I wrote this for an online mag, but I may have missed the deadline. So I thought I’d share it with my readers instead.
I wrote about my front yard garden, as it’s been a topic much on my mind lately. I thought today was the perfect day to post this as this evening we will be receiving 2nd place in the Pride of PoCo garden awards. There is going to be a reception at city hall with awards to be handed out during the council meeting. I’m looking forward to meeting and talking with the other winners!
Plant talk, a chance to talk politics and hors d’oeuvre. Yes, it will be a good day!
With houses being designed with denser populations in mind, space is becoming a limited commodity. Houses are being built with minimal to no space to call a backyard. Leaving little room to enjoy the outdoors, let alone keep a garden. Yet in neighborhoods across
From boulevards to window boxes people are catching on. Utilizing a prime growing space right in their front yards. With everything from vegetable gardens to front yard retreats, homeowners are taking back their land, digging up their grass and thinking outside of the box.
Create a retreat right at your front door.
Turning up my street, home is always a sight for sore eyes. No matter what they day has brought, I know that here is a place where beauty, love and family co mingle. By investing myself into transforming my front yard, I have created not only a passion that helped turn the course of my life, but a place of constant wonder and imagination for my children, the neighborhood and the wildlife around us.
This year my front perennial garden was entered into and received second place in the Pride of Port Coquitlam Garden Awards. This city run contest judges the curb appeal of front yard gardens. It was amazing to see the variations in style and plantings. What other’s are doing to keep their entries so warm and inviting. My city has rightly seen the benefits from encouraging homeowners and residents to help beautify their communities through creative use of plantings. The visual impact of these gardens does wonderful things for the spirit of a neighborhood, and community pride.
Although at its prime through the summer months, my garden also has seasonal interest. Creating food and shelter for the bugs, birds and local wildlife. A necessary part of a healthy community.
Our front yard renovations were born out of necessity. Once wild and overgrown, I removed the weeds and rid the yard of the invasive blackberry bush, to find a blank canvass in need of attention. Looking back, this was a turning point. We could have dug out the old cedar stump and gone the traditional suburban lawn route. Instead without knowing quite why, I started planting and planning a perennial garden. In that order.
Over the last 5 years the garden has really come together. It has undergone a remarkable transformation. At one point or another, we have dug up almost every inch of the earth around us. One of the biggest challenges was the numerous utility covers dotting the grass. Fallout from a large scale drainage project. By landscaping a strip of river rock between my driveway and grass, I was able to hide a problem and turn the solution into a feature. Now potted creations help transition the space and the kids decorate with stones. Building inukshuks in the rocks.
Doing the work yourself can save a tremendous amount of money. Its hard work, but the rewards are worth it. Think of your garden as a home gym, just waiting to school you in the art of nature. Still experience is an asset. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or hire an expert. When we renovated the front yard we may have done all of the sweat work ourselves, but we also made sure to bring in the professionals when needed. In our case, a plumber assisted us through the project. When city connections are involved, it’s best to make sure they get done right!
So how to begin? The best way to start planning your garden is to write a list of all of the things you want from the space. Will this just be a pass through to the front door, or are you looking for a place to entertain? Maybe your vision has something cozier. A lounger tucked into the foliage for a quiet spot to read and enjoy a good book! A play area for the kids?
Make sure while dreaming to keep grounded in reality. There are always things in your yard you can’t change. This doesn’t have to be a negative, rather an opportunity for creative solutions. Are there utilities to hide? Put up a trellis and allow a climber to create the visual pop that will hide them away. Loud busy road? How about adding a water feature to screen the noise? Find the flaws and look for way to turn them into a feature. Plant a yard appropriate tree to screen pollutants, or block the sightline of an ugly garbage can.
However keep in mind that gardening is a continuing adventure. Allow for changes to your master plan as you and your garden grow together. Plants come in and out of fashion. You never know what’s just around that corner!