Our Blue Cottage Backyard Jungle — The Before

by Dagmar Bleasdale on May 22, 2015

Blue Cottage Backyard, DagmarBleasdale.comDo you know what this is?

It’s our backyard that I haven’t shown you yet.

Because it’s a jungle! I mean, do you see those jungle vines high up in the trees?

The only thing that’s missing is Mogli.

And that is a plastic table, with a water-proof tablecloth, and three plastic chairs. I put stones on them recently when it was really windy and haven’t removed them yet.

They are sitting on four left-over pallets and an outdoor carpet that Landon and I pulled into the backyard a few weeks ago to make a temporary “deck.” Can you say frugal DIY?

Blue Cottage Backyard Jungle

Blue Cottage Backyard, DagmarBleasdale.comThis picture makes it look so idyllic, but check out what we look at every day from our kitchen window: tree stumps.

040And overgrown greenery. But believe me — seeing it like this is a pure pleasure compared to seeing it all without leaves in the winter.

041We have so much to do in our yard around the whole house, I break into nervous giggles just thinking about it.

This is so far from the English cottage garden I grew up in.

But on the other hand, it’s also a lot of fun to plan and work on.

So I decided to share this jungle with you to start blogging about little projects I’m going to tackle that will slowly make this into our dream garden — on a budget.

Blue Cottage Backyard, DagmarBleasdale.com

The one highlight in our backyard is this tree. Every time it blooms with those pretty white flowers, I’m so glad we didn’t get rid of it.

When we first bought the Blue Cottage, it was a little sad, half-cut down tree, but it has matures into a really pretty tree that gives us extra shade.

Anyone know what kind of tree this is? It looks especially pretty from Landon’s room, the big window on the second floor.

This is a picture I took of the Blue Cottage a few days ago, before we added the fab DIY porch curtains.


I’ve never started a garden or done any landscaping before, so doing it for our cottage is a first. I didn’t do much last year, just some container gardening.

Half of the plants on the side of the house are big weeds, but I don’t mind. As long as it’s not poison ivy, I don’t care — less plants for me to buy!

021aI’ve had these two wood chairs on the porch and must have covered them 50 times by now to keep them out of the rain, even though I want to get rid of them.

The Goodwill near us doesn’t accept furniture right now, they didn’t sell during my tag sale, so I finally put them on the side of the house, with a ferns and bird house on them.

I was inspired by my post about cottage gardens — they often incorporate weathered furniture. I don’t mind if they get destroyed out there, and they’ll add to our cottage decor until then.

This week, I plan to get rid of the extra pallet and gardening tools you see at the back of the house.

016aThis is what our flower beds in front of the porch look like since I worked on them last weekend.

Some weeds, two trees I need to plant somewhere else, and you wouldn’t believe where these roses come from. I’m reserving that reveal for another blog posts.

043aI’m going to add more plants this weekend, and then mulch.

I also need to find a prettier trellis to cover the open space under the house. These pieces were just leftover from when the house was built, and I just stuck them there.

So. Much. To. Do.

Have you ever started a garden/backyard from scratch? How did it go, and how long did it take?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Tania May 23, 2015 at 9:30 AM

I enjoyed seeing these pictures, it helps to see what it looks like before to appreciate the projects and after shots! My backyard is a mess too and I’ve started working on it too. It’s a bit overwhelming when you look at it as a whole so I just have to focus on one little piece at a time! lol!



Dagmar Bleasdale May 26, 2015 at 11:23 PM

Thanks for coming by, Tania! It feels good to know that I’m not in this alone :) I’m actually having a great time – one project at a time.


Rita C at Panoply May 23, 2015 at 8:45 AM

Oh Dagmar, this post is inspiring! You will one day look back on this and sigh a big breath of relief that it’s done!
I can’t tell exactly from the photo, but your tree looks to be some variety of dogwood. The Kousa (Japanese) dogwood blooms later than what we know as the traditional one, and its petals are more pointed. Could it be that?
I just finished (yesterday) helping my youngest daughter replant an overgrown landscape bed along her driveway/walkway of her first home. We had a lot of fun, she was psyched and said she learned so much, but it took us 6 hrs to purchase, dig, plant, and rock mulch just 6 plants! She & her husband had already spent 4 hrs raking out old pea gravel beds and pulling out the old plants. It’s so much work, and the key is to pace your energy, work early and/or later in evening when the sun is not so hot. Good luck and have fun!


Dagmar Bleasdale May 26, 2015 at 11:25 PM

Hi Rita, thanks for your sweet comment! I already finished adding some trellis to the bottom of the porch, so little by little, this yard of ours will get nicer.


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