Is an Ugly Garden Bad? (And How to Fix it)

Does it matter if you have an ugly garden? Are weeds really that bad? We’ve got the answers, plus tips to make your garden shine again!

When you think of gardens, more than likely images of beautiful flowers and delicious fresh veggies pop into your mind.

But what if your garden doesn’t look like those images? What if your garden is kind of…well…ugly?

Ugly gardening happens when gardens aren’t quite taken care of or in just some upkeep and repair needs. The good news is that an ugly garden doesn’t have to remain ugly with a little bit of work!

Follow these gardening tips to take back control of your garden space to make it beautiful and thriving. 

How to Fix an Ugly Garden…Fast!

Making an old run-down garden functional again doesn’t have to take as much work as you think! There are a few things to focus on that will get your garden growing again in no time. Then it’s just a matter of simple maintenance to keep it that way.

1. Get rid of the weeds

More than likely, gardens that look overrun or ugly simply have a weed situation that’s gotten out of control.

A few weeds here and there are normal. It’s pretty much impossible to get rid of them all! So if you’re looking at your garden and see some weeds peeking through, don’t despair!

However, if the garden is so full of weeds that you can’t see your vegetable plants or flowers, then that is a problem. Weeds can steal resources like water and nutrients from your good plants.

My husband and I usually do a “big” weeding session at the end of the summer season to get ready for our fall garden, as well as another big weeding session before spring planting. This is when we go all out and remove as many weeds as possible. This is also when we till the dirt and add compost to the mix.

Other than that, I do weeding here and there as needed. It’s definitely my least favorite garden chore, so I try not to let it get too out of hand.

And the good news is that once you get the bulk of the weeds out of the way, it won’t be such a big task to keep them under control.

TIP: If starting a raised bed garden, always put weed block material underneath your beds. This will majorly slow down weeds from getting into your garden, especially through the ground up.

2. Till the Dirt

Believe it or not, your soil needs TLC too!

Over time, plants and weeds will suck the nutrients out of the soil and it will become less productive.

Some gardeners add fertilizer, others use compost, and some use a combination of both. Personally, I add a wheelbarrow of compost to each garden bed at least once a year. Compost is magical stuff!

Tilling the dirt is also important because it loosens up soil that may have become compacted over time. This allows your plants to spread their roots more easily.

Related: Learn more about how to start a compost pile here!

3. Get Planting!

Part of making a garden a beautiful space is that you need to figure out what you want to plant. You can create a garden bed full of beautiful flowers or edible plants as well. 

One of the easiest ways to turn a glum garden area into a beautiful one is to add pops of color and plants. This may take a few months for it to grow but you’ll enjoy seeing the progress every single day. 

4. Add a Special Touch

Garden decorating is a thing!

And while it’s totally not necessary, if it makes YOU happy, that’s what matters!

There are so many cute ornaments or garden stones that you can easily add.

Garden markers are really popular now as well and are actually quite useful. You can use them to mark what you’re planting and to add a fun and unique look to your garden area as well. 

These are often sold at the store, or you can easily make your own. Using flat rocks that you add non-toxic paint to can be a fun way to add pops of color. 

Related: Check out this list of 45 DIY Garden Marker Ideas for inspiration!

5. Keep up with the maintenance 

Once you get the weeds under control, the soil tilled and planted, and the garden looking nice overall…you’ll want to keep it that way! The good news is that once you’ve done the hard part, all it should take is a little bit of daily maintainence.

Yep, I did day DAILY. (No one said gardening was easy after all!)

Now, I don’t do major work every day in my garden. But I DO at least take a walk-through. By checking up on my garden daily I can catch little problems before they become big problems. For example, if I find one caterpillar and get rid of it, then I’ve potentially avoided a crisis! One little caterpillar can do a lot of damage if left unattended.

Also, instead of having to do a big weeding session on the weekends (which is truly back-breaking work!) I will spend 10-15 minutes weeding most days. This helps me keep up with the weeding and not feel like it is a huge chore. And I can get the weeds out before their roots dig too deep!

I also check the soil to see if it needs watering. In Texas it can go for weeks without rain, so it is especially important that I make sure the soil does not get too dry. Insufficient water can stunt plant growth, or worse!

Read More: How Often Should You Water Your Garden?

overgrown raised bed herb garden
This is my herb garden. It’s a bit wild, a bit disorderly, but it is very productive!

But is an Ugly Garden Really that Bad?

The important thing to keep in mind here is that your garden doesn’t have to look like it belongs in a magazine to be productive and fulfilling. We can’t all be Martha Stewart with acres of raised beds and a staff to maintain them!

Some “ugly” things like weeds are about more than just aesthetics. Weeds can compete with your plants for resources. And weeds usually win.

However, sometimes things that aren’t as aesthetically pleasing to us aren’t actually a big deal. Are your rows not perfectly straight? Oh well! Did the bugs chew a few holes in the leaves of your turnip greens? As long as the turnip itself is fine, I’m not going to lose sleep over it!

A big part of gardening is trial and error — learning what works, what doesn’t. Every year, some of the things I plant die. One year the deer ate all my kale. So I learned to build a deer fence and that didn’t happen again! (And if you’re wondering…my fence is kind of ugly LOL…but it works!)

Your garden may not be the fanciest. Your garden may not look like the pictures you see on Pinterest. But if you’re growing food and having fun doing it, THAT my friends is what gardening is about!

With these simple gardening tips, you can easily bring your garden back to life. Remember that the more work that you do in your garden, the more that your garden is going to work and produce for you. 

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