One of the best additions to our Garden Makeover were these string lights from Ballard Designs.  The lights cast a beautiful ambiance at night and make the space useable after dark - a BIG plus for a weary Mommy & Daddy that want to sit and talk after the kids are down.  We purchased this type of lighting from a different company at a previous home of ours, and we were not impressed with the quality at all.  I ordered these from Ballard (after several friends recommended them), and when I received them, I was very happy with the product.  They seem much more heavy duty than our old ones, and apt to withstand the cold and rain. In all honesty, I was a little intimidated about hanging the lights, so I thought I would offer some tips we learned along the way to help those of you who may share the same sentiment. how to hang string lights

It has been really fun getting to show you all our garden we have been working on for so long.  (see article on here) It has been quite the journey these last three years, and in case you missed it, you can see all of the before pictures and read the background story in this article.

Today I thought I would talk more about the details of our garden makeover.  Keep in mind that this is where we started...

[caption id="attachment_9071" align="aligncenter" width="640"]November 2013 November 2013[/caption] And here we are now!

garden makeover

For this garden space, I really wanted a "put together organically over time" feel.  Our house was built in the early 1920's, and back in the day, this area was supposedly a beautiful rose garden.  What I really love about design is bringing life to a space, breathing art and color and texture to it.  It is so gratifying to turn something not so great into something beautiful.

Once we got the pavers set in the center of the garden (we used these 18x18 pavers from Home Depot), I was immediately imagining what I wanted the dining set to look like.

dining set outdoor

garden makeover

Well hello!  I have a big garden reveal coming up in the next couple of weeks, but I thought it might be helpful to show you where we started, and what has transpired over the last nearly three years since we started this project! I think people are afraid of gardening because they are 1. worried they are going to kill things, or 2. they think they have a black thumb, or 3. it just seems like a lot of work.  Well, the answer to number 1 is "you will", my response to number 2 is "it's all a learning process", and number 3...well, it can be.  If you go into it with the mindset of "this is a trial and error process", I think you will be much better off.  But just like with most things, a good plan is a great place to start. When we moved into our house, we loved this space (pictured below) for a future garden, but before we could get started, we needed to do other things to the house like put on a roof and have working bathrooms, haha.  This is the earliest photo I could find of the proposed garden - it is from July 2012.  You can see the chainlink fence butts into the tall wood fence.  (which was not aesthetically pleasing)  You can also see lots and lots of weeds. [caption id="attachment_9075" align="aligncenter" width="640"]before garden makeover July 2012[/caption] It really is a shame it was in such bad shape, especially after we heard that in the 1920's and 30's, this space was a lovely rose garden that people would stop by and see.  Apparently, it had quite the reputation!  The previous owners of our home used the area as a dog yard of sorts, so it looked like...a dog yard. If you have been following this site for a long time (as in since the beginning), you may remember me talking about the space as my "Dream Project". [caption id="attachment_9073" align="aligncenter" width="640"]garden before July 2012[/caption]

We tossed around some different ideas and plans and finally began the work in November of 2013.  The first order of business was to remove the chainlink fence and replace it with a fence of matching height.  Since the wood looked different (old vs. new), we decided to paint it all charcoal grey.  I thought painting the wood coupled with plants would help hide the difference in the two fences.  The ground was also tilled, the ancient laundry pole removed, and all the weeds were taken out.

[caption id="attachment_9071" align="aligncenter" width="640"]November 2013 November 2013[/caption]

This area had a non-functional sprinkler system most likely installed in the 1940's so that was all removed, and a new sprinkler system was installed. (we used drip irrigation in the outlying beds and sprinkler heads in the raised beds - drip irrigation saves water and is more cost effective!)  The plan was to create two large raised beds and a patio space for a dining table and chairs.

[caption id="attachment_9070" align="aligncenter" width="640"]November 2013 November 2013[/caption] In the next photo, you can see on the right a cost effective solution (much cheaper than wood fencing) for hiding the air conditioner, sprinkler box, and other outdoor items we need to store.  We bought those old gates at my favorite local salvage store/yard, and after support was added, they provided a very nice screen for unsightly items. [caption id="attachment_9069" align="aligncenter" width="640"]November 2013 November 2013[/caption] The gates even came painted the same color as our fence!  It was uncanny how perfectly the color matched!

fence and gate color match

I feel like I need to take a moment here and thank Robbie Young from Mansfield Landscape & Sprinkler for all of his hard work on this space.  Many of these jobs that were the basic foundation of the space were out of my husband and I's realm of expertise, and he was so diligent and easy to work with.  Highly recommend, thanks Robbie!

Shortly after we finished the garden space, and had a few plants in the ground, we got a crazy Texas ice and snow storm.  It was kind of a bummer because we ended up losing a lot of plants.  (we are not used to that kind of weather here)

[caption id="attachment_9077" align="aligncenter" width="640"] December 2013[/caption] But by January 2014, things had perked up a bit.  The garden was still pretty bare bones, but it was still winter time, and we knew we would get more plants in the ground in the spring. [caption id="attachment_9066" align="aligncenter" width="640"]January 2014 January 2014[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9064" align="aligncenter" width="640"]January 2014 January 2014[/caption] In April of 2014, we got right to work.  Last year was our first real garden experience in this house.  It was a ton of work planting and planning and researching, but it was fun, too.  We involved the kids in the raised beds planting, and they really enjoyed it.  (my husband, my dad, the green thumb of the family, and myself planted most of the plants in the main beds)