Fresh Cut Yard: Our ‘Out Front’ Makeover

Exciting things are happening on our homestead! Projects that took a long time to complete – pauses and phases and unexpected work – are finally coming together! Wahoo! Before and after time…

Below is our house about 4 long, snowy winter months after we bought it in December of 2009. We had just trimmed some very unruly bushes, cleaned out a ton of trash and dead plants and mowed the “lawn”. Weren’t she perty?

Next is about 1 month ago. We had removed bushes, removed aluminum siding, awning, and flashing. Next, Andrew spent last September and October painstakingly restoring, sanding, and painting the paneling and rebuilding the wood stairs. That black railing is the old one painted! And the steps.. only the treads are new. This was about 100 parts labor and 3 parts cost.

About 12 hours after the above photo was taken, we woke up bright and early to get this next step started. Picked up a truck load of top soil, leveled the yard, tamp-ed it down nice and tight…

Then we laid fresh green sod. We got ours at Lowes for about $75. We’ve since had to patch a few ‘dead spots’ so beware of quality – we think the sod was poorly watered since it was dry when we got to the garden center and sitting out in the hot sun. Water is key! We laid this before the mini-drought broke and 3 days of rain ensued! Yes!

We let this settle and attach itself, then I woke up at the break of dawn one Saturday to get shrubs and bushes and plants. I got there with a plan and completely scrapped it. I kept my basic goal in tact which was to obtain plants that would stay alive all year long so we wouldn’t have shrub skeletons greeting guests and passerby during the winter. I can’t wait to put twinkly lights on the evergreens and the red berries on the Needlepoint Holly will be so happy in the gray winter. Below are the plants in the truck. I got the bigger evergreen (not pictured) from a local nursery.

My generous mom gave me huge hostas from her yard for the side…Forgive the blurriness – I took this at 7 am the day after we planted them.. at 10 pm. By street light.

Skip ahead. Mulch. Mulch. Dig. Plant. Mulch. Grow.


Here’s the edge detail below – we made this using pavers found under the house and random rocks around our property (cough cough we dug up two smaller rocks from the alley cough). There’s one of those pesky brown spots! Say it together now.. water! See how the sod hasn’t attached to the ground below yet? It looks like a shag rug and would not need mowing for another 2 weeks. We’ve mowed it about 3 times now! It grows FAST! We accidently gave it a very short buzz cut this past weekend – it looked like normal height grass just 48 hours later for an idea of growth speed. Like 1/2 mm an hour. Which is like 70 mph in plant world.

This is the BEFORE for the “side yard”.. Yes, we literally air quote it when we say that out loud.

And the AFTER-ish.. This photo was taken a day or two after I planted those hostas – how snaggly and knarly do they look here?! Bad hair day, yard!

It now looks like that first photo above. The hostas look amazing, full, perfect, and healthy. The succulent-looking plants beside them will grow to about 2′ round and sprout pretty purple flowers in the fall. They are already double that size! Thank you, rain! You can barely see in the photo, but there are two plump ferns planted at the other end to frame this bed until we figure out what we want to do with it. We’d like to leave it as mulch, but we’re always adding, improving, and re-vamping.

Hope you enjoyed our front yard flip! I can’t wait for the blooms to pop in a few months! (The hostas in a few weeks!)


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