Garden Photo of the Day

Side Yard Transformation by Chris

From grass to garden

close up of bumblebee on zinnia

Today’s photos are from Chris.

I am from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania where I run a homeless outreach non-profit and offer plants and seedlings from the garden in exchange for donations. Our website is to find out more!

I’ve been working on turning my side yard into one huge garden for four or five years total now. We had some nonnative pines in this spot; they all died, so I started one bed at a time. I go heavy with native pollinators and perennials but also plenty of ornamentals. There’s enough room for everything here!

yard before garden transformationThe yard six years ago—before it started turning into a garden

close up of pink hibiscusLush plants now fill the area, like these huge hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus hybrids, Zones 5–9) derived from native species that boast huge flowers and beautiful foliage.

mass planting of multi-colored zinniasA huge mass of zinnias (Zinnia elegans, annual) blooms in shades of orange and red. Zinnias are native to Mexico and are easily grown from seed to fill a sunny area with flowers.

small dog on a brick walkway in the gardenThe gardener’s best friend on a brick walkway through the garden

houseplants outside on a patio in summerAlong with all the plantings in the ground, containers of houseplants outside for a summer vacation are lined up along the walk. Putting houseplants outside for the summer—taking care to move them into bright sun gradually so the leaves don’t burn—is a great, easy way to help them thrive.

close up of huge orange sunflowerSunflowers (Helianthus annuus, annual) are North American natives and are easy to grow from seed. As you can see if you look closely here, they’re big hits with bees and other pollinators, and then turn into living bird feeders as the seeds mature.

close up of bumblebee on zinniaA bumblebee enjoys the nectar and pollen on the zinnias.

cat in a densely planted gardenA furry garden friend between the lushly planted beds

container plantings of various flowersContainers of petunias (Petunia hybrids, Zones 9–11 or as an annual) add extra pops of color to the garden.

Chris sent in so many great photos that we’re going to come back and see more of his garden tomorrow.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 09/19/2023

    Nothing like zinnias for the garden.

  2. User avater
    cynthia2020 09/19/2023

    Hi, Chris. I especially liked seeing the before and after, the zinnias, and the brick walk. Thank you for sharing!

  3. User avater
    simplesue 09/21/2023

    Oh the cute dog, it's so nice to share the garden with pets.
    Your Hard Hibiscus is gorgeous, as is all of your garden!

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