New Year’s Resolutions for the garden

succulent wreath


The new year is almost here and with it comes my new year resolutions for my garden.

Last year, my resolution was to remove my front lawn and replace it with less thirsty plants (that I’m thrilled to say I finally did!)

This year, though, I have a few more things that I hope to accomplish in my garden.GreenBar

My vegetable bed1.  Create a bigger vegetable garden


While I currently have an area designated for growing edibles, over the years the neighbor’s acacia tree has shaded the area making it difficult for edibles to grow. GreenBarSwingset area

So this year, I’m finally going to remove my daughter’s swing-set (she’s 19, after all) and build a few vegetable beds.

I’m going to keep the fort, as I find it charming, but I’ll remove the swing area.

Now I just need to decide what type of beds to build.   GreenBar

I really like the stacked stone beds that we’ve built for my clients over the years….GreenBar

stone veg bedsstacked stone



But then again, I also like my clients redwood  beds (although, luckily, mine wouldn’t need to have deer-fencing surrounding them)GreenBarfenced in veg bedRedwood veg boxesGreenBar

fieldstone beds

Or, maybe I’ll keep it simple and create smaller, stacked field stone beds.  While they’re lower to the ground and don’t have a ledge to sit on, they tend to  blend easily in with the garden (and are definitely less expensive!)

Decisions, decisions…

I think I’m leaning towards the taller stacked stone beds shown in the first photo for my own garden.



Soil ammendments2.  Take better care of my soil


I’m not as good about adding amendments to my garden’s existing soil as I’d like to be, so this year I hope to be more consistent.

A few weeks ago I had a load of compost and bark delivered, which we spread throughout my garden.  Added to this was a few bags of worm castings. GreenBarSoil prepFront gardenGreenBar

Yes, it’s back-breaking, but it’s so darn good for the soil!

We added a 1-inch layer of compost and castings throughout and topped it off with 3-inches of bark.  The bark is important as it will not only help to keep the weed population down but will also help the soil to retain much-needed moisture.

Ideally I’d do this every year or so, but it’s been at least 3 years since I’ve done this.  I can already hear my plants thanking me!GreenBarAmmendments


I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not very good about feeding my containers.

This year I vow to do a much better job and not only re-pot my poor, root-bound babies but give them regular doses of worm castings and Annie Haven’s compost tea.GreenBar


Viburnum3.  Take time to relax in the garden


While it’s easy for gardeners to say this, actually doing it is an entirely different story.  But after all I’ve gone through this year health-wise, I really want to remember to take the time to enjoy my garden and all it has to offer.   For the past few months I’ve had to ‘sit’ more than ‘do’ and while it can be frustrating at times, it’s also been really nice to appreciate my garden just as it is.

Several years ago I visited Innisfree Garden in Millbrook, New York and was so impressed by the various styles of garden seating placed here and there for visitors to use (click here to read more.)  I appreciated this so much as often large public spaces have only a few areas for weary guests to sit and appreciate the gardens.   Now that I hope to spend more time relaxing, I’m thankful that through the years I’ve included plenty of seating areas in my own garden:

Rebecca's patio copySeating areaGreenBarSmall patioShady seating areaGreenBar


And speaking of the upcoming new year – this month’s final holiday giveaway couldn’t be more timely!

UPDATE:  Congratulations Cheri – you won Debra Lee Baldwin’s calendar!  (I’ve already sent you an email asking for your home address so once I receive it, the calendar will be shipped).  Thanks everyone for participating!

Renowned succulent expert Debra Lee Baldwin has generously offered one lucky reader her latest creation – a 2015 Succulent Watercolor Calendar.  Debra is not only the go-to source when it comes to anything and everything related to succulents, but did you know she’s also a most talented artist? (click here to read a bit about her painting process)


How to enter:  For a chance to win, leave a comment here on my blog letting me know  if you have any garden resolutions this year or what you’d like to accomplish in your garden.  How easy is that?  And even though I can’t respond to giveaway blog comments (if I do, it’ll skew the random number generator), please know that I read every one and love what you have to say!

A few more details:  A random winner will be chosen by midnight Jan. 5th and contacted within 24 hours. If the proposed winner forfeits or does not claim the prize by Jan.12th, the prize will be re-awarded based on the sponsor’s sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded. Please provide your first and last name to enter this contest so I can immediately contact you if you win. The winner agrees to allow his/her first name to be mentioned in conjunction with this giveaway.

This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only, who are over the age of 18 years old. No purchase necessary to win. This sweepstakes is also void where prohibited by law (wherever that is, I’d sure hate to live there!) By entering this giveaway, you agree to these conditions.




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  • My 2015 Garden resolution(s)? Concentrate my vegetable growing in one place by creating a kind of potager using all 6 of my raised beds.

  • my #1 resolution: tackle torpedo grass every week or 2 to see if I can eliminate it. I want to install raised beds for edibles. I love the stacked stone ones pictured.

  • I am new to succulent gardening, so I hope to keep everything alive this first year. An even bigger challenge will be to NOT buy every plant or planter I see and fall in love with!

  • I love the look of the stacked beds. My resolution is to include more flowers with my succulents. I am succulent obsessed and sometimes forget how beautiful colored plants can be.

  • Did you use any particular kind of compost from Lyngso? And how about the bark?
    Many Thanks,

    • Hi Diane – This time I used Herbert Organic Compost, as well as mini mulch fir bark to spread over everything once it was finished. Looks fabulous and I’m sure my plants will love it!

  • This year we are going to remove some grass and phase out the thirstier plants in the garden. I’d also like to set up a watering system using our laundry’s grey water.

  • My gardening New Year’s resolution is to remove a small failed fish pond, and replace it with a recirculating child friendly fountain and lovely plants. Might sound easy unless you knew about the many hundred + pound rocks that are in and around the pit! 🙁 When I need a break from this project I will look at the lovely eye candy photos of your blog, and hopefully feel like tackling the job again! Happy New Year’s!

  • My goal is to revamp my garden beds and get rid of all the weeds again, making my yard look like a small botanical garden which it once was before my health issues. Again there will be a pond with a small waterfall, gorgeous flowers and shrubs and wildlife. Again with my neighbors stopping by and telling me what a gorgeous yard I have and they can’t believe what a gorgeous site it is. I enjoy all the Ooo’s and Ahhh’s.

  • My resolution is to be as cheerful and adaptable as you are! I will never be as talented with your eye for beauty. I love your stacked stone design very much, but all options look lovely. I still dream of your lovely garden and your smile so I wish you the best New Year EVER!

  • I love those succulent paintings! gorgeous!
    I think the main thing I will keep in mind while planning for next year’s garden is to be ever-mindful of the drought Texas has been in. It has been 4 years (this last summer) and I’ve slowly changed my garden over to be more sensible about it. Your talking about amending the soil is something I strive for but need to push it over the top. You are an inspiration. Thank you for that.

  • For many years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to produce and market beautiful organic produce from our little farm here in Kentucky. This past November, I had to have spine surgery with which I am doing great, but will need to take time over the next year to heal. Faced with the inability to farm as I so love to do, I have decided to do what so many call it, “re-invent myself”. I am now looking forward to sharing my knowledge and passion for gardening through hands-on classes that we will be having here on the farm. I am getting so excited as plans are beginning to be put down on paper and the first workshop now has a calendar date. Feeling so Blessed!

  • To finish my stacked stone project on the house exterior, and to put my landscape and garden beds back together. After several curb appeal projects, my garden areas got quite decimated! Happy New Year!

  • In 2015 I plan on expanding my raised beds and also redoing an area for planting that has been neglected. The watercolors look beautiful!

  • I will be putting more effort towards the veggie garden and helping my granddaughter to learn to garden.

  • Where to start!? Feeding my soil better, relaxing more, putting in more garden to replace the hated Bermuda! Does the list ever change!? ;). Wishing you a joyous and happy and healthy New Year! Oh! I’ve just now started my blog which has almost nothing on it but someday it will and I’ve wished for that for years! ❤️

  • My goal is to increase the density of my garden. My wish, however, is for you to be cancer-free.

  • Oh my goodness. Decisions! Decisions! So many beautiful alternatives. I love the idea of raised beds and multiple seating areas. I can hardly wait to see what edibles you choose and how/where you incorporate them into your garden. Nothing beats fresh, home grown veggies. Big hugs!

  • I hope to become more tolerant of weeds and insect damage as I strive to decrease the number of chemicals used in the yard (especially those we’ve come to rely on for lawn care). And I plan to continue replacing lawn with native plants and edibles.
    I love those stacked stone beds, so maybe I should experiment with a few of those too.
    Hoping you’ll continue to remind us to take time to relax and enjoy the garden, as so many of us gardeners seem to get caught up focusin g on garden chores that still need to be done, instead of taking time to reflect on how much we’ve accomplished as our gardens continue to evolve over time.
    What a wonderful giveaway. I love Debra’s watercolors and photos. The variety of colors and textures she combines in her designs are wonderful!

  • I always enjoy seeing photos of your garden. I think the stacked stone beds would be a beautiful addition to your vegetable garden and I love that you’re leaving your daughter’s fort in place. (In fact, I’d love to add a fort to my own!) My own resolutions for the coming year include extending the dry stone wall in one area of garden, renewing the soil in my vegetable garden beds and getting something started there, and creating a new visual boundary at the bottom of our back slope to add privacy. I expect I’ll also continue to remove lawn but, as we’re still exhausted from our last effort, that may wait a while longer.

    As I already won an earlier draw, I should be knocked out of the running if the number generator picks me again (despite my sincere appreciation of Debra Lee Baldwin’s work!). Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year Rebecca!

  • I want to enjoy the garden more, and feed it with good compost that I am making!
    I love to turn the compost and see all of the worms!! Yes!!!

  • Succulants – my favorite! Can’t wait to learn more about how to propagate this year. What can I leave outside to Winter-Over in Zone 5, etc. Going to check out Debra Lee Baldwin as my first step. Thank You, and God Bless you in your journey to total recovery this year.

  • My goal for 2015 is to build up my soil with good compose and take time to enjoy the garden after a good day of working in it. IM IN THE GARDEN.

  • I think the sitting and really SEEING what is happening in your garden is the most important thing. Enjoy the twining vines, the little Bushtits ringing their little bell songs. Watch the butterflies and smell the scents. Soak it all in to give you strength for the hard times. You’ll be able to close your eyes, take a deep breath, exhale, do it again, and visualize the peaceful and joyous garden you and Tom have created.

    Who can resist drystone stacked walls? I love them. I also love that CoreTen, but it doesn’t go with your more traditional style.

    Sending love, love,


  • Gardening resolutions. What fun! I plan to spend more time in my front yard garden, which is frequented by deer and wild turkeys and not nearly as much fun to garden. Since we will retire this year we will have much more gardening time! I also need to redo some paths that have worn down over the years.

  • I want to transform my front yard into a cottage garden to compliment my cottage style house. It currently is very bland and unappealing. .

  • This year I will be patient to see how my plantings from last year are doing. I have a vole and rabbit population that is sharing my garden with me and many generous gardening friends have shared plants with me so my gardening budget isn’t sky high from plant purchases to replace plants and I can see what plants the critters might leave alone.

  • I join in your resolution to feed my soil more. I have been pretty hit or miss with it the last few years. My other resolutions are starting more flowers from seed and clearing out under all of the fruit trees in order to feed and mulch.

  • Hello Rebecca, great article, and great resolutions! How wonderful that you have a new space to design and create in your own garden. I look forward to your gardening adventures in 2015! much love to you always, Sabrina

  • I love all of your “edible garden” ideas! I am going to finish my edible garden this year too. It is 2000 sq. feet of raised beds! Lot of produce in my future! And it is going to be all put on drip watering on a timer! Yay!

  • My resolution is to build a rain garden for my church. It’ll help an area of poor drainage, plus educate people about the benefits of rain gardens.

  • My neighbors have put in a fence to keep their dogs in their yard and not in mine! I need to soften it on my side and hope to put in plants for the pollinators and butterflies. I am also poor at feeding containers and so taking care of them would be high on my list. I wish everyone a happy, growing year!

  • My garden goal for 2015, like you, is to relax more in the garden. Plus my goal every year, discover and plant a new flower (or maybe this year a succulent).

  • Rebecca-
    Lovely post. My vote is for the stone stacked beds….for purely visual reasons. Quite frankly, I’ve never seen them before and they are stunning. Fran

  • I want to get several tons of mulch to go on all of my flower beds and improve the soil and the appearance.

  • In my herb garden I have a wine bottle wall – this year I will use many, many used corks for mulch – perfect pairing, don’t you think? My friends are already saving corks for this recycling project.

    • i would love to see a picture of the wine bottle wall! Love the cork mulch with that! How fun!

  • I’d like very much to continue this year’s goal: to get better educated about earth-friendly remedies for plant diseases and pests.

    (Love Annie Haven’s moo poo tea!)

  • I wasn’t physically able to garden last year like I had done previously. This coming year will be different. I want to create a new herb garden for starters!

  • I actually will be moving to a new home next year, so my resolution was to have the gardens here looking good so I can sell my house easier.(By the way, I vote for the first raised beds with the stacked stones… all 3 are beautiful but my back would appreciate the height and my butt the seat! Back to the resolution… In preparation, I spread the rest of my mulch finally… before the snow set in!

  • I love those tall stacked beds, Rebecca. I received Annie’s tea today, and look forward to using it when our new gardening season begins. It was a very difficult year for me, too, with sever health issues, so I did not achieve all of last year’s resolutions. I think the most important one is to find time to enjoy the garden. I’m really going to focus on that. Wishing you a happy and HEALTHY new year. P. x

  • My goal this year is to plant more pollinator attracting plants with my edibles-especially milkweeds. Last year was not as productive and I believe this will improve my garden and attract more wildlife.

  • What exciting resolutions, can’t wait to see this year’s make-over. That’s great that you are keeping the fort…I think both little ones and adults can enjoy it especially in your serene garden. Happy digging!

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