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HomeGarden designBackyard Tour: Melissa’s Magical Shade Backyard

Backyard Tour: Melissa’s Magical Shade Backyard

Welcome to Melissa’s dream backyard, accomplished in 2021 after taking the Design Your 4 Season Backyard course

Backyard landscape design - before & after
A earlier than and after view of Melissa’s yard transformation.

Melissa lives in Zone 6B close to the Boston space. She lives in a fantastic residence, however the yard was a clean slate. She dreamed of getting a fantastic cottage-style backyard, full of flowers. However, whereas she tried to plant issues right here and there, it by no means felt profitable..  

“I did every thing you stated – purchased fairly vegetation and popped them within the floor.  No groupings, no thought upfront.” 

She didn’t assume she was able to designing a panorama. 

“Periodically I might purchase just a few vegetation on the nursery, haphazardly plant them, pay little consideration to them and naturally nothing resembling a backyard resulted,” she stated. “I had no thought tips on how to design a backyard.”  

She thought the one resolution was to rent knowledgeable, so she budgeted about $15,000 for the undertaking. However, the panorama design firm appeared actually disinterested within the job, noting they have been very busy with different initiatives and she or he might have to attend 4-5 months. As well as, they estimated that she’d want at the least $18,000, relying on the specifics of the undertaking.

Irritated with their charges, delays and normal disinterest, she advised the panorama designers to take a hike. She started to surprise, “Why can’t I do that myself?” 

Regardless of her years of unsuccessful planting efforts, Melissa took to books and the web to be taught extra about designing her personal panorama. She saved questioning why there wasn’t a course to discover ways to do that. 

“After which, by a stroke of luck, I discovered YOU,” she stated. 

Melissa enrolled within the Design Your 4 Season Backyard course and instantly set to work planning her backyard! 

“I’ve been working very arduous each night time and I’m extraordinarily energized to provide this my finest shot,” she wrote in an electronic mail to me.

“Thanks for being my INSPIRATION!  I by no means would have even tried this earlier than assembly you and taking the course.  I’m grateful for all you do.  Your ardour for gardening is infectious!!!!”



Whereas she was dedicated to her undertaking and stuffed with vitality and enthusiasm, it didn’t come with out challenges. Specifically about cash mindset, discovering time to finish the work and having the arrogance to design the plans. 


Her mindset on the full price of the undertaking was a very vital issue. 

“Having that large price ticket in my head made me understand that if I’m going to do that, I must pay for vegetation. So I just about simply stated it’s going to price me, however a ton lower than the landscaper. And, it’s additionally going to return out soooo significantly better. …That mindset was essential as a result of, as a buddy advised me final week, “you purchase ten vegetation on the nursery and it’s $200!” If I didn’t have that “it’s gonna price so don’t be low-cost” mindset, I actually couldn’t do it, at the least not on the dimensions I did.”

In case you’re fighting worth points, an ideal train is to get some quotes from native design firms. Then, do a few of your personal analysis on the price of vegetation and gear. This gives you a baseline to work from so you may create your dream backyard with out being blindsided by the fee.


Melissa determined to make use of a number of the cash she budgeted for the panorama design firm to arrange her backyard beds. Native landscapers dug out her beds, tilled in good soil and gave her the right clean slate to put in her new backyard. 

Melissa's Backyard Garden in Progress
Melissa used a number of the cash she budgeted for the panorama design firm to arrange her backyard beds.

This was undoubtedly well worth the funding, she says, because it minimize down her prep time and labor for the undertaking so she may concentrate on the design.


Whereas taking the course, Melissa often emailed me her plans and requested for suggestions each step of the way in which. At one level of the method, she wrote,

“I’m terrified concerning the subsequent step of mapping out format, however I believe I’ll simply dive in and check out.” 

It’s wonderful what you’re able to in the event you simply belief the method and do the work. She credit the step-by-step format within the course with retaining her undertaking on monitor. 

“Panorama design is de facto arduous,” she says. “It was means tougher than I even thought it could be, and I anticipated it to be arduous. The lighting, the soil, working round what you have already got mixed with every plant and its measurement, gentle necessities….it’s simply lots. It completely requires a course and I used to be stunned that I by no means discovered one till I discovered yours.”

Melissa used the course to design two backyard beds in her panorama. The primary was a difficult, muddy aspect yard that she wished to show right into a 22’ lengthy walkway. The area is shady and flanked by a fence and a deck. The largest problem was that the area was so slender, leaving area for under 2’ extensive beds on both aspect of the walkway.

The second backyard mattress was your entire border of her yard, alongside the fence line. This mattress was about 95% empty when she began. Totally different solar exposures and the sheer measurement of this mattress at 48’ extensive and 15’ deep made it a frightening process.

Facet Mattress

The aspect was a complete mud pit earlier than creating this backyard. The mattress goes previous her deck on the left and results in the yard. This can be a tremendous slender space with stepping stones within the center and two lengthy beds which might be 2’x22’.

  • Issues  –  Tremendous slender space with two, slender and lengthy beds. Plenty of shade limits plant selections.
  • Dimension  –  Every mattress is 2’ extensive by 22’ deep, separated by a walkway within the middle.
  • Gentle  –  Half-sun to shade.
  • Shade Scheme – Pink & Chartreuse
  • Important Season of Curiosity – Summer time
Side yard muddy
Earlier than the transformation, Melissa’s aspect yard was only a muddy pathway.

Utilizing what she realized within the course, Melissa used a harmonious and thrilling mixture of evergreen shrubs, perennial vegetation and groundcovers to create this magical woodland walkway.

A muddy side yard becomes a beautiful shade garden path
Right here, Melissa’s muddy aspect yard has been remodeled right into a magical shade backyard path.

Not solely is the mixture of vegetation stunning, however it’s additionally distinctive and exhibits off her persona so nicely. She provides,

“I liked your course and I really like your method to backyard design.  It simply is smart and you’re a fantastic trainer.”

Again Backyard

This again backyard mattress was 95% empty earlier than Melissa’s new backyard mattress was put in. In early spring, greater than half of the realm was grass with an previous scruffy tree within the left nook. The realm left lots to be desired and Melissa was decided to make use of what she’s realized to show this into the area she’s all the time dreamed about. 

Earlier than the transformation, Melissa’s yard was as unremarkable as they arrive. However wait till you see what it seems to be like now!
  • Issues  –  Low fences on all sides and a excessive fence within the again. A number of current timber to design round (arborvitae, crab apple). Troublesome to make use of the identical vegetation as a result of completely different areas of the backyard mattress get completely different quantities of solar.  
  • Dimension  – 6’ fence.  48’ extensive by 15’ at its deepest level. 
  • Gentle  –  Primarily part-sun. Full solar on the left aspect with an extended stretch of afternoon solar. The remaining has dappled, half solar.
  • Model  –  Cottage
  • Shade Scheme – Pink, Burgundy and Chartreuse
  • Important Season of Curiosity – Summer time

Melissa struggled at first to create repetition and stream on this backyard mattress, principally due to the various quantities of solar that elements of the mattress obtain. However, she was in a position to make use of what she realized within the course to decide on the precise vegetation for the precise locations, whereas nonetheless making this backyard mattress really feel cohesive but distinctive. She used a mix of a number of completely different evergreens combined with flowering shrubs, perennial vegetation, even grasses, ferns, sedges and vines.

The step-by-step format of the course enabled her to make numerous completely different plant choices with confidence. The tip outcome is a beautiful, skilled trying backyard that includes the entire vegetation and colours that Melissa loves. 

Now, Melissa’s yard backyard is full of stunning shade loving vegetation in jewel tones.

A Huge Transformation

After taking the course, Melissa not solely has a fantastic backyard, however a brand new passion that can proceed to reward her because the years go by. She provides, 

“It’s been fairly a life-changing expertise (due to you!). Taking a look at my “earlier than” pictures proper now could be fairly stunning.”

I requested Melissa how she feels about backyard design and the way issues might have modified for her since she’s taken the course. Right here’s what she stated. 

“A MASSIVE transformation passed off. I designed a fantastic backyard from scratch and planted it. I do know the entire steps and issues wanted to design a backyard.  I liked Amy’s step-by-step method. It was so logical and sensible and efficient. I all the time questioned why there wasn’t a course like this, after which I discovered it!  In case you are a gardening novice and are remotely contemplating this course, take it.  You’ll be completely happy you probably did.”

Melissa saved monitor of the price of her vegetation and different purchases like a wheelbarrow, hoses, equipment, hardscaping (giant stepping stones and cobbles), soil, soil supply and a day of labor. In the long run, the price of her new backyard was half the value of paying the panorama design firm.

She provides,

“I advised a buddy I really feel like I had a child.  I find it irresistible and wish to ‘child’ it. And watch it develop.  I’m so excited to see it blossom. And I’m so pleased with it. Each plant was my selection. Each location was my selection. I had a plan and redid the plan and advanced the plan, however ultimately, it got here out because it was speculated to.”

Closing Ideas

Melissa had budgeted to pay about $15,000 for knowledgeable panorama design. When the corporate got here again at $18,000 and appeared disinterested within the undertaking, she determined to strive it herself. 

She made the entire errors that newbie gardeners make, similar to shopping for fairly vegetation and plopping them into the bottom with out a lot thought upfront about design. Not surprisingly, her efforts have been unsuccessful. Then she turned to books and web sites to attempt to be taught extra and repair a number of the points she was having.

However, she says,

“What you learn in books and magazines by no means breaks down the “tips on how to” like [this course] does.”


Melissa famous that the value of the course is nicely with it, particularly in the event you’re planning to create a number of gardens like she did. Whereas it’s a must to make investments your time, numerous elbow grease and a considerable sum of money on vegetation (greater than you’ll anticipate), studying tips on how to DIY your personal panorama is a very enjoyable and energizing expertise.

“I actually hope I can assist you and assist others discover you and check out your course as a result of it has been actually life-changing for me. THANK YOU, thanks, thanks” -Melissa

I’m so grateful to listen to about Melissa’s expertise and see her stunning work. I usually smile, understanding that I’ve transformed one other individual right into a lifelong gardener. And I believe that could be what I’m referred to as to do in life. What I’m speculated to do.

Gardening is a passion that continues to provide again to me each 12 months. I do know it would reward me for the remainder of my life and I’m so glad I planted that first plant within the floor (so very many) years in the past. I need everybody else to expertise the enjoyment and pleasure of backyard design, too… identical to Melissa was capable of. So, when you’ve got an itch for gardening and are in any respect fascinated by design, I do hope you’ll be part of me within the Design Your 4-Season Backyard Course. I can’t wait to satisfy you.

In case you want any extra convincing, listed below are just a few closing ideas from Melissa (I image her penning this to me whereas having fun with her model new yard backyard area).

“This course is improbable!  Amy has accomplished a really thorough job in making ready high notch movies and a plethora of helpful supplies to information the design course of.  She may be very beneficiant together with her time and offered excellent considerate responses to my questions. This course has modified the way in which I take into consideration gardening and has impressed and empowered me.  I’m so grateful that I discovered Amy and Fairly Purple Door. I’ve a brand new passion I’ll take pleasure in for a few years consequently!”

In case you’re able to get your dream backyard and are searching for a step-by-step framework to observe, this course could also be an ideal match for you. Be part of over 200 different residence gardeners who’re expressing their creativity and supporting one another once you enroll within the Design Your 4-Season Backyard Course at present!



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