Trash to Treasure Garden

Trash to Treasure GardenThe weekend before Easter we had a wonderful Spring day. I was so excited so I took the opportunity to try to get some ideas together for the dirty space left behind from our barn drama last summer and fall.

For those who don’t follow me on any social media channels and didn’t know me prior to YUM, you really missed out.

Last May we were told by the city commissioner that we needed to knock down our big barn. The barn had been here since the house was built. We’re talking 40s or 50s. Husband bought this house with kiddos mom about 10 years ago. Just in the last 5 years that I have lived here that barn has slanted dramatically. We’re talking a building that looks like a trapezoid. So, the city told us we needed to take it down because it was deemed a ‘dangerous structure.’ They gave us 30 days to get it taken care of. First thing we had to do was get in touch with our home insurance company.

trash to treasure garden tiresThey sent an insurance adjuster out to assess the damage. Weeks went by, people came and went. Construction companies came to bid. Electricians, concrete, and other demo workers stopped by.  We didn’t start the project until late June early July and it was a mess from the start. First our barn rebuild was denied by the same person who told us we had to take it down. Seems that the township laws changed and you can only have outbuildings up to 2.5% of your land. They counted our garage even though it is attached. We have just about 2 acres. In order to get grandfathered in we would have to pay $1000 or more for a lawyer and petition the township.


In order for us to be able to build we had to knock down BOTH barns the large one and the smaller one. To give you a general idea, the large barn would hold boats, cars, RVs and you would still have room.  It was literally the size of our house. The small barn was a little bigger than a 2 car garage and it was also attached to our chicken coop.

It was a nightmare that dragged on until fall. Our insurance company had issues. The township had issues. The mortgage company got involved and tied EVERYTHING up.

We barely got the minimal landscaping (basically smoothing it out and repairing our driveway) done before the first snowfall.

Now that the snow has melted, I have this giant lot where the old barn was. We had dirt filled and the dozer guys smoothed it out for us.

So, kiddo and I decided that the tires we didn’t have taken care of and some random pieces that got left behind are going to be the basis of our “Trash to Treasure Garden.” Even though we want to move, we feel we should do something with that giant space. So, it’s either a garden, or seed it for grass.

I think the garden will be much more fun. It will give me something to do as I plot and plan my move out of this house.

It’s sad that husband had his man cave built inside the new barn knowing that we would be putting this place up for sale shortly after he graduates.

But, it is what it is. May as well make the best of it while we are here. Besides, maybe the new owners will appreciate my wonderful garden space!

I’ve been going through the new barn, garage and basement looking for items that we no longer use.

trash to treasure garden


As you can see from the photos, the big project was moving all the tires. Those tires were inside the big barn, left behind by husbands ex father-in-law. It costs us money to dispose of them, so thanks to the power of Pinterest, I’ve gathered some inspiration on what to do with them.

Then I collected all the leftover flower pots and dishes that we can use outside to put flowers in.  A lot of them were broken down from previous garden use, so we just let them be tossed with the knocked down barns.

I was able to find a few pots and pans. Another thing I am pretty excited about is the use of an old window. About 4 years ago we redid the bathroom. We put a new window in. The old window has been sitting on the side of our house for way too long. I had husband dig a hole and I buried the window sill so it would stay put. I plan to plant a row of flowers in front of it.

During my digging I found the old white picket fence from the garden we made 2 years ago. Last year I was so busy finishing up grad school that we didn’t do a in-ground garden, but instead tended to a few containers.

You’ll see kiddo found a lot of sticks and scraps of wood leftover from the barn build. They were piled by our fire pit and somehow managed to survive winter.

On the other side of the garden we added some wood from the tree that had fallen on our house. That was right around the time our barn was deemed a disaster. Oh, and our well went out too! So, last summer was a pure nightmare. I still don’t think I am recovered.

trash to treasure start of fairy garden

I took those pieces of wood and found that they  made some pretty awesome fairy houses. We made a little corner just for the fairies. There were some leftover concrete blocks scattered all over the yard, so I gathered them and made a little bench to sit on in front of the fairy garden. Kiddo added some of her own touches. Casey even had to come and check it out.

fairy garden trash to treasure


I know it looks like a hodge podge mess right now. We completed our outline late Saturday only for it to downpour and thunderstorm Saturday night into Sunday. By Monday and Tuesday we were seeing snow. Hopefully that’s over now.

We’re pretty excited about how we can make it look. Even husband, who wasn’t too thrilled in the beginning, started to see my vision and is really excited about it.

trash to treasure garden bench

We’ll be doing a mixture of flowers and easy to grow vegetables.

If anything it will get me outside and out of this office. Kiddo and I will have fun creating some fun garden adventures!

Are you planning a garden this year? Tell me all about it.

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  1. It’s unfortunate cities/towns are starting to get overly aggressive about taking away property rights. I find it ironic how many people are for it until it bites them. Then they are all up in arms about the over reach. I’m against it now because I know someday it will bite me. I’m sorry you had to be a victim of it.

    I like the fact you are making the best of it. In order to really plant a lawn here we’d have to do some aggressive approaches that could be harmful to the dogs. So we opted for veggie and flower gardens that are a bit more hardy. I love my perenniels. Even in years when I don’t feel great or the weather isn’t cooperating for me to get out and plant early, I have the blessings of seeing plants come up. It was an investment upfront, but it was worth it. DH and I hit garden club sales for several years and we have a wild collection that is hard to tame sometimes, but so beautiful that it lifts my spirits when life is challenging.

    As for veggies, we have great intentions of starting from seed, but this year most will be plants when we get started. Some ground veggies, like carrots, onions, and green onions have to be started from seed in the ground. The rest we will likely visit our favorite local greenhouse and pick up our veggie plants to get our summer garden started. We generally plant over Memorial Day to make sure we are past the dangers of frost.

    1. That whole barn thing was such a mess and I am convinced it had a lot to do with my downward spiral back in to depression after graduation.

      I sent a few anonymous letters to the city regarding barns around here that were in worse condition than ours.

      We could have easily fought it, but we did not have the money to pay a lawyer, and they knew that.

      I’m pretty lucky that Cain and Casey never bothered with the gardens in the past we have done. I don’t think Casey will be an issue, but Tink…she’s a hot mess. I have a feeling I will have to put a little fence around it to keep her out. She’s so young and curious. She wants to investigate everything. For the most part, I don’t mind, its all part of being a dog. But, I don’t want her digging up my carrots! lol

      I think some of the easy stuff like radish and carrot we will do from seed. But, I like to do tomatoes from plants. Its the only way I have any luck. I need to sit down and make my list. We’re actually considering having a farmer bring us in some dirt because it would be so much cheaper than buying commercial fertilizer from the store. We’ll have to do that soon. May planting season is right around the corner. Then we’ll hit garage sales for treasures and trinkets for the fairies. 🙂

      I figure it will give me something to talk and share here as well as have some good memories to be made with kiddo. She loves to garden.

    1. I’m not the best, nor do I know a whole lot. Just some simple things. This is the most creative garden yet. It should provide some fun times if anything!

  2. Hi Chrystal! Gardens are so much fun. There is just something so relaxing about digging in dirt. We had a Girl Scout meeting on Earth Day and in honor of that we planted seeds. We planted a flower and a vegetable. It was so fun watching the girls decide what vegetable they were going to plant because it was going to be something that they would eat. The power of planting your own food is amazing. I bet you and kiddo will have lots of fun in your garden. I’m glad you didn’t forget the Fairies. As always, thanks so much for sharing this with our Let’s Get Real readers.

  3. You have obviously worked very hard. A lot of good Pinterest ideas used here, I’d like to see the pictures when everything is in full bloom! Should be really pretty!
    My dad once had to deal with a similar situation as yours. He planted a close row of Leyland cypress trees to create a natural hedge. Then he planted an entire field full of wild flowers seed mix. It was breath taking when they were all in bloom.
    Stopping by from Bloggers Bragg

    1. I hope that this turns out to be a fun project for us. We are hoping to move within the next year, so this might be our last garden project in this house. I hope the new owners appreciate our efforts!

  4. You’ll have to show more pictures later! I do a small garden every year–but the bunnies are making me not want to plant one this year. We’ll see. Thanks for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party! I’ve linked this to the party board!

    1. We are going to have a landscaping compyany that we used in the barn demo to come in a drop off a few yards of top soil in the next week or two. It will be so much cheaper that way. I have a lot of holes to fill! I am really excited for this project.

  5. Too bad that you can’t rebuild your barn, but look at the wonderful project that you’re doing with the kids. I think using what you have to make your garden is a great idea and will teach the kids to be more resourceful. Thanks for sharing on Merry Monday.

    1. Yes, I was very sad that we had to destroy two barns, one small enough for 2 cars and still had a little room and one large that could fit boats and RVs, just to build one that could fit a car, a riding lawn mower and some office space. There is also a bit of room for some tools. But its nowhere near the size of the one we had to bring down. Its a bummer. We should have fought for the grandfather clause, but we just didn’t have the money and by this time we were so ready to just be done with it all. But, now I have a better garden spot and we can create a fairy garden outdoors. I suppose it all worked out in the end.

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