5 Step Plan to Bring Life to Abandoned Garden Beds

abandoned garden bedsWhile helping a family member settle into a new home, I tackled the abandoned garden beds. It is hard to determine how long the gardens went untended. The house is a rental that we learned had been empty while major renovations were completed. Unfortunately, the abandoned gardens were not part of the renovation. It needed some serious attention.

The first task to tend to was to take stock of what was left in the abandoned garden. A rather untidy rose bush and some varieties of daylily were the only plants I recognized. I asked for some help identifying plants from some garden savvy friends. While  there are some wild greens and edibles such as dandelions and Yellow or Curly Dock.

The other plant that is growing in a few spots is a lacy white flowered plant. At first I hoped it was Yarrow as I had seen Yarrow growing in many neighbors yards. My other guess was possible Queen Anne’s Lace but my friends all agreed that it wasn’t either of those plants. Instead the general consensus is that it is Poison Hemlock. Yikes! I will be removing that to trash bags as soon as possible as the job begins. Poison Hemlock is dangerous, so if you think you might be dealing with it in your yard, take care to wear protective clothing and not breath in the dust or seeds. Do not add to the compost pile.

Step 1 – Remove all unwanted/dangerous plants and dispose of in a garbage bag.

abandoned garden beds

Next step will be to tame the dandelion growth. Now do not take that the wrong way. The other thing that is growing well in the abandoned garden beds are wild rabbits. They are simply adorable at dusk, sitting in the yard, munching away at the abundant dandelion leaves and flowers. Dandelion have many uses and since they are not bothering anything, I will leave as many as possible and feed the rest to the bunnies.

Step 2 – Clean out the unwanted plants from the abandoned garden beds 

abandoned garden beds


After cleaning out beds and finding the soil, deciding what should be added to make it a good growing area. 

  • Take soil samples somewhere to be tested. Check with your state’s extension office to see where this service is available
  • Turn the dirt over and try to break up the dry hard clumps of dirt. 
  • Add nutrients, compost, topsoil, minerals

Step 3 – Make the soil healthy before planting new growth

abandoned garden beds

The Soil in Abandoned Garden Beds

Since the soil needed time to become healthy and my time was limited, I planted some flowers and herbs in raised beds and planters. This will make the yard looked loved and cared for while the abandoned garden beds get ready for planting. Planting in containers will also keep the dogs from trampling the new growth. They are still learning where the yard ends and the gardens begin. It was a challenge to find some plants at this late in the planting season. The garden center offerings were mostly picked over and not very healthy looking. Luckily, I did stop at an absolutely beautiful small market that carried very well cared for plants. The staff was helpful and the products were worth the premium price, further reinforcing my belief that we should shop local and small businesses. 

abandoned garden beds

I purchased all the herbs varieties I could find and a few annuals to brighten up the garden. Sage,  Chives, Oregano, Lavender, Mint, Rosemary and others were added to the large planters. Impatiens, Petunias, and Marigolds will add some color. The one lone blooming rose bush was trimmed and looked lovely. It acts as a focal point for the garden.

abandoned garden beds

Step 4 – Bring in some new plants

abandoned garden beds

To help brighten the space and because all garden decorations are currently being marked down by half, I purchased some garden markers, signs and a ceramic bunny to add some character to the former abandoned garden beds. This was the most fun step of all.

Step 5- Decorate the garden

abandoned garden beds

abandined garden beds

abandoned garden beds

mulch was added surrounding the planter boxes and a small area of rocks for a different texture wnnas put down, too. I love how the ceramic garden bunny  looks sitting under the shady tree. The weeds on the right side of the tree and continuing on down the yard still need to be tackled but the main area of the garden is looking much better!

abandoned garden beds

And to keep the garden fun going, please visit my friend’s gardens. We are sharing everything from zone 3 to zone 9a! Tell them I sent you by leaving a comment on their post. This is lots of fun and helpful too. Enjoy!

Homestead Garden Tour

Joybilee Farm (British Columbia, Zone 3)

Homespun Seasonal Living (Montana, Zone 4b)

Homestead Honey (NE Missouri, Zone 5b)

Family Food Garden (British Columbia, Zone 5b)

Learning and Yearning (Pennsylvania, Zone 5b)

Reformation Acres (Ohio, Zone 5b)

Homestead Lady (SW Missouri, Zone 6)

Timber Creek Farm (Maryland, Zone 7b)

Grow Forage Cook Ferment (Oregon, Zone 8a)

A Farm Girl in the Making (Washington, Zone 8a)

Preparedness Mama (Texas, Zone 8b)

Schneiderpeeps (Texas, Zone 9a)


 abandoned garden beds