Creating a New Garden Space

A garden space inspired by loss

Earlier this week I moved raised beds, box planters and gravel in front of our Tiny shed to establish this new Startle Garden.  Guess what?  I absolutely love this new space.

Moving the beds was a lot of work and because the soil was extremely wet I had a mess everywhere. This didn’t stop me from achieving my goal because I wanted the garden in one place and the result was worth the effort.

But let me tell you what inspired all this activity…

First came the Flood

Prior to this project we were greeted with a lot of rain that brought forward some challenges, many of which I’ll be sharing later because Robert is amazing when it comes to problem solving.

When the water started flooding this area I wanted to hide because it felt like it would never end.  It rained for days; the water ran down the creek perfectly until those heavy rains hit.  After it finally stopped it took about an hour and this water was gone and I was left with a muddy mess.

Heavy water flow also moved gravel and I decided this time I wasn’t moving it back in place.

I came up with a new plan that began with taking down a small stretch of fence and gate in front of the shed.

Tools used for Project

Moving Gravel to Raise the Ground

Robert agreed raising this area with gravel instead of dirt was a good idea and I told him not to worry because much like the blackberry project this venture was mine.  I just needed to do this by myself and I’m so glad he understood.

Using my shovel, spreader and wheel barrow, I moved gravel over and started raising things up.  The rock from the road shifted in piles so moving it wasn’t that big of a deal, it was when I got down to the lower areas where I began to lose steam.

Day one Moving gravel and table

Day One Moving Gravel

Day one began with finishing removing the stretch of fencing, moving rock from the road and once I embraced this open space inspiration carried me to move the farmhouse table over.

By the end of day one, which was Monday enough gravel covered the ground to pass up the flower beds and table.  This is when I decided my other raised beds need to be included.

Moving Raised Beds

Day Two Moving Raised Beds and Planters

The weather was great on day two and I ended up spending the entire day outdoors.  The first step involved moving my herbs, instead of keeping those beds all together I decided to spread them out into two areas and I even decided to add my seed starter boxes.

The space was really coming together and my energy level was still really strong.

Day Two beds and more gravel moved

I continued moving gravel and wasn’t really sure if I was going to have enough to actually finish.  So, I took an early dinner break, came back even more energized and moved in three of those recycled planter boxes.

Making Progress towards day three

I love these boxes and as much as I enjoyed them lined up on the walk path, I like them even more right here. You can see them in the back, they’re lined up and will look amazing when those roses bloom again in the early Spring.

The short bed frame in the middle will be raised about three more levels before I begin filling with soil and natural elements.  That’s something I can work on over winter to get ready for spring planting.

Once everything was relocated I decided to finally call it a day because day three had a challenge in the forecast.

A space coming together

Day Three Finishing with Gravel

That’s right it was supposed to begin raining again by noon on Wednesday.   I really wanted to finish and around 11:45 am this space was done, just right before it started to sprinkle.

In the mix of those sprinkles I sat down; allowed myself to enjoy this accomplishment and just smiled.

When I look at this area I see the future, good things, a place where I can teach others how to garden and that makes doing more so worthwhile.  You see doing more is about a sense of accomplishment.

A garden space inspired by loss

Creating this new Garden area was therapeutic, it helped me free up some emotion and burn off some energy that was building from being cooped up for days on end.

Now when I walk through the main gate or step from the shed, this is what I see and it just lifts my soul with deep inspiration.

Do you have an outdoor space that needs improving?  Maybe it’s a muddy mess like mine was? Don’t walk away from it, decide what needs to be done and take steps forward to transform that area into a place that inspires.

Creating a Startle Garden Space that makes gardening enjoyable and easy to manage#StartleGarden, #Gardening, #Gardenspace


  1. daisy says:

    It looks fabulous! It’s amazing how following your heart can lead to so many great things. I know this will be a source of inspiration to many and a sense of peace to you and Robert. Well done!

    We have an area next to our house that gets washed out with the rain. It slopes down into a wooded area. We were going to add straw, but perhaps gravel would be a better solution. What do you think?

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you – I’m really loving it just so clean, simple and expressive. Well if you do gravel and it’s on a slope you may have to put some kind of barrier to keep the rock from running. Take a picture and check with a gravel guy to see what they may suggest. You might be able to put in larger rock? Just depends on size of the slope and if you get those real heavy rainfalls like we do.

  2. Patti says:

    What a great idea. Gardening can definitely be therapeutic. Putting all your energy into this project Was so smart and the end result fantastic. Inspiring!

    1. Carole says:

      Yes very therapeutic – I’ve already spent more time sitting outside here and just breathing in the beauty. So glad I did this…

  3. Sonya S says:

    Love the new area! No mowing & no mud is a win, win in my book! I love creating new spaces in my yard. I’ve spent the last week removing phlox & day lilies that have taken over a few areas in the back yard. So far I have 8 – 39 gallon bags full. Hopefully I can get the rest of the plants pulled out before it gets to cold (I’m in South Dakota so cold weather is just around the corner). I plan on planting some rose bushes in some of the areas next spring.

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you Sonya – This morning when I went outside and looked at it, I just smiled and my heart filled up with such joy. This is going to make like so much easier so I can just focus on growing in this area and you got it no mowing! That’s a lot of bags- goodness if I lived closer I would have taken those day lilies off your hands. How long is your growing season up that way? Check into Drift roses – they are so easy and would do amazing over the winter for you. Their flowers are a bit smaller than the knock outs and just so sweet.


      1. Sonya S says:

        I’m in zone 4B & we can still get freezing temps into May so I don’t usually plant anything until after Memorial day. We’ve already had some freezing temps & snow in October so not much left for plants. Thanks so much for the link on the drift roses. They are beautiful & just what I’m looking for! I will definitely look into them next spring.

  4. Christine says:

    Oh my goodness, Carole! What a beautiful-zen like oasis you have created right in your front yard! If I had a tranquil place like this I swear I would never leave! My goodness girl, when you put your mind to something there’s no stopping you! That’s a LOT of gravel to haul so kudos to you for having the determination to set aside your exhaustion and just keep pushing forward. You truly are amazing!

    1. Carole says:

      I don’t like to leave, it’s so peaceful but that will change when this tiny homestead project gets rolling. It was a lot of gravel and when the county road dries out we’ll have two more loads delivered probably this weekend. I look at this work as exercise too which I think is part of my determination to move forward but would agree I don’t let obstacles like weather stop me from moving forward.

  5. Sharon says:

    Love it! Yes, therapeutic and inspirational, as well as a great way to use energy productively. 🙂

  6. Sharon says:

    Glad your spirits are beginning to lift. 🙂 I understand, because this has been a year of transition for us — moving to a new place after serving several years in West Africa. Transitions aren’t easy — trying to “find yourself” again as you settle into a new context. I find it takes me at least a year to “feel at home” in a new place. We’ve done a lot of work here this year, so I’m hoping next year will feel more settled and like “home”. I love following your story!!!

    1. Carole says:

      I agree it takes about a year to get comfortable in a new place. Keeping busy seems to help me process with the good and bad situations so glad to have you here, I have so much to share and it’s wonderful how God keeps pushing me to do so. Hope your weekend is wonderful.

  7. Bob Egert says:

    You are making me very tired! And the grass keeps growing as the rain continues.

    1. Carole says:

      LOL – You’re funny! We’ll be here Sunday if you want to come by and check out the bridge. – I think all day… Oh and just let the grass grow…

  8. Margie Mtatt says:

    Hi Carole,

    It’s Margie from Just_enough_farm on Instagram! Wow! What a beautiful area you have created. I can’t believe the rain this fall. We had over 20 ” last week at our farm. By the time the rain came on Wednesday it was still soggy. If your new area passed the test on Wednesday it should be perfect. Love the small stones. What a workout!

    1. Carole says:

      Hello Margie – yes it was quite the workout and so worth it, I’m really loving this space. It did great with the last rain and soggy around here is an understatement. We live on black clay which can be a challenge and I hear today it’s suppose to be in the 80’s so hope to be outside enjoying this area.

  9. It’s beautiful!

    I’ve got wood chips for my pathways, but only because they were free. How deep did you go with the gravel? Did you lay any cardboard or other barrier underneath the rock?

    I ask only because I know come spring my paths will be sprouting weeds anywhere I didn’t have a barrier.

    Sorry you had to move your beds, but they are gorgeous. You done good!

    1. Carole says:

      I plan to use wood chips over in the bird park area because I need a walk path over there bad. I went right over the dirt about 6 inches for now. This rock has sand mixed within so when it dries it gets hard and as a result we haven’t had issues with weeds because once it dries we go over it with another thick layer.

      We were using it on our road but it also shows the dirt which comes in off the county road because it’s not graveled. So we’re changing our private road to a gray gravel this coming week. Basically just going over what’s already there. Hope to have that post up soon – wait till you see that mess. Moving the beds was a great idea and I’m so glad I did this – really improved this space.

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