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How the Manor Came Alive

Every gorgeous garden has to start somewhere! It’s beautiful to see how each season brings new growth and transformation. When we bought our home in 2018, which we call ‘The Manor’, I knew it had the potential to be full of life. Over the years I have been executing my ideas for our home and seeing them come alive one project at a time. Come along with me on a virtual tour of The Manor’s transformation and see how you can tackle challenges like these in your own landscape.

A Quick History

We bought The Manor in 2018 from a sweet lady who had grown up there since the day it was built in 1950. When we first visited the house I knew it had great potential! There were blooming shrubs, spring bulbs, and some fun pockets of yard to create in. As you can see in the transformation photos, we got busy over the next few seasons turning it into a lush environment full of cut flowers, edibles, and a haven for sweet critters like butterflies, birds, and bees.

Project 1: Dead Stump Patch to Lively Flower Bed

Before we bought The Manor, the owners had removed a large dead tree from their yard. They had ground it down the stump, but unfortunately no grass was able to grow over that patch. I knew I wanted to make use of the space so I started by experimenting in early 2018 by adding a four inch layer of soil in hopes of planting over top. Some flowers bloomed, but unfortunately most struggled to grow as their roots went into the wood chips below.

With one unsuccessful attempt I decided to go a different route. In 2019 we designed a raised bed to cover the patch using stones that we found around the property. We filled the constructed bed with 10 inches of soil and began planting again. I swapped out the annual plants that were in there for some perennials that settled nicely into the bed. Success! With some brainstorming and creativity I was able to turn an area that most would perceive as a ‘lost cause’ into a beautiful flower bed. The bed is now full of rotating blooms that include Yellow Evening Primrose in the spring, Shasta Daisies & Cone Flowers in the summer, and Black-Eyed Susans and False Sunflowers into the fall (see below).


Project 2: English Ivy Bed Overhaul

The front corner of the Manor’s yard originally consisted of a 10’x20’ plot of weathered English Ivy. In its prime condition it didn’t look terrible… but it definitely needed an overhaul. Since it was such a large area, I wanted to make it into something more pleasing to the eye.

Just like our tree stump project, it took time to plan and execute our plan for this space. It’s important to note that this is the reality of creating your dream garden! It takes time, brainstorming, and trial/error to get exactly what you want for your space. After some thought, we decided to turn the area into a large garden bed. Initially we planted several annuals, but in the end I settled on a blend of perennials with a sprinkling of annuals for added pops of color.

Tearing out the Ivy took some manual labor, but it was worth it. Because the removal process caused the clay soil to be broken up, we didn’t need an excessive amount of soil to create the bed. We also sourced some stone to help create it and we are very happy with the way it is turning out. Gardening is a journey of exploring what works for each pocket of space in your yard!


Project 3: Overgrown Oasis to Dahlia Bed

The south side of our home (the textbook prime growth area) was a dense oasis that also held our AC unit. It was an overgrown patch of hostas, lily of the valley, english ivy, and weeds. Because we already had lots of hostas and lily of the valley on the north side of the house, we decided to completely gut it and start fresh. After the cleanup was done and soil was established, we turned it into a beautiful home for two large dahlia beds! They are currently each 6’x4’ and12’x4’ and bring lots of joy and color to our yard.


Project 4: Ugly Patch to Walking Path

Our neighborhood community is very close and friendly with each other so after some time living there we decided to create a path to allow access to our side door in order to create better flow between our home and the next. This was also so that our kids wouldn’t trample my flowers when they walked to our neighbor’s yard. See photos below for the before and after!


Project 5: Old Overgrown Shrub-line Becomes a Vegetable and Cut Flower Garden

There was a dense shrub line on the southern border of our yard when we first purchased The Manor. It was full of Rose of Sharon, a huge Holly, a large Honeysuckle, as well as a massive Forsythia. Honestly, all these plants together were a stunning combination! If they had been on the north side, I would have left them alone, but this was prime real-estate for a garden. With that goal in mind, we got hard to work the summer of 2018 to clear the area and build up a 20’x40’ garden bed. We love it! It took a few years to build up the soil, combat the weed pressure, and transform it into the lush garden haven we now enjoy every day.


Project 6: New Fencing and Trellis

When we bought our new puppy in 2020 we became very motivated to complete the fencing in our yard. We decided to add a side door and designed a trellis to become the focal point when you entered the yard. I love my trellis! Right now it supports peas, green beans, and winter squash which we get to enjoy in our seasonal kitchen.


These are six of the many projects we’ve completed at The Manor as of today and there are more to come! Gardening is an adventure, not a one time deal. That’s what makes it so exciting! As you develop your green thumb, your garden grows with you. If you have a project in mind for your own space and need professional advice on how to execute your idea, reach out for a Virtual Garden Chat with me and/or visit our Services & Pricing Page to see what type of services we offer here at Hello Green Thumb.

Happy Gardening!

Lori Lovelady

Owner & Founder of Hello Green Thumb


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