This June, The Cool Down was delighted to hear from avid reader Monica Babwah, who shared the incredible story of her low-budget, eco-friendly yard transformation.
Babwah wrote from New Port Richey, Florida, to explain the lawn at her family’s “new but old house.”
“When my family and I moved in … it wasn’t a pretty sight,” she told The Cool Down. “We were so unhappy with the way the exterior and interior looked.”
Babwah shared a picture from those early days — when the yard was bare except for patchy grass and a small, circular patio area.
“We didn’t have much money to make our property look like some of the neighbors’,” she added.
But Babwah was ready to work to improve the space. With the support of her husband, she got started.
“We saw the potential of what it could be,” she said. “[But] I had to be creative because our budget was extremely tight.”
Babwah has also used her TikTok page, @creativehomedesigns, to share just how stark the transformation has been.
@creativehomedesigns #greenthumb#gardening#flowers#plants#soil#grass#landscape ♬ This to this – <3
She found a surprising amount of budget gardening supplies, often buying struggling plants from local stores at a discount so she could nurse them back to health. Other times, she’d pick up discarded concrete and rocks from nearby home landscaping projects.
Babwah was also lucky to have helpful neighbors.
“When my neighbor Terri trimmed her plants, she would ask me if I wanted the trimmings or the ones that had multiplied to be too many for her yard,” Babwah said. “I would soak some in water until roots would develop, then replant them.”
Babwah’s most exciting find was a set of 400 historic bricks, which she purchased for just $50.
“All they needed was a little cleaning,” she said. “The excitement, the beauty, and the history of these bricks made me want to do something special with them. One day, one of our children will walk down that brick walkway that I created to marry their life long partner, that’s my dream!”
Today, Babwah’s garden is a paradise of flowering bushes and trees, with her beloved brick path running through the center.
“The birds, butterflies, bees, and even the ducks stop by and rest in the grass,” she said. “They enjoy the natural environment just like we do.”
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