Monday, July 9, 2012

Our Lemonade Garden

Lemonade Garden Square Banner 2 WM

Why is it a lemonade garden?

I’m sure one day I’ll sip some lemonade while sitting here enjoying the fruits of our labour (ha!), but that’s not why.

Keep reading and I’ll tell you!

For four years, we have attempted to grow grass under the enormous tree in our backyard.

Lemonade Garden Evolution Collage WM

The Timeline:

2008 – When we moved in we inherited a terrible lawn that was patchy and brown (BTW - that’s not our stuff on the lawn). This was the spot where their dog would pass the time.

2009 – The grass started off well but would die halfway through the summer no matter what kind of grass seed we bought.

2010 – Same story as 2009 (sorry, Mr. Mechanic was in the only photo of this spot that I could find).

2011 – More money than ever spent on different kinds of grass seed plus a lawn care package and still no success with growing grass under the tree!

So, at the end of last summer, we started talking about putting in a shade garden to eliminate the Grass Battle of 2012.

Then this happened:

Lemonade Garden View of Tree WM

During the very mild winter, our local hydro company did some line maintenance, trimming branches that were touching (or would soon touch) the power line that runs through our backyard.

By “trim” I mean absolutely butcher.

You would think that the new gaping hole in our tree would lead to more grass growth, but it didn’t. Time to build a garden!

We started out with a bench from Lowe’s under the tree. We bought it at the end of the summer when it was on clearance and I was the one who assembled it!

We wanted to create the garden on a bit of a budget and lucked out with some free hostas from our neighbour.

May 2012 Progress

One day our next door neighbour mentioned that she would be digging up hostas at a property that was being torn down (with permission). We happily took her up on her offer to get us some, too. All it cost us was a bag full of plastic bags that I was going to recycle anyway.

To create the garden we planned a shape with our hose (thanks, Mom) and then Mr. Mechanic shaved the top layer off the grass with a shovel, raked the soil and dug holes for the hostas. We had to work around the roots of the tree which limited the placement of some of the plants.

We eventually added a few hostas that were already planted in other gardens as well as three ferns from Home Depot (a buy two get one free perennial deal).

Before we left for the cottage I picked up a flat of begonias to add some colour to the garden. They sat on my patio waiting to be planted and must have tripled in height!

Once Canada Day weekend arrived, I finally got planting!

June 2012 Progress WM

We bought five stepping stones from Rona after searching for stones that looked like flagstone and had a variety of shapes/sizes. These are actually concrete but they look pretty convincing to me!

I suggested that we put small paver stones under the feet of the bench to keep it from sinking into the soil. Mr. M buried all of the stones just below the soil after levelling them.

The final step was mulch.

Mulch is so transformative!

With just one bag our garden stopped looking like an afterthought and started looking like a legitimate garden.

9 bags of mulch (and 4 years) later, our garden was finally finished!

Please focus your eyes on the garden and not the crispy grass!

Lemonade Garden 1 WM

Lemonade Garden 2 WM

Lemonade Garden 3 WM

Lemonade Garden 4 WM

Lemonade Garden 5 WM

Lemonade Garden 6 WM

Bench Tilted Intrepid

The garden actually receives more sun than I thought (thanks to the gaping hole!) so I am hopeful that the begonias will continue to thrive.

So, why do I call it our lemonade garden?

Because, when the hydro company gave us “lemons,” we made lemonade!

Thanks for visiting and checking out my new favourite outdoor space!

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P.S. Check out two more gardening posts here and here!

P.P.S. Look for another fun planter post later this week with something that I rescued from the cottage cleanout last year.

I link up at: Serenity Now, I {Heart} Naptime, Under The Table And Dreaming, Nifty Thrifty Things, Simply Klassic Home, Home Stories A to Z, Craftomaniac, Skip To My Lou, Not JUST A Housewife, A Bowl Full Of Lemons, Alderberry Hill, I Should Be Mopping The Floor, A Diamond In The Stuff, Creatively Living, The Winthrop Chronicles, Clean & Scentsible, Oopsey Daisy, Lil’ Luna, Someday Crafts, Live.Laugh.Rowe, The 36th Avenue, aka design, House of Hepworths, 52 Mantels, Thrifty Decorating, Crafty Scrappy Happy, How To Nest For Less, Tatertots & Jello, The Grant Life, It’s Overflowing, Lolly Jane, Too Much Time, Six Sisters’ Stuff, Positively Splendid, My {Re}purposed Life, 413 Sparrow Lane, Dragonfly Designs, Just Us Four and The Crafted Sparrow

Thank you to all the hosts!


  1. It may have taken a few years to get here, but it is gorgeous.

  2. Looks beautiful Claire! We have a patch on our front lawn that will NOT grow've given me some great ideas of what we can do instead :)

  3. how pretty! it looks like the perfect place to just sit and relax!

  4. Oh what a nice to place to sit, relax and read a book

  5. Your lemonade garden looks great! We have hostas but the hot weather we've been having has burned the leaves even though they are in the shade. The temperature was 106 last week. Begonias are such a pretty plant for the shade. Yours look very healthy and I'm sure they will thrive and be beautiful as they mature. Thank you very much for the nice comment on my blog. Please come by again. -------------Shannon

  6. Lovely Lemonade Garden! :D

    Don't you hate seeing the trees that have been butchered by the power companies? You know it makes the trees really sad to be made to look all deformed like that. I always worry when I see new trees planted under power lines because you know what their future holds. (sigh)

    At least you made your tree have happy feet and a reason to live! :D

  7. Love the garden and love the Lemons / Lemonade analogy :)

  8. Well done Claire. What a makeover! I love the stepping stones leading to the seating. I would gladly tip-toe across them and sip lemonade on your bench. : )

  9. So neat! It's beautiful!

    Make sure you stop by and share this at my Flaunt It Friday link party.
    Can't wait to see more posts.



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