Saturday, January 9, 2010

Backyard Makeovers

Transforming your tired and worn out gardens can be easier than you think. It just takes a little imagination and a whole lot of elbow grease.

In this badly neglected rental property the new owners wanted to increase the properties value and buyer appeal. While at the same time creating a beautiful and functional yard for their 2 young children. There was a lot of broken glass, weeds, rusty nails and poisonous plants. With the exception of one flowering perrenial, everything had to be completely stripped back to the dirt. The soil had to be carefully searched and broken glass and rusty nails removed. Then new top soil was brought in. The flower beds and gardens were then dug in and planted with a variety of ever greens, bushes and colourful annnuals and perrenials. Then the final step was installing a new freshly seeded lawn. The transformation was astounding and netted the family a healthy return on their investment when they sold the home a few years later.

In this back yard make-over. A dead and dieing Honey Suckle hedge grew down the fenced side of the property. We removed and dug out the stumps of all but an 8 foot section, which we determined to be still healthy and restorable. This section was also left to provide some much needed privacy between the neighbouring yard. A narrow, gently curving flower bed was dug in and the soil was reconditioned. Plant hooks, with baskets of beautiful annuals hanging from them, were installed to utilize and soften the fencing. as were trellises. On each side of these hanging baskets were the children gardens. We dug them out a little wider than the rest of the flower bed and allowed the children to select and plant their own choices.

Along the back of the property was a badly neglected and heavily overplanted raised bed. We began by removing much of the plant material. Some of which was re-located to other parts in the yard, some disarded and some was later reinstalled after some much need soil work was done. It was a very challenging growing environment. The bed was full of tree roots with part of the garden being nearly full shade and other parts partial shade. Slugs and snails and all manner of other destructive insects and animals skellitinized the vegetation. Our mission was to restore natures balance. We did this by selecting various plant material that could not only thrive in that environment but would naturally attract the benificial insects and deter the destructive ones. As you can see the results were remarkable. This fairly low maintance garden now flourishes all with out the use of chemicals.

The previous owner had removed all plant material. All the new home owner had to work with was a narrow patch of soil that ran in a straight line against the home. We started by raising the beds slightly and adding a little movement and softening of the lines with a gentle curving and snaking motion created with brick. Then we began the task of reconditioning and amending the soil to create a healthy growing environment for our future plant installations. The home owner wanted a perennial garden that would surround its guests with a sense of peace and intoxicating beauty, a place to meditate and unwind. Being an avid gardener the owner welcomed more challenging and unique plant material. The results were amazing. The gardens are now 5 years and still remain in our care, ever changing and evolving.

The above properties have been designed and created by White Swan Properties. For more information on how you can transform your back yard into a garden oasis contact Kimberley at: (905)-725-7926 or E-mail:

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