Getting Inspired for Next Spring: Collecting Landscaping Ideas and Starting a Compost Bin!

Inspired by my post the other week about what’s been sprouting up in my yard—and also notably about what hasn’t, since our yard is mostly leaves and weeds, as I attested to here—I’ve had an itch to learn more about natural gardening and landscaping so that next year, I can do something about the tangle of weeds and leaves that is our yard.

Exhibit A:

The thing is that our yard is pretty big and there’s nary a blade of turf grass on it; some spots of ornamental grass but no vast expanses like most yards. It’s also really shady, thanks to the huge number of trees that shade our house. (Though I’m not by any means complaining—that’s one of the things I love best about our lot! And they’ve proven to keep our house quite cool this summer!)

Exhibit B:

But the ample shade does pose its own challenges to landscaping a yard, so I turned to our trusty library and checked out a couple of books for some inspiration and ideas: Making the Most of Shade and Natural Landscaping. The thing that I like about both of these books is that they aren’t your typical garden-till-your-fingers-and-green-thumbs-fall-off sort. Instead, they are much more of a laissez-faire approach to gardening, following the lead of Mother Nature and her gardening techniques.

They talk about how to pick plants that thrive in shade, how to make the most of ground cover, how to create your own natural landscapes (like a meadow or a butterfly garden or a bird-attracting garden!!) into spots throughout your yard.

Well, that got me going! I started taking notes and looking around our yard, thinking of how things could be arranged and transplanted and pruned anew. I even dug up some of the daffodil bulbs that had sprouted in the oddest of places and replanted some for next spring in some more attractive locations in our yard that should also give them more sunlight, so I think they’ll last longer. (I noticed that this year, they petered out once the trees’ leaves overhead started bursting forth.)

Of course none of this will happen very quickly, but it’s inspiration taking root. And part of making those become reality is that to do so, I’ll need plenty of healthy soil for any new plantings I’ll be adding. One book recommended using compost if you can find it, and that’s actually something I’ve been meaning to try, since I already store and bag our food waste scraps up separately anyway.

So, I did some research (sources here, here, and here) and created a super-easy compost bin that is now sitting behind our back deck. I’ve only just started adding stuff to it, but I’m hoping that with regular additions and maintenance (you have to turn or mix it every month or so) that I’ll have a decent amount of fresh soil for spring. At least enough to start work on transforming even the smallest corner of this woodland wilderness of ours!

Related Posts
More Exploring The Beauty in My Backyard, March Edition
Starting a Container Vegetable Garden


  1. Love all those trees! It reminds me of a house I lived in in Oregon. Our tiny little townhouse grass patch of a backyard is so sad, ha. I really should at least get some potted flowers or something!

    1. I feel ya. Even though we've got lots of space, there's still PLENTY to do. But I figure there's also plenty of time, so I'm not beating myself up about our wild-looking yard just yet!

  2. Just getting those leaves off the lawn (or lack there of) will do wonders. Also I've found in our tree filled yard that some of them could go. I was shy about it in the start but every year another bunch are taken out. We still have a ton of trees left and quite a bit of shade too. My favorite part now is how we can see the sun peaking through at different parts of the day.

    1. Thanks for the tips. I don't think we'll worry about the leaves just yet. Besides, it's just dirt under there! Not sure how attractive that is either :)

  3. With a little bit of cleaning and intense landscaping, your house will definitely shine. It's beautiful but that beauty is not very visible in these pictures. Have you started the landscaping project yet? I look forward to seeing the progress you have made.

    Matt Kucik @ Meridian Landscapes

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