thought of it. A good way for me to get rid of my stuff that I don't want as well.

I don't know the freecycle sites like others may know of, but a quick search may snag you some things.

Example 2:
Another thing I never thought of was rocks people toss out during landscaping or construction.

Just look at CdnChelsea's garden here:

I mean, that is amazing! If you bought that rock, which they sell at a box stores, you would be in the hole for hundreds. She got it free with a bit of labour removing it.

Being in a new house it's normal to have a drained account, + you will be dollared to death the first year with all the little things that need fixing, or with what you want to do. Normal.

I'm not the artsy-type who can vision things like these people can and then make it work. So I rely on their pictures that they post.

Even the palette garden some people posted here look really nice. And it would likely work with that nicely aged fence you have on the side of the house. Cost: ~3$ in earth + the cost of the annual flowers.

As a first time home owner, heh, you aren't going to get everything you want or dream of the first few years unless you have the budget for it, or are flipping a house. Takes a few years.

Meanwhile, I see you need to buy a hedge trimmer :lol:

Welcome to being dollared to death ;)
User avatar
Posts: 2070
Joined: Feb 06, 2012 11:20 pm
Location: Zone 5

Re: Help! First house, ugly yard:(

Postby styric » Apr 08, 2012 7:38 pm

I was the one who posted the palette garden. I just snagged as many wooden palettes as I can fit in a truck off freecycle :D I'm only taking enough for the cold frame and maybe one palette garden and some firewood.

A good freecycle is one of the best gardening partners I've found. Nearly all my cuttings have overwintered, though one came with bindweed (ARGH!!). I've struck up a relationship with a gardener I seriously look up to who provided alot of my babies (including the grapette lilies) and gives me their botanical names when she knows. I've also outfitted half the living room, two bedrooms and part of my kitchen, and am hunting a dining room table/chairs for the newly cleaned out dining room.

I've decluttered alot of junk, and have enough room in my basement for an entire plant setup.

Pretty good for a 900sqft house!

Just beware of the packrat habit when it comes to that community... you'll get way more junk than you know what to do with unless you go in with a list of what you want and stick to it.
The most effective mosquito repellent is a shotgun.
User avatar
Posts: 309
Joined: May 23, 2010 10:45 pm

Re: Help! First house, ugly yard:(

Postby belinda_mayer » Apr 08, 2012 9:29 pm

Congrats on your first house. I like the suggestions the other posters put of waiting a gardening season to make any drastic changes to see which plants you like.

The one thing I saw based on your photo is the garden needs some curves along the front of the house. I'd remove the half circle pavers and make a nicer edge that is curved, enlarge it as well to come out further from the house.

Good luck.
User avatar
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 03, 2012 8:55 pm

Re: Help! First house, ugly yard:(

Postby Lulu » Apr 22, 2012 8:13 am

Hi, and welcome to the forum! Pretty much everyone's yard is "ugly" at this time of year, so, don't be discouraged!

Good advice you've been given here and if you're going to do only one thing, I'd say, just wait to see what's already there. Since you posted the initial post, I would bet there's a lot of stuff, poking thru by now. One of the pictures shows bulbs poking thru,,so, if that's the case, you're probably set for a burst of spring colour anytime soon.

My biggest garden dollars are spent at end of the season clearances, but tons of bargains can be found , anytime, in the "hospital area" of Lowes, where not so healthy plants are offered for cheap, cheap, cheap; generally, you can get a whole flat of annuals for $2.00! Check often, and baby them, and they will mostly come back and provide you with a shot of color, wherever you put them. It's nearby, so I generally check as often as I can, and have met and made friends with a few people who do the same thing. Two have come to visit my yard, to get some of my surplus stuff. Even though yellow is not my fav color, last year I picked up two flats of Gazania, for .50c a flat, and planted them as a border, in a corner that had zero color. It was amazing!
Good luck, and good gardening!

Here's a picture of my $2.00 display:
Two Dollar Display.jpg
Two Dollar Display.jpg (61.27 KiB) Viewed 4517 times
User avatar
Posts: 2289
Joined: Nov 16, 2008 8:13 pm

Re: Help! First house, ugly yard:(

Postby Mygrandmeresgarden » May 22, 2012 11:30 pm

Your new yard has quite a bit of potential. It just needs some trimming and pruning for now until you see what treasures are in the flower beds.

You can purchase small perennials for about $2.50 each at Superstore garden centers. I'm not sure where you're from... they are in Canada. It takes a bit longer for them to bloom but the price is right. I love Oriental poppies, they are by far my favorites!
User avatar
Posts: 115
Joined: May 22, 2012 10:23 pm
Location: Zone 3, Saskatchewan

Return to Garden Projects and Ideas

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

Follow Style At Home Online



Latest Contests

more contests