Office Side Garden - Spring

Office Garden Update: Spring 2019

By Erin Huffstetler | 04/10/2019 | 5 Comments

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I’ve been working on the office garden for a little over a year now, so I’d say it’s high time for an update, wouldn’t you?

Let’s start with the side yard. That picture that you just scrolled past is how the side yard looks today.

Office Garden Before

This is how the side yard looked, when we bought the property a year and a half ago.

Progress on Office Side Yard

And this is how it looked last May, after the first wave of work.

Office Side Garden - Spring

It’s amazing how much difference a year makes, isn’t it?

Closeup of Flowers in Side Garden 2019

We didn’t have any money in our budget for plants, so everything you see here was either transplanted from other parts of our yard, or came from my mother-in-law’s yard*. She had a large flower bed that she wanted to eliminate, so her yard would be easier to keep up with, and she told me I could have everything that I dug out. So, after lots of digging (and help from my oldest daughter) I came home with oodles of irises, daffodils and day lilies, plus, divisions from a couple peonies that have been in the family for generations.

*Full disclosure: I did spend $8 on two clumps of red day lilies that I found at a yard sale, but, so far, that’s the only money I’ve spent on this garden.


This corydalis is a volunteer that sprouted up from the corydalis that a master gardener gave us back in 2014 (you can see what else she gave us here). I moved two plants over to the office side garden, and I still have one more to move.


These are two peonies that I transplanted from spots that had gotten too shady in our yard. I also have four more peonies that I grew from divisions from the family peonies.


These tulips used to sit along the back fence line. I relocated them, when we removed the chain link fence.

Mum Rescued From Curb Pile

And this is one of three mums that I rescued from curb piles. Lots of people decorate with pots of mums in the fall. Then, toss them out when it’s time to decorate for Christmas. Since many mums are perennial, we always pick them up, and wait until spring to see if they come back. This year, three out of the five pots we picked up came back. I planted them in the side yard earlier this week. One is red. The other two didn’t have a tag, so we’ll have to wait until fall to find out what color they are.

Spots in the Side Garden That Still Need to Be Filled In

As you can see, we still have more spots to fill in. We have a lot of late spring/early summer-blooming plants, so I’m trying to add more spring and fall color this year.

Daylilies and Garden Path

The other part of the side yard has a flagstone path, lined in daylilies. Both were already in place, when we bought the property, …

Garden Path Lined in Daylilies and Irises

as were a small number of irises. I expanded the row of irises last spring. And I made the solar lights from old lighting globes. I found several more matching globes this winter at a thrift store, so I plan to make more solar lights for the path.

Side Porch Spring 2019

There have been a few changes to the side porch, since last May. We got rid of the ugly metal screen door, and replaced it with a wooden screen door that we found at a yard sale. It’s more in keeping with the age of the house.

Seating Area on Side Porch 2019

And I swapped out the terracotta table for this galvanized trunk. I want to say it was $5. I don’t remember for sure, but it was crazy cheap.

Rose Trellis

The rose vine was already here, but I trained it to grow on the trellis.

Second Seating Area on Side Porch

Here’s the other side of the porch. The furniture, cushions and pillows all came from various yard sales. I repainted the vintage metal loveseat. You can see the before and after here.

Before I show you the front yard, there’s one more view of the side yard I need to show you.

MFH Office Exterior

If you’re standing in the street, facing the house, this is how the hedge looked when we bought the house …

Overgrown Hedge

and this is how it looks currently. Yikes! You can’t tell from the previous picture, but the hedge had gotten really thin due to overpruning, so I left it alone all last season to give it time to fill back in, and to see how much taller I could get it. I plan to start reshaping the bushes later this week, after I pull some stuff that doesn’t belong. We’ll see how it goes.

Path to Front Yard

Okay, now let’s check out the front yard. This path wraps around to the front of the house.

Front of Office Spring 2019

And this is the current view. Admittedly, it isn’t the cutest. The previous owner didn’t use the front door or porch (at least not in all the years we’d lived here), so this side of the house just looks neglected. It needs a fresh coat of paint (which I’m hoping we’ll get to this year), and the yard needs a total rehab.

Daylily Bed Spring 2019

Pretty much the only thing the front yard has going for it is this daylily bed, which I cleaned out and expanded last year. The stone edging is new. We scored a ton of stone from curb piles (two families who’d taken out artificial ponds), and I still have a bunch left.

I plan to add a tall hedge to close in all the open sides of the yard. At this point I’m leaning towards Hicksii Yews. It’ll be an expensive project, so it’s one we’ll tackle in chunks. But eventually, the neighbor’s house won’t be in this view.

Flagstone Path

The previous owner took up the original flagstone sidewalk on the side of the house, and replaced it with a concrete sidewalk when she got older. All of the flagstones were still on the property, so I used them to extend the existing path around to the front of the house. Eventually, I’ll need more to finish the job, but for now, it’s a start.

Front Porch Looking Out Towards Street

If you look out from the front porch, this is the current view. If money allows, I’d like to plant this section of the hedge this year. I want to be able to sit out here without seeing anyone. Total privacy; that’s the goal.

Front Property Line

Imagine how awesome it’ll be when a tall wall of bushes makes everything outside of our property vanish.

As you ponder that, let’s move on to the backyard.

Back of Office Spring 2019

As soon as we bought our neighbor’s house, we removed the chain link fence that separated our two yards; tore down a rotten shed; and removed three dying trees. And that’s pretty much all the attention the backyard got last year.


Well, unless you count adding this cool wall fountain that we found in a curb pile. We haven’t hooked it up yet, but it’s pretty as is.

Flowering Bush and Bench

So, is this cast iron bench that we found in a curb pile a few weeks ago. We need to replace some of the boards, but otherwise it’s in great shape.

Row of Hollies Planted a Year Ago

And here are the hollies that we planted last spring to extend the holly hedge that we planted more than a decade ago. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but they’ve grown quite a bit, since we planted them.

That property line in the background, is another that we plan to hide behind a hedge.

Now that you’ve seen everything we got done last year, want to see what I plan to work on this year?

Next Section of Yard I Plan to Work On

In addition to filling in the bare spots in the side yard, I plan to start work on the front yard. I’ve chosen the area between the flagstones and the house as my focus point for the year. I’m going to convert this area to a garden bed and start filling it in with plants. It’ll be interesting to see how far I can get without spending any money.

Flower Seeds

Yesterday, I started a bunch of flower seeds, so that should give me some of the plants that I’ll need. I’ll keep you updated as I make progress.

Want to See the Rest of My Garden?

You can take a tour, here.

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  1. I’m so glad you updated this! We bought a house 3 years ago and the yard was a MESS. 3 years later I am just starting to feel like I am making strides! I can’t believe how far you have come in a year. We have over an acre and when we started had NO grass, compacted dirt , and so many trees and moss growing it was crazy. This year I feel like I am making way finally.
    What you have done in 18 months is crazy. If you ever want to come to the Charleston, SC area..I have an apartment over the garage and you are welcome to stay for the price of a plant exchange and advice ? (seriously though ?).
    Can’t wait for an update of the office building itself.

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