This is an area I decided to turn into a woodland path connecting the front yard to the front of the house last year. I cleared away the ground vines and leaves, but didn't do much else.
Here is the after shot, after I hauled up load after load of bricks from our fireplace area and planted ferns, hydrangeas, and helleborus all the way up on either side. Oh, this tiny picture doesn't do it justice!
We have a circular driveway lined with rocks and small stone walls, alternating. I crawled along the whole length, weeding and pulling out trapped leaves and sticks.
I prefer it a bit shaggier than this, but trust me, it will grow quickly!
Our helleborus are generous self-seeders. Thousands of seedlings sprouted through the thick matted leaves...most had to pulled up. The front right bed before:
The left beds, too, were absolutely choked with leaves and twigs, and the old growth of the ferns and helleborus had to be cut away. A small before shot:
The small fenced-in section just outside our bedroom was one of the worst. Overrun with ivy and tree seedlings and over a foot deep with leaves in places, the hostas had come up before we'd cleared the space. That meant crawling around and carefully clearing the leaves with my hands.
The back garden was just as bad.
It's hard to tell because of the glare, but I spent hours and hours trimming bushes, pulling weeds, and removing dead leaves.
I'm not done by any means. I still plan on devoting a couple of hours a day to yardwork. I want to build another brick-lined path in the back yard, fill in all the bare spots you've seen in the side and back gardens with shade-loving flowers, and MORE weeding, and MORE leaf removal, and MORE transplanting. There's a lot of work involved, and I'm absolutely covered with mysterious insect bites of various sizes and levels of itchiness, but I love seeing it come to life. I'm excited to reach 'maintenance mode' and be able to sit back and enjoy all the natural beauty.
I hope you're having a great week!