Steps to Convert a Yard into a Garden

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I am so excited to share the steps to convert a yard into a garden. No matter how large or small the space is, the end product is one that will change the way you live in your home. I never thought that the journey of changing the every day yard produced by a Developer would transform my life in such an impactful way. Even a cookie cutter home can be transformed and change the way you live every day.

Garden corridor view and lady bug on finger to show yard into a garden transformation.

Converting a yard into a garden is a matter of planning ahead. We will explore how to think of the space and understand how you use it, soil composition, sun exposure and begin planning. Let’s explore!

Are you ready to leave the fear behind and get your hands dirty?!

Now, I am so excited for you, this post will provide your with confidence to begin digging.

Convert a yard into a garden living room set up.
New Living Area!
The before image of the living room area.
Original Yard at outdoor living area.

The secret garden has been one of my favorite projects! The challenge of working on a narrow yard is interesting. The goal is to make this area special, a specific goal that will be different from the rest of your garden. For me it was to introduce blue flowers, play with height without using trees that may provide too much shade.

Convert a yard into a garden showing the after of the garden.
Secret Garden Today

Creating an Entrance with an arch makes this it own oasis and at the end introduce a focal point. For us it was a shed for all of our tools.

Convert a yard into a garden.  Before Photo of the secret garden.
Future Secret Garden Space.

Where to Start when you Convert a Yard into a Garden?

Don’t think of a yard as just a space to plant and look pretty, but a place that becomes a ‘Cocoon’ and will nurture your soul. I don’t think anything has impacted my life so much as the day that I decided to transform my little yard and prove that you can not only just have flowers, many flowers, but you can produce food and impact the ecology in a positive way.

This blog post is going to guide and encourage the small yard gardener to take it to the next level and not only convert a yard into a garden, but incorporate your every day habits and create your ‘Cocoon’.

Convert a yard into a garden 1.  Table setting for a gathering with fruit.
Gatherings in the garden are one of the best outcomes of successfully planning.
Detail of table behind sofa
Introduce different pots to Anchor your Seating Area.

Learn what a Garden offers you and in turn Nature

Sala and chives in a colander.
Plants can become a beautiful display in your garden and part of a delicious meal, like Chives.
  • Extension of your Home: Your garden will become an extension of your home. You will not only live every day indoors, but many of the functions you can do indoors can be now performed in the great outdoors.
  • Impact to the Environment: You will have an opportunity to impact ecology by using organic products, creating the right environment for pollinators and an oasis for birds.
  • Grow your own Food: This is the best of turning a yard into a garden! Growing your own food. With food so expensive these day, turning your yard into a garden that produces food is one of my favorite ones. Whether you are growing by buying seedlings at the store or growing seeds, there is nothing like it!
  • Gathering Space: I live in the PNW and rain is not an enjoyable part of this beautiful place. But when the weather is great, family and friends always gather in my garden’s seating area.
  • Explore and Learn about Plants and Food: You do not need to be an expert to covert lawn into a garden. The internet and others in the amazing gardening community offer so much information. You will discover the endless possibilities that will be the most fun you will ever have. A life full of color and songs of nature!
Convert Yard into a Garden Butterfly Bush with bee.
A Butterfly Bush brings beautiful bumble bees.
Lady Bug on flights with wings open.
Lady Bugs will become your Friend!

You do not need to be an Expert!

I have to start here, do not think you need to be an expert or that you need to have a green thumb to grow a garden.

No, I am serious!

You follow the process and soon will have an oasis.

Convert a yard into a garden.  View of flower and potting bench in the distance.
My potting bench area is one of my favorite corners in the garden today.

I am self taught and you do not need perfection, you just need to think of the gardening experience as an opportunity to explore and experiment.

Failure is not failure, it is an opportunity to try again. Let me say this again; Failure is an opportunity to try again and it provides you with more knowledge.

Converting your lawn into a garden will make for those times that a plant may not survive or be happy. But know that your can easily find out the why. Does it need more sun, a fertilizer or some help with pollinating.

I am so excited for you because to see your garden transform is such an amazing feeling!

Covert your yard into a garden with vegetables.
With so many types of seeds in the market, growing food is easy and rewarding!

Learn how to grow save tomato seeds on my blog post, HOW TO SAVE TOMATO SEEDS FOR NEXT YEAR FOR BEGINNERS! READ HERE!

3 Main Items to think of when you Convert a Yard into a Garden

  • PLANNING: Create a list of your goals; trees, plants, flowers, food you want to grow. Check out my post ‘+10 Favorite Gardening Tools for a Better Gardening Experience for steps on garden planning.
  • SUN / SHADE: Observe the different zones of your yard at all seasons and track the sun pattern to select the plants that will be best for sun, shade or partial shade.
  • SOIL: It is not a matter of just removing your lawn to begin the garden. If I have to select the most important thing to do when converting a yard into a garden, this is it. Prepare your soil, amend and build the beds with the correct soil and compost in order to make it flourish. You will find more information on soil, compost, worms and worm castings.
Floor Plan Sketch
Original sketch and then the garden continued to transform.

The sketching will provide the basis of your most critical elements, but as you continue to understand the garden, sun, your needs, plants you love, how much you want to produce in food and more, the garden will continue to transform. For example, I have fallen in love with dahlias and removed some of the plants on my beds to make space for my passion for dahlias.

What are the 2 items that will give you an advantage?

  • GROW VERTICALLY: When you convert a yard into a garden and grow food in a small area, growing food vertically is going to produce so much more food. You can accomplish this by using panel trellises, arch trellises or tiered planters. Check out my post ‘+10 Favorite Gardening Tools for a Better Gardening Experience. You will learn about my favorite vertical tiered planter.
  • WATER: This is so critical in converting a yard in a garden, but not in the way you think. You may be saying, water? What, why, is not a flower? Hear me out; Pollinators need water, not only birds need water, butterflies; solitary bees, bumble bees, moths and more. You are creating an ecosystem that will work for you and give you so much back! I know I am not a fan of hand pollinating everything, much rather have them do it for me. Whether you do a pond or add a bird bath, they just need a water source.
Convert a yard into a garden pond view.
The pond, a Pollinator Heaven.

Yes, you can try to have the most beautiful trees and flowers, but if you don’t build from the foundation up, your garden will not be successful. Simple steps to creative your amazing garden space.

Create a Cozy Space when you Convert a Yard into a Garden.

Live Outdoors!

Let’s be real, if we don’t feel cozy, we won’t use the space.

I love to bring my computer outside to work or grab a book and a blanket or even better, enjoy that fire pit while sipping wine. Convert a yard into a garden and it will provide you with endless opportunities.

Can you see yourself already?

I may need to take a break from typing to get a glass of wine and enjoy it in front of my fire pit. It is heaven! Check out my post ‘Easy Steps to Create a Cozy Home’. READ HERE!

Remember that this is now a garden not just a yard. Go make it your own ‘Cocoon’ to enjoy it whether alone or with others.

View of water container with orange and lemon slices in it.

Take the Leap to harvesting soon!

Convert your lawn into a garden and soon you will be harvesting food and flowers. I can’t find a better pleasure than to have a handful of lettuce or bring in beautiful dahlias to enjoy or a basket of hand picked salad greens at every dinner!

Have you read, ‘HELP! My DAHLIAS are not blooming! / MY FAVORITES!’. READ HERE!

hand holding salad green harvest.
When you taste your home grown food, you will never want grocery store bought!

Bring Color!

Go take the first steps, it will change your life!

It certainly changed my life’s journey. It is bliss!

Tell me, are you starting your garden?

Join the ‘Cocoons’ to get notifications of future posts. Please leave a comment, I respond to all of them!

Your Cocoon Awaits you!

Don’t leave yet!

Come visit for more in growing your garden or homestead!

The Everyday Farmhouse

Peacock Ridge Farm

Stacy Ling Bricks n’ Blossom

From Farmhouse to Florida

Feet under My Table

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24 Comments

  1. You have made use of every inch of your backyard space. What you’ve done is lovely! It’s wonderful that you not only planted plants to enjoy their blooms but you also plant vegetables to feed your family.

  2. I have always loved a garden but, getting all these ideas to make it more like my dream is just great. Thank you.

  3. Wow, that is amazing! We live in an old beach community and the properties are tiny. In our old home we had the same kind of narrow area you have transformed. We had lovely plants there, but nothing like you have created. I wish I had this post back then! It’s fabulous!

  4. Your garden is so gorgeous! Who would ever even know that your yard began with such humble beginnings! That lavender topiary is so gorgeous – I’ve got to get one for my garden! Pinned!

  5. I’m so inspired by your yard! I have a long way to go but you my friend have lit a fire 🔥 in my soul that has been smoldering for years. I have missed my yard so much. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to the next post.

    1. Thank you my sweetest of friends! It is a labor of pure love to me, just love every minute of it. Well, except catching slugs! LOL!

  6. Wow Melba! You created a really amazing space! It is definitely inviting. It is one thing to have seen your garden in snippets on Instagram, but to then read this post and see the humble beginnings makes me appreciate it all the more!

    1. Thank you so much Marie! It has been a huge amount of work, but in the end it is so worth it. A tiny yard but gives so much!

  7. Love your arbor and your garden… wishing I had a green thumb like so many out there… unfortunately, this gal has a black thumb!

    1. Thank you so much Cara! You make me laugh. I promise, it is a lot easier than you think. Honestly, so much information is available to find anything you need. I can help if you want a garden and answer questions for you. Also, so many plants are soooooo easy to get them to grow. My garden is heaven to me, just feels the coziest.

    1. Thank you Leslie! So happy you enjoyed it. The sketch was way at the beginning, I think the garden has transformed so many times since, but it was such a helpful piece of planning.

    1. Thank you so Maria! You are so very kind. It has been a labor of huge amount of love.

    1. Thank you Jane, so happy that you like to see the transformation. I was excited as I was going back to see where it all started.

  8. Omg! Gorgeous! Do you make house calls,m would love to replicate in my yard…thinking of adding a water feature. Love your ideas!

    1. Thank you Michelle! I could use a trip!!! LOL! But I can help, you know I am always here and facetime is grand!

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