Backyard Garden Makeover – Creating a Shady Zen Oasis (Before & After)

What’s up everyone, Kevin here. So we’re in a spot in my garden that I
almost never show you guys and this is my backyard and it’s hard to call it a
garden because I don’t grow a whole lot. I have a bougainvillea
here I’ve got a ficus, but there’s not a whole lot going on and
that’s because it’s a shady zone of the garden. But today I’ve joined forces with a
company I’ve been working with for a long time Gardener’s Supply Company. They’re actually here in San Diego and
they’re doing a complete transformation of the backyard into a Shady
Zen Oasis. So stay tuned. The first thing we’re going to do is
show you what it looks like right now. So as we come into the
backyard, I have my garden shed, which you guys have seen before. But over here I don’t think
I’ve really showed too much of, and so I’ve got my little dining table. There’s just a section of emptiness
right here and more or less an empty ish bed. We have a couple plants that
are, that are buried right there, but not a whole lot going on right
here. It’s underneath this pergola, which gets slatted sunlight
through portions of the year. You can see a little bit
peeking in, not a whole lot. And then over here I’ve got a massive
bougainvillea that always gets a little out of control. This ficus always
gets a little out of control as well. It’s kind of going
through the power lines. And then I have my patio section here and
there’s some empty space behind the AC unit just hanging out.
Nothing going on back there. And nothing really besides the
clutter going on over here either. So it’s kind of an open field day. So the plan is to turn
into a Shady Zen Oasis. We’re going to be putting in some raised
beds over in this zone. Over here, we’re gonna be putting
some raised beds over here. We’ve got some really cool
plants at the local nursery, so let’s go ahead and jump into it. Gardener’s supply team and I headed on
down to Walter Anderson nursery here in San Diego. Beautiful, beautiful nursery, great for some of these rarer
or larger species and specimens. Now Deb and I here are discussing
which bamboo we want to grow. The reason why we’re choosing bamboo is
because we want something that’s going to grow decently tall and act as a living
privacy fence in the two foot by eight foot raised bed. It’s going to go against the back fence
and kind of protect against that alley and some of the noise and urban sprawl.
I knocked a couple of bamboo over. We don’t need to worry about
that. Now we were like, we don’t know what to choose until we
saw this black bamboo right here and this one is just absolutely amazing,
beautiful, little pricey but beautiful. I believe it’s Phyllostachys
Nigra. I could be wrong there. Now Jenny here is going to go ahead
and do a little Vanna White compare and contrast. We just couldn’t decide
which one to choose and then
we finally made the call to go with the black bamboo and we chose
a low lying clumping bamboo for accent around the bottom of that
two foot by eight foot bed. A lot of you are probably thinking, why would you ever get in bamboo that’s
going to spread and grow like crazy? Well yes, but it’s planted over concrete and
it’s in a contained raised bed. So it’s really not going to do the thing
that most people think it would do. Now the next thing we had to solve was
the double two by four foot beds or two, two by four foot beds going
underneath the awning, which is more cool or humid, less light and immediately you start
looking in the fern section, right? So we’ve chose some birds nest ferns as
our low lying planting in that that bed. And then we chose some accent
pieces, some very large powerful, beautiful alocasias is to
provide that high contrast. I also couldn’t help getting an Australian
Tree Fern, this huge accent piece. You can see they’re delivering it right
here as well as the rest of the plants. And that concludes the nursery trip. So we’re just starting out. But we have
as you can see quite a bit of soil, little sneak peek of a staghorn fern
that’s going in and we have one of the raised beds, the eight foot raised bed, which will be back there creating a
little privacy from this urban sprawl over here. We are making the raised beds guys, Deb is hard at work and we constructed
one of the two by eights and this is where the bamboo is going to go. You can see all we did was
just screw it together, very simple construction and we stacked
two on top of each other to get a little bit more height because number one those
are some pretty decent sized bamboo and number two we just wanted a little bit
more height to put a little more volume of soil. Now Sue here is bringing
in our Phyllostachys Nigra. We decided to go with four different
Phyllostachys Nigra to go one, two, three, four in that two by eight
foot bed and those are accent pieces. Now this is my first time growing bamboo. And so if you’re out there and saying
why are they doing it this way? Or why didn’t they think about this? Well probably because it’s my first time
growing bamboo and we just made that call at the nursery. So it’s something
that I would love to learn more about. It’s a fascinating, fascinating plant
and if you have a comment on it, please, please share it down below because I
would love to learn from you as well. I’m much more of an edible gardener and
this is way more an ornamental planting. And so you know, sometimes
you just have to experiment. So here we are just kind of planning
out the layout and figuring out the way that we really want it
to aesthetically look, but already it’s starting to just take
shape and look absolutely amazing. This is how we do it here
at Epic Gardening. I watch it seems harsh but the plants will
be fine. It’s bamboo, they’re tough. So here we are just chopping these clumps
up and trying to get the most value out of them. Bamboo, pretty
resilient plant overall. And so we think that we can spread it
out a little bit and just get a nice aesthetic look and slowly it will fill
itself in over time provided we care for it correctly. So that’s the final look
of it and I think it looks really, really nice. It has a lot of
potential to grow in in the future. We put in one of the Gardeners spike
irrigation kits, which is really, really handy and you can see we’re
just testing a little different water pressure here and we came across
a healthy medium and there you go. We have our little bamboo oasis put in.
Now it’s onto the rest of the garden Here we went with some alocasias,
some really cool looking ones here. And then we interplanted with bird’s
nest ferns for the lower growing section. So it’s kind of a fern
tropically but shade loving area. Cause this time of day about four ish, five ish pm is the only time this gets
direct sun coming in over this little hard to see cause I just blocked it but
like basically where my finger is to where that roof is is about an hour
and a half worth of sun that comes in through here. So we chose some stuff that would work
well in that condition and look really, really nice. It’s been a few months since the
Shady Zen Oasis transformation. So I figured why not show you
how things have settled in? Now, the part we didn’t focus on so much was
some of these awesome plant accents. So you have this big tree fern right here. This is actually a completely new frond
that has come out since we did the transformation. Honestly, I thought
this might not make it in the space, but it seems to have really acclimated
the first month or so it just wasn’t doing that well and it’s settled in
now and it’s really, really performing. I mean this looks amazing. So
that’s a fantastic addition. Then you have your alocasias and
your bird’s nest ferns. I mean, a lot of these are plants that many of
us grow in our homes as indoor house plants. But I remember there’s
no such thing as a house plant. All plants evolved outside and so they’re
going to do well outside provided you give them the right conditions. And so these massive alocasias
are putting on new leaves. The bird’s nest ferns are immaculate and
I’ve added a couple of accents here and there. So let’s take a look. So
in my bougainvillea and ficus, we have these cool globe lights.
They’re solar powered on the top, so they recharge every night and then
they just throw a light out right underneath or sorry, right
underneath, right here. And this pattern just cascades
out over the course of the night, which is really, really nice.
So I have three of those. And then over here in our bamboo section, which the bamboo has been a little bit
more rough of an adaptation to this climate, but we’re going to hope, go
ahead and hope that it pulls through. These lights are really nice. So these are also solar charged and
you can leave them on if you want. But I end up turning them off. And what you do is you just unscrew this
and there’s a little switch under there and you turn it on. But it gives us really nice
pattern throughout the back here. And then we’ve got these cute little
boxes or these little planters right here. Here’s a better look at the alocasia
and fern heaven over here and there’s my little grow bag. And then look at that
guy right there. Let’s go see him. The staghorn, the staghorn has been doing really
well in this slatted sunlight area. Obviously there’s a little,
a little dryness right here, but we’re putting out a lot of new growth.
So it’s going to be completely fine. You can see some more shield development
going on right there. So overall, I mean this is just such a better space
than it used to be. Can you imagine? I’ve got my little bird feeder here. And what’s been really nice about this
is up in this area with the bougainvillea and the ficus. Uh, it’s
become a bird haven. It is a little unkempt and actually I
think the city’s going to come out because we really don’t want it growing through
these power lines. But in the meantime, it’s an amazing bird haven. I found
multiple hummingbird nests, et cetera. So it’s really looking good. So I have to say a huge thank you to
Gardener’s Supply Company company I’ve worked with for years now. Amazing people. It’s an employee owned company and they
just do good work and they want a lot of people to grow plants and grow
food, which is what I’m all about. So thank you to them for coming out and
helping me transform this space into the Epic Shady Zen Oasis.
And you’re going to see, and you probably have seen a lot
of videos back here. So we have, now we have back here,
we have our side yard, we have our front yard and we have
the houseplant jungle upstairs. So like four little spots
for videos to come out, which I’m really excited
about. So stay tuned. Good luck in the garden
and keep on growing.


  1. Huge thank you for the transformation! If you like any of the products, here are the links to check them out:
    Casablanca Solar Lantern

    Solar Torch Light

    Festiva Planter

    Recycled Composite Raised Bed

    Snip N' Spray Sprinkler System

  2. My only thought would be, why didn’t you plant the bamboo toward the other end to block the houses and stuff going on over there? The end you planted them in only has a house there. The other end has a lot more going on that I don’t think I would like to see. Just my opinion 💚🙃

  3. Kevin – thanks for welcoming us into your garden and letting us show how easy it is to transform a shady outdoor space! Our team had a blast — and we love how it turned out. Best, Amanda E.

  4. Not positive….. I think the Black Bamboo is less aggressive than others. I used to have Heavenly Bamboo when I lived in CA. Was s pretty. It does not survive in Idaho. 🙁 thanks for sharing this. I am all about garden rooms/spaces. I enjoy walking from one to another. Always a surprise when others see this. My lot was totally bar when we bought it in 2008. Now it is turning into a jungle.

  5. What a gorgeous transformation! We have a courtyard here at home that we’ll hopefully be turning into a garden sometime in the future. I think I’ll need a garden designer to give me a hand, but I’m very excited. You’ve inspired me! 😊🌱

  6. What a gorgeous makeover! Love that we got an update too! I wish i could grow these types of plants outdoors all year round. Enjoy!

  7. Great transformation! I love those light teal globes and that staghorn (?) is awesome! The bamboo will look amazing once it fills in and grows up.

  8. I love this makeover, it turned out really nice and peaceful !!! And you've got hummingbirds in your trees, that sounds so exotic…

  9. Epic video as always, really looking forward to seeing how lush your backyard will get. New fence looks amazing btw 🙂

  10. Your transformation backyard garden so beautiful..❤️
    Men you are so cute and lovely lots of love dear..❤️
    I am from Bangladesh

  11. hi i am from nova scotia i wanted to plant the clumping bamboo for privacy . the problem is can i grow it in cold weather and is it ok to grow it in my province

  12. Great going and I can tell you I have the same bamboo and 2 others indoors under large sunny facing windows. You are planting them just right. If you ever want to by more at some point. Just separate the bamboo you have because it will send off shoots okay brother. Love what you have done. I am all for a zen space with the right ambiance. Now throw some industrial string lighting back there.

  13. Great job!!! 👍🌿🌱🌴 we did a very similar thing with bamboo ( raised beds) it was years ago & they've lasted all of these years. . ( low maintenance too) I think that your new zen garden is lovely!

  14. Time for a garden party! 🍷 it came out great, I bet it looks so cozy at night with that lighting.

  15. Ooooooo I hope the bamboo pulls through🙏🙏🙏 ! It's such a cool idea! All of it is amazing. Thanks for sharing

  16. Excellent choice with the black bamboo. I remember a house near my neighborhood park had bamboo as a hedge for privacy it was stunning head Turner and unforgettable. Would love to try this.

  17. I love this space now. Bamboo is such a cool plant and if I lived in a warmer climate I would love growing it. I love how it is giving off the zen oasis vibe, you did a great job, love those raised beds they are a game changer.

  18. Gardner’s supply is great. Love the look. My bamboo stretches 80ft across a main portion of our backyard. I love it. Hang in there. Yours will take hold if the roots can go deep enough. 👏🏻👏🏻

  19. Your bamboo trees will spread out to your neighbour's backyard for sure and since bamboo root is very strong and it grows horizontally, give it a few years, it will invade your entile garden. It grows like weed. If anyone want to plant bamboo tree, plant it in a plant pot, it's ok. I have had this problem for so many years and still can not get rid of all of bamboo trees in my backyard.

  20. I have a whole collection of bamboo/ elephant ears/ bromeliads/ stag horns/ ferns, literally a whole wide scale variety in my back yard. Your plants look very good, all I have to say is if you could raise the bed a few more inches or a foot where the bamboo live in, they are gonna also need a lot, and I do mean A LOT of water. The best thing is that they are a grass, and fertilizer would be good, but cheap lawn fertilizer is best, they mostly need nitrogen. I feed mine that, plus epsom salt for the shiny green leaves. I hope this helps!

  21. How sweet it is. Bamboo is perfect there. Unfortunately I have the wrong bamboo in my yard. Don't know how it got there but we try to get rid of it to no avail. I need to ck out those sprinklers. Awesome. Everthing looks great. Enjoy.

  22. Bamboo is an epic mistake. You and your unfortunate neighbors will be forever digging it out. Where you planted is not “contained”. Everyone I’ve ever know who actually planted it, on purpose, regretted it. Just saying…

  23. Beautiful!!!! I want summer back please!! 😀
    I also had a stunning bamboo, but we had a couple of crazy windy days last summer and all the leaves got crispy. I'll be pruning it hard in March/April and hopefully it'll bounce back. Other than that it's an easy plant and has a really soothing sound.
    Enjoy your beautiful new space and have a great week!! 😊

  24. So so cool. My neighbor has bamboo in his backyard up against our shared fence and it has grown over to my side. So I take the canes, cut them down and then use them to keep my tomato and pepper plants upright while they’re growing.

  25. Love bamboo 🙂 super hardy, that’s the first plant 🌱 I brought indoor, I killed two aloe indoor already but bamboo still alive, bamboo super hardy 👍

  26. What a gorgeous transformation, especially in San Diego where you can use that space almost year round. It’s interesting to see you get more into non food producing plants and really fine tuning your spaces generally. Keep it up!

  27. Hello from France. There are 2 types of bamboos: the clumping bamboos and the running bamboos. The black bamboo is amazing it grows super fast in the best conditions. I have the goddess bamboo that I use as a privacy screen. Check also the Buddha bamboo you might like it. Bamboos are amazing and when you start studying them and you will buy more bamboos lol.

  28. Solar lights recharge at nite??? How many hours if sun do they get?? Im wondering about solar lights in my very shady front yard.

  29. Hi I am ur new subscriber frm india..I too have an old cane swing which hangs from ceiling.but I don't have space for it in my tiny balcony..give some idea to reuse that swing in some other way.

  30. am starting making my balcony jungel thank you for the idea .. and yea am taking from my indoor plant that love highe lights and puting them in the balcony if its too hot for them ill take them in again 😁

  31. Looks awesome! You should install a small water feature in that shady space! The sounds of gentle running water is so soothing. Since you have humming bird nests, where's the humming bird feeders? 😉

  32. I love Gardeners Supply Company! Their products are a little expensive but very good quality. Just got some titan tomato cages. Can’t wait to use them!

  33. I have a friend with black bamboo in her backyard. It’s not contained so of course it went wild but it looks amazing! By far my favorite bamboo…good choice!

  34. Great design Kevin!
    The bamboo needs more soil depth, given it’s in a small area, I wouldn’t fertilize it even though it’s a grass, it would like it, but it’ll lean over if it gets too much fertilizer; compost is best. You’ll have to deal with it in a few years. If there is soil on the other side of the fence, you may want to plant that mass of roots (you’ll see eventually) in the ground so it gets bigger and screens more effectively; black bamboo in particular shouldn’t spread too aggressively, in drier climates. I’ll leave a link to my video on how to contain it, if you’d like. It’s so cool you can grow bougainvillea and ficus in the ground! I live in zone 6.

  35. thanks for sharing kevin, im currently doing a study project, regarding natural conservation, farming etc. there are questions i need to ask, do you mind if i pm u? thx

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