Turning Unused Space Behind The Garage Into A Garden

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Until I owned my own home, I never thought about planting a garden other than a section here or there around the house. I had dreams of big, lush blooming gardens that I could stroll in for hours getting lost in Mother Nature (you know the kind of gardens you see in magazines). It takes work to make that dream a reality, but it is doable. It’s my hope one or more posts in this gardening blog series will help or inspire you to achieve your dream garden too. So let’s get started!

Last week I talked about The Benefits of Planting Fruit Bearing Trees. Today I’ll be talking about turning unused space around your yard into a garden, namely behind the garage. Another benefit of having multiple gardens is your own garden beds will become self-sustaining; meaning when you want to change up or create a whole new garden, you can simply choose plants and flowers from your own yard. That’s what I did with the space behind our garage.

Our house sits on a hill and as such, we do have an exposed cinder block foundation. Not exactly a “heart-eyes” look when you see what I’m talking about in the picture below. While nothing is technically wrong with the cinder blocks they just don’t particularly look great either. That’s what inspired me to cover some of it up with a garden bed. The first go at it didn’t yield the look I was going for but I pressed on the following summer and today, it’s now a great space and will look amazing once all the plants and flowers fill in.

Here’s a glimpse at our sad little garden behind the garage. Well, technically it was the 2nd “before” photo because before this sad sight it was just grass up to the garage foundation. But as I said, my goal was to cover those ugly cinder blocks with something more eye pleasing. This garden area was started two years ago! Everyday life distracted us for a bit, but this year it was going to get a facelift if it was the last thing I did in our gardens this summer.

After a days work of getting down to business with the dirt and rocks, look at it now! While my husband did the manual labor of finding and retrieving rocks from deep in our backyard, I got down to business with the dirt. On this particular day I just needed to connect with nature and I got in my zone with bare hands and feet in the garden. It took a good 4-5 hours to complete this garden project. Most of that time was spent organizing the rocks to fit as best as possible next to each other. Within weeks of taking this photo the hosta plants and all the flowers began to grow and bloom.

There are two hosta plants that flank each end of this garden bed. There are also two other hosta that flank each side of the wire lattice. On one end of the garden (near the gutter) there is an elephant ear hosta (which you can see mid-growth in the first picture above). I was shocked when I saw how big the leaves get on that plant! There are three other hosta plants in this garden that I do not know the exact name of and that is because because they were given to us. I’ll have to do some more research on those names and varieties.

In the Vegetable Container Gardening Tips for Beginners you can see a photo of two potted hosta plants that I keep one on each step of our back deck; which is another area to place an unexpected garden. Container planting for decks and stairs is a perfect solution to give that area a little interest.

For most of our gardens (which now almost cover the entire border around our house) we really didn’t purchase much by way of plants. Most were given to us and/or came from our own gardens. In return, I too have gifted out some pieces of my garden to others who love the plants we have.

These beautiful purple iris flowers are very special to me because it was the one thing my mother-in-law and I had in common (other than her son/my husband) -gardening. I soaked up all the tips she offered. When I saw her iris garden in full bloom I fell in love with it. So, my mother-in-law dug up a bunch of her garden iris bulbs and gave me some. This is not the only place I have her irises. I’ll be sharing the other garden they are in soon within this garden series.

Also in this same garden behind the garage are some purple coneflowers. Another one of my favorites! Although our house gets full sun all day, so it has been hard for these beautiful flowers to spread or even offer their full beauty when the petals droop downward.

Our backyard gardens take the full brunt of a summer day. Not only do they get full sun but it’s also at the hottest time of the day -all afternoon from about 12:30-1:00pm until dusk. So, when I do get blooms of any kind in the backyard, I always grab a few pictures. Gardening is a lot of work but it’s so rewarding and you get so much back out of it.

The last area on the backside of the garage that I’ve utilized to plant something, is right next to the stairs that come out of the garage. When the house was built it was definitely not a well planned out area because it offers really no space to do much of anything. Over the years, I’ve put a number of things in this small area and none have stuck until now.

My husband built a small frame box in this area, put some dirt in it and a small wire lattice. We had a clematis plant that wasn’t doing well in the original place we put it, so we dug it up and put it in this small garden area. It’s not blooming like my other climbing clematis but…it’s blooming. I’ll take that as success!

When our deck is redone to extend over to the garage stairs, this little area will go away. But, fear not, I will plant that clematis somewhere else in my garden(s) and hopefully it’ll still bloom. But, that’s not on the immediate house project list so I’ve got time to decide where to transplant it to.

While writing this post I realized how hard it is to get a full garden picture when the plants and flowers are all in bloom. They were all planted at different times and also have their own bloom season. On the plus side, even when they have fully bloomed for their season and I have to cut them back (such as with the iris), there are still green leaves that offer some garden decor while other flowers and plants bloom in this space. They just won’t all bloom at the same time.

Last thing on this garden space behind the garage is to throw down some mulch and I’ll consider this project complete.

Now that we finished talking about turning unused space behind the garage into a garden, in this 3rd installment of What’s In My Garden, come back next week when I’ll share with you a garden of memories brimming with irises and clematis.

If you are inspired to create a garden in an unexpected place after reading this post don’t forget to share by tagging me on Instagram and using #btdinspired, I’d love to see your work (and I just might repost your photo)!

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