I moved into a new house in August and couldn’t stand the front yard. I got to work right away at adding some curb appeal. It wasn’t hard at all! The photo below was 7-8 hours work and $200 (being the end of the season, I got some great deals!)

At the beginning….


The Steps:

  1. Choose your Space – Consider location, snow piles, dog’s peeing, ease of mowing, postman paths and kid routes.
  2. Plan and Design – Iscape and other apps, use other gardens for inspiration, be realistic about the size and maintenance
  3. Utilities Check – Ontario One Call!
  4. Get Rid of the Grass – Dig it out, solarize or sheet mulching. Make sure you get rid of ALL the grass and roots
  5. Amend  the Soil – Compost made from yard waste/ vegetative matter is the best!
  6. Choose your Plants  – Consider hydrozones, choose non-invasive (watching out for “spreads easily” on the plant tag), use some native plants, shrubs are a must have and VERY low maintenance, look for drought tolerant, hardy perennials.
  7. Mulch –  natural products are the best (wood chips, cedar, pine bark), 2-3 inches
  8. Efficient Irrigation – water only when necessary – use your finger to see if the soil is dry down 2-3 inches before adding any water), check the forecast!

Digging the edge…


The Plants I used (although the weren’t planted in the “after” photo below”:

Daffodils – Narcissus

Purple Coneflower – Echinacea Purpea

Sedum Autumn Joy “Purple Emperor”

Dwarf Goatsbeard – Aruncus aethusfolius

Coral Bells – Heuchera “Peach Flambe”

The Shrubs:

Tiger Eye Sumac – Rhus Typhina “Tiger Bailtiger”

Ninebark – Physcocarpus opulifolius “Diablo”

Emerald Cedar – Thuja occidentalis “Smaragd”

Golden Globe Cedar – Thuja occidentalis”Golden Globe”

 Almost done….


What I wanted to Plant if I had more sun….

Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia

Allium – Allium Spp – they are all great but have to be planted in the fall

Butterfly Weed – Asclepias tuberosa

Variegated Iris – Iris Pallida “variegata”

 Time and Water: Precious resources wasted on the pursuit of a green lawn!

How to save money on your new garden?

  • ˜Fall Discounts – up to 50%, but no warranty…
  • ˜Donations from friends– but be CAREFUL!
  • ˜Buy bulk mulch and compost
  • ˜Investment plants; shrubs and perennials – no annuals
  • ˜Less watering needed when planted in the fall – and choosing drought tolerant plants and shrubs means less/no watering next year!
  • ˜Reuse the existing plants until fall sales start (if you are impatient like me…)
Its not that hard, let me know if you have any questions!
Happy Gardening!


From my seminar “20 Easy Plants” …

20 Easy Plants

Enjoy, and please let me know if you have any questions info@rmsi.ca or post a comment below.

Feel free to follow this blog for more info on smart, sustainable landscapes that are easily maintained and don’t need a lot of water, if any!


Daffodils, or as my niece used to call them “Dapp-o-diwls”, are my favorite bulb for many reasons. Yes, the tulip comes in a variety of colours, but Daffodils are perfect for my easy-peasy gardening regime.

Little drops of sunshine

Some of the reasons I love daffodils and why I am encouraging you to plant some now, before it gets too cold:

  • They are one of the first flowers to show up in the spring. I equate them to little drops of sunshine after a long, dreary winter.
  • Unlike tasty, nutritious tulips, squirrels do not like daffodils, so they do not get eaten or moved by our furry little friends.
  • They are done their blooming by the time your other perennials start to shine. I always hated waiting for my tulips to go brown before  cutting  them back; I always saw the post-bloom tulips as messy, brown, ugly spots on my fresh, green spring garden. Daffodils are great for stepping out of the way early so the rest of the garden can take front stage. How kind of them!
  • They are the favourite flower of one of my best friends, Jen. She doesn’t really like gardening, but loves these beauties.
  • They are water efficient. They do not need any other water other than what Mother Nature provides. They look after themselves.
  • Daffodils are a symbol for the Canadian Cancer Society. Buy your daffodils in the spring to support the fight against cancer.
  • They are great for your garden budget. The bulbs are fairly inexpensive, and they come back year after year.
  • You can “layer” the bulbs with later blooming plants in your garden. Because they are a small bulb, they will not take up much space in your garden. Daffodils can be planted very close to each other, and close to perennials and small shrubs, without having to worry about overcrowding.

So get out there and plant your daffodils, now, before the cold weather arrives. You will thank me next spring.  Alliums also meet many of the criteria above, and the bulbs can only be planted in the fall, why not pick up a few of those too…

Allium, another great bulb to plant this fall