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Week 1: The Six Week Yard Transformation Challenge


Welcome to Week One of the 6 Week Yard Transformation Challenge, hosted by my friend Nat at Simple Family-Crazy Life. Nat is starting her second round of the challenge for those of us in colder climates. You can check out her front yard in the first round.

The snow has just barely finished melting here so this week I’ll be showing you all the projects I hope to accomplish.  Will I finish them all? Probably not.  But this six week challenge is good motivation to get as many as I can done.

My house is a fixer upper inside and out.  Our yard was so overgrown that it took us nine hours last year to get our garden space into growable condition.  Yes. . . you read that right. . . 9.  You can see last year’s transformation here.

I’ve been working hard on tackling the overgrowth, so now that I’ve been in this home for my third summer I can start to make it look beautiful.

Create More Growing Space

Shrubs are nice and all, but I’m a garden blogger and I need every inch of space I can get to grow flowers and vegetables.  We installed these cheap garden boxes last year and are going to remove the potentillas to make way for some more.

Speaking of removing shrubs. . . .

Down with Shrubs!

This is the front of our house.  You can’t really see it because the shrubs have taken over.  I plan on removing all the shrubs and replacing them with more interesting ones that don’t grow as tall.  I’d also like to replace the stair case and make it face forward, but that probably won’t happen until next year.

Related: Curb Appeal in a Weekend

Speaking of the stairs. . .

Repaint the Staircase

The paint job is only two years old, but this is our primary entrance and it had to endure a bathroom renovation and being ripped apart to fit in a baby grand piano.

Let’s head over to the backyard. . .

Create an Inviting Patio Space

Currently the patio is full of the ghosts of outdoor projects past.  I want to re-stain everything, add vertical planters, and make it somewhere you actually want to be.  Here’s my inspiration.

Related: Blue and White Patio Inspiration

Stain (and Rebuild) the Fence

This area is actually fairly cute once everything is up, but the fence and shed need a good Staining.  And I should probably fix that screen I’ve been meaning to fix for the last two years.

P.S. Can we also talk about my serious case of greenhouse envy over the fence?  I’d really like that here, but I don’t really have room for it.

Need help planning your backyard this Spring? Get my downloadable 5 year backyard planner.  It’s a simple system that will help you prioritize what to do and keep you organized.

This portion of the fence is currently being held up by two trees and a sad looking pole.  We’re going to rebuild it with our neighbours, but that might not happen during the challenge.  This is also the one flower bed that I still haven’t got to clearing out.  When I do, I’ll probably get rid of the lawn and extend my garden space.

Extend the Garden

Last year I had a tough time finding space for everything I wanted to grow.  Each year I plan to extend our growing area just a little bit more, until we’ve gotten rid of most of our lawn.  We live in a spot that’s two blocks away from a park and where it’s pretty normal to not have a lawn.

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Work in the Compost and get the Current Garden Space Ready

Right now, my garden looks like a terrible mess.  Within that terrible mess lies the makings of a nutrient rich soil.  I’ve been throwing my kitchen scraps on the space all winter, and I’ve covered it with rotten leaves to help with the smell.

Once the ground dries up, I’ll work it all in.

That also leads me to my last project:

Figure out a Better System of Making Compost!

While my composting efforts have increased, I really need a better system for making it happen.  I also want to set up a rain barrel for collecting water.

So that’s everything I want to try and accomplish this Spring!  Wish me luck!

What’s on your yard and garden wish list this year?

Planning out your yard or garden this year?  I have some great resources for you!



Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

P.S. First time gardener? You'll want to download the quick start gardening guide below!