| | |

Side Yard Reveal!

*This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro. All opinions are 100% mine.

Last year we built our garage (which we love BTW) and added a sidewalk to connect it to the house. We also had a fence installed around the backyard, and all of that created a little triangle of secluded yard space.

My side yard needs some attention

I’m using the term ‘yard’ loosely, obviously. It looked terrible and needed some serious attention. When Miracle-Gro asked to team up this spring to complete a few outdoor projects, I knew this area was going on the list. It’s been neglected for an entire year, and that is long enough.

I wanted to turn it into a sort of “secret garden”. I saw a lot of mulch, plants, a stone path to the gate, and a bench. I also needed (yes needed) the whole area to be very low maintenance. This area is just outside the fence though, so it is susceptible to be ravished by hungry, desperate, annoying deer. And it’s not getting any drip irrigation like my garden, so it needs to drought tolerant. What’s left? I don’t know…cactus? But I have toddlers, so cactus is a no-go. Hmm…

So I packed up the gang and headed off to Home Depot in search of a few plants to fit my needs. I came home with these…

deer and drought tolerant plants

I also already plated a few plants in there that are doing great – a pomegranate tree, vitex, red yucca, and oregano.

In order to actually get these babies in the ground I invited some people over for a fun little work party.  And by “fun” I mean sweaty and by “some people” I mean my parents. They like hard work, plants, grandbabies, and food. It’s a win-win.

parents digging

I had already spread a  bunch of mulch here when we were filling the vegetable garden with mulch, so we were able to get right to digging.

Some of you live in areas where you can put a shovel into the ground, dig out some actual dirt, and plant a plant. I hope you appreciate it, because when I chip away at the ground for a while, this is what I end up with…

Digging a hole in Texas

Hence the reason for the Miracle Gro  Moisture Control Potting Mix…Texas doesn’t just give dirt away for free.

Miracle Gro moisture control soil

And so we dug, and we planted, and it was basically a hose drinkin’, pick axe swingin’ good time.

good time

(note: pick axe swingin’ in flip flops is not recommended.)

After everything was planted we added some fertilizer (Shake n’ Feed All Purpose Plant Food), watered, and went out into the yard and found a bunch of flat rocks for the path. Adam and I have spent countless hours picking up rocks in our yard, but they just keep appearing. I swear they are using my yard as a breeding ground or something, it’s ridiculous.

I had zero luck finding a bench, but I did find these two red chairs on clearance at HEB (our grocery store). They were $35 marked down to $21, which still felt kinda pricey but was way cheaper than any bench I found.

red patio chairs and a broken washer

And yes, that broken washing machine that you saw in my wood flooring countertop tutorial is still hanging around. I know I just showed you pictures of the front of my house and the washing machine wasn’t there….or was it?

washing machine behind the bush

I know, so sneaky. Do you feel a little lied to…maybe a little betrayed? You should.

And now, to make up for my little white lie, I present to you a very honest after picture of my side yard…

side yard reveal

Okay, so it’s not very garden-y. It’s not super lush or have a ton of plants.  It looks good though, which is the opposite of what it looked like before.  I’m pretty stinkin pleased with it.

Side yard makeover

the parking lot

I don’t know if you noticed in the before picture, but the area was full of plastic kid tractors. A reader on my facebook page had suggested that I add a little parking lot for them in my side yard, and I loved that idea. I had planned on making a little rectangle out of decomposed granite (what our driveway is made of), but I quickly realized that it would last maybe an hour before being scattered about and therefore non-existent. So I designated the area between the fence and the pomegranate tree as the parking lot. I’m sure they will fill it up too, cause there a whole herd of tractors still in the backyard.

secluded yard area gets a low maintenance makeover.

Here is a before and after… it look so much better.

Side yard before and after - Domestic Imperfection

I’d like to add a birdbath and I tried to make one before I had to take after pictures…but despite my best efforts all I have right now is a big fat birdbath failure.

DIY birdbath fail

I’m going to turn it into a big fat birdbath success, and when I do I’ll post a tutorial.


Similar Posts


  1. It looks great! You may already know this, but if not, lantana is very beautiful, but extremely toxic! They will grow berries that look similar to blueberries, but a little darker. We had to take our son and nephew to the hospital because we thought they had a “picnic” one day last summer. It’s not fun, and they never got sick, making me think they didn’t actually eat them, but poison control said go to the ER now. Just and FYI. Love all of your projects!

    1. I actually did NOT know that. I’ve had a couple of lantana’s in my front beds for years now…they haven’t flowered since I brought them home from the store (maybe they don’t get enough water to flower?) so don’t have berries, but the new ones have them. Thank you so much for sharing this info!

  2. Your garden looks very nice, Ashley.Every great garden has to start somewhere…looks like yours is on the right path, what a beautiful start!

  3. Ok, I really need to know about that birdbath “failure” because I’m pretty sure I love it even in 2 pieces.

    1. I love it too…now if I can just get it to become one! I’ll give you a little early info though and tell you it’s made out of an old brass lamp and a terracotta pot and saucer :)

  4. You guys did an awesome job. What an amazing difference! You must be incredibly pleased with it. (Aren’t grandparents great?)
    And I love the parking lot! Brilliant.

    1. Yes, adhesive. Bought two new kinds yesterday to try out. I also tried to get too creative on the bottom (paint-wise) and ruined it. Don’t worry though, those dirty Texas birds will be bathing soon!

  5. Back in my younger days, I think I used my chainsaw while wearing flip flops. :-O It did encourage me to spread my feet very wide apart, like you did. :-)

    Your new side yard looks great and I know the boys are going to love playing in it.

    We have a cat room at our house, with two ceiling fans and two nice windows for them to see out over our shade porch. They also have an old dryer in there (with the door removed) that they can climb on top of and also climb inside of. Very cozy when 8 cats get inside of it. :-)

    Also have a very old huge console Curtis Mathis TV, from which we removed the innards and they can climb through the hole where the tube was and have a nice hut. Nothing too good for our cats…ha ha


  6. You side yard looks fantastic. I like the red chairs but I agree it was a little pricey. As for the flip flops and the ax, you have made progress from bare feet. I still do everything with bare feet. I hate shoes so much that they distract me with annoyance when on. Is that a good enough reason to work barefoot?

    1. I’d say so! You and Adam would so not get along…he’s such a shoe nazi. We disagree all the time about putting shoes on the kids vs. leaving them barefoot!

  7. Hey Ashley, I have a great idea for you! Your side yard looks great btw. You’ve put sooo much effort into your yard trying to ‘green’ things up, but from what you say it’s nearly impossible.
    So, here’s my idea. Buy some silk plants like geraniums along with the green spikes and add some little trailing flowers, put them in an urn filled with dirt/rocks (don’t spend too many $$ on that part! hehe!) etc. No watering involved, deer don’t eat them and they should last for several years. I had a phony geranium mixed in with my real flowers and no one ever knew. I put it away for the winter and it took about 3 yrs. before it faded too badly. Or just buy some plastic greenery or flowers at the dollar store and stick them in the ground! Show your rocks who’s boss!

    1. Ellie, that is an awesome idea! No one ever expects to see fake plants outside in the dirt, so naturally everyone would assume they’re real. Such a smart (and sneaky!) girl :)

  8. You crack me up..I just discovered your blog the other day and when I read read it I laugh out loud and have to explain to curious passersby (is that a word?)….My husband or kiddos….you are great and so motivational!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *