The Learner Observer

This is how I started this blog post last week:

Spring is, quite literally, HERE. At least for today. It was 13 degrees when I left my morning Supply Teaching assignment today, and I have to tell you it made me smile from ear to ear!

Hahaha it’s so hilarious because right after that day we have had a full day of snowing, a full day of raining, and now further rain and general gloominess. All of that being said, I realize how desperately my front and back yards need some TLC this year. I’d like colourful and cheery flowers, and right now the backyard has a whole lot of holes in the lawn, disheveled garden beds and looks…brown – thanks Luther!! I have been daydreaming of a real garden… and therefore have been doing “extensive online research” on how I can achieve such a thing. Here’s what I have found:

Better Homes and Gardens has 20 Tips for Gardening with Dogs. I added in my own response to my favourites in brackets.

1. Start young (too late for us… )
3. Teach your dog obedience (also possibly too late for us? I’m half joking…)
5. Try a kennel (the incessant barking and crying might cause our neighbours to force us to move)
6. Use your deck (have you all seen the Instagram pics of Luther perched on the deck? He uses it alright…)
8. Include your dog (in gardening? Are you nuts BHG? My dog eats dirt for fun!)
9. Keep toys handy (good call… until he buries them!)
13. Grow barrier plants (AHA! Now we’re talking – something I hadn’t thought of! Now are these barrier plants made of brick, or….?)
14. Try container gardening (this may, in fact, be our only option!)
15. Know your breed (yes… digger, dirt eating, escape artist… check)
17. Introduce children (give us some time! Geez, not you too, BHG… has my mom been talking to you?)

Given these somewhat helpful tips, I have discovered some good options options are:


diy-criss-cross-plantersI may just need to spread about 40 of these in the backyard if I want to have anything at all planted and (potentially) living! Gardening with a crazy dog may not leave me too many other options, unless you know of any?!?! Either way, these planters by Centsational Girl are UH-mazing!


betterhomesandgardens_dippedpots7Another option for planting… and a darn cute one at that!! I think these would be amazing for a herb garden that cam be moved indoors in the fall! This would mean I may need a stand on the deck so that the herbs are close to the kitchen… and away from the all-eating dog! These seem simple enough to make, and the tutorial at Wit & Whistle is pretty wonderful!! More amazing ideas for embellishing terra cotta pots over here c/o Apartment Therapy!

Another helpful site names 66 Things You Can Grow In Containers! I have a feeling I’ll need to go back to it several times.


arborMoving away from the dog issues, I’d really love to do something about the fence along the back of our yard. There’s a sidewalk and somewhat busy street just behind us, so this would help with noise and privacy without breaking any municipal rules, plus it would look kind of pretty… if only I could make it look like those pictures!

outdoor-living-room-trellisAnother example of an amazing trellis to help give a little more privacy to our backyard. This time thanks to Style at Home.


559933_10151577366587265_1956467539_nThis is definitely something I want to try once I manage not to kill almost everything I plant! We have a perfect brick wall we could try this on. Too ambitious? Source for this one is unknown, unfortunately. Warning – large info-graphic coming up. I can’t even believe I found this! So helpful.


So far this is the extent of my dream list. In actuality, I think this year we’ll end up moving a few things around and planting some annuals in pots because there is A LOT to be done in our yard, but it doesn’t hurt to dream, right?

Happy daydreaming!

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  1. Reply


    April 26, 2013

    Gardening is really a pain, right? I’ve come to accept the fact that my garden will only look perfect if I give up my job and my healthy back ;-)
    In the past two years, we have changed so much in our garden (which used to be a neglected wilderness), and also installed a fence for our dog that we now need to paint (the fence, but if Coca comes too close she might get some white stripes, too). Love your inspiration photos, the white trellis thingy is adorable!

    PS And the BHG ideas for gardening with a dog? Pffft! Luckily our dog doesn’t dig, just eats dirt ;-)

    • Reply


      April 27, 2013

      Gardening is like this big scary monster to me! Both my mom and Mother-in-law have green thumbs and I am the black sheep! haha!
      Your clarification of what needs to be painted made me laugh out loud!! That’s too funny!
      BHG is wonderful, but man…this time, not so much! Crossing my fingers the digging stops this summer!

  2. Reply

    Deli Silva

    April 27, 2013

    Hope to do some gardening with you, in your new home and in OUR home ok? Great ideas!

  3. Reply

    Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

    May 1, 2013

    These dreams are BEAUTIFUL! And even if you just tackled one of these ideas, I think that’d be a major accomplishment. (I have a black thumb myself, so I think in baby steps.) I especially love those criss cross planters. Something about the bright white in contrast with the lush green plants framing an entryway. So lovely!

    • Reply


      May 1, 2013

      I totally agree with you – one would be a major accomplishment for me too!!! I’d LOVE to build the planters (and the trellis), but realistically I should probably focus on the sad state of our grass and gardens first… Maybe next year! Haha!! Thanks for your always encouraging comments!!

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