{renovate} front yard landscape updates

Friends, before we talk about my yard, I want to thank each of you for the super kind words you left us after Monday's post. I love this space and love sharing things with you guys and reading all your comments brought tears to my eyes. I shared them with Chris and we both treasure them ... thank you for all your well wishes :). I'll keep you updated with (hopefully) good news!

Now, let's talk about my yard. We originally landscaped the front yard in the summer of 2010. It was a pretty big project ... we tore out a bunch of grass, shaped the remainder and we planted a lot of shrubs, plants and even a couple trees! You can read more landscaping our front yard here.

Front yard *before*, circa 2008

I'm think I need to preface the remainder of this post with .... we are NOT landscaping people. In fact, it kinda terrifies me. I'm so worried about messing things up. I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that, much like indoor decor, landscaping can always be changed. This brings us to this past weekend. 

Yard *after* landscaping, circa 2010

Last summer I began noticing that there were some plants I wasn't happy with -- some died, some weren't flourishing where they were planted, and some were flourishing more than they should've been! :) But, I wanted to let them grow a little more and put off really taking action until this year. 

And here's where things stood this spring:

The beautiful orangy copper plants in front were being VERY overcrowded by that insane Mexican orange.

On the other side, we had a HUGE hole. There were a couple plants there, but they died. 

Remember when I went to the nursery to buy soil a couple weeks ago. There were so many amazing perennials, that I came home with a bunch of plants to fill in the gaps in the front yard.

And, now all those great plants are beautifying my front yard!
On this side, I moved a few plants to different places in the yard, moved the gold plants closer to the lawn to create more of a border, trimmed the Mexican oranges and planted both white and red flowering perennials. Pretty! :) 

Actually, I have a question for you all. Does your yard have a color scheme? Because ours totally does: reds, yellows, oranges, whites and greens. NO purple or pink. I just makes me happy to have a cohesive look in the yard. Some people think I'm nuts. But really, if I'm going to colors scheme my house, why not my yard too? :)

On the other side, I planted the same white and red perennials on the other side of the stairs, moved a few more plants and added a bunch of white and yellow flowering plant/bushes.

And, here's a close up of those right side plants (ps: I know. We need bark dust. It's on the list of things to do this spring :):

I am so much happier. I just hope the plants I moved live! We'll see :). Like I said ... not an expert in landscaping. But, it was easier than I thought it would be and now I feel way more confident.

The next challenge is a biggie, simply because I'm stumped.

How's that for keeping it real? EW.

Originally we had these gorgeous gold/red grasses planted (you can kind of see them in the 2010 after photo, above). But, most died. Awesome. And then weeds COMPLETELY took over. Obviously. They're worse here than any other place in the yard. So the plan is to dig it all up, put down plastic and start over. The stumped part comes in though because I have NO idea what to plant there! I'm leaning toward boxwoods, but they seem so .... predictable. I don't know. Suggestions are more than welcome! :)

So that's where we're at with our yard. Lots of positive updates. A little ways left to go. You know, before we start all over next year :). What are you guys doing in your yards this spring? Any major updates? Minor? I'd love to hear!


  1. Your yard is beautiful! Ours has a color scheme too, but that all got ruined when the azaleas we bought were a different color than advertised. :)

  2. Looking good!

    Totally unintentionally our yard has a pink & purple motif, which is funny because I kind of hate purple. But lavender grows like gangbusters in our drought stricken environment so there it is.

  3. Okay so you've inspired me to get movin' on my flower beds--mine are so out of control. I love how yours are edged so beautifully. See, all your hard work is paying off! I think boxwoods are classic--I can definitely see them bordering your walkway. It would bring some nice uniformity/symmetry to that area.

    P.S. I've been praying each day for you guys! Please keep us updated.

  4. What about using some hostas? They are low maintenance and add a lush look to gardens. They also come in a bunch of different varieties - verigated, solid green, green and white, etc. I'm not the best gardener but I've been working really hard on our backyard and will be starting on the front soon.

  5. I completely agree with the hostas suggestion. They come back every year and require basically no care other than having to split them when they get too big. You could also plant bulbs (lilys, tulips, iris, etc). I try and plant a lot of things in our yard that are not only pretty but will come back every year without a lot of care/fuss required. It's not too late to plant bulbs that would bloom late summer/early fall and then you could put in ones later this summer that will come up in the spring and early summer.

  6. Super impressed! Outdoor stuff scares me! I wish I knew more about landscaping, but I don't and I feel like I never really have time to learn. You guys made a huge improvement with those simple changes and I congratulate you for just getting dirty and getting in there! Obviously, I have no advice, cause I literally have no clue!! But I do love how you guy added black to the window and door trim, that looks awesome!

  7. Hey Jenn! My husband and I have been working on our landscaping since we moved in 6 years ago. We live on 1/2 acre, and this has meant a LOT of work! We have planted 5 trees, 3 rows of hedges, and more perennials and annuals than I can count. It is so much work but so gratifying to see the growth over time and transformation. Your little cottage is adorable, and the yard is spectacular. Great job!!
    Hope you are well, Whitley

  8. I've slowly gotten better about our outdoor improvements although it has gotten tougher to keep up with them since having Sheila. We've planted some boxwoods on the side of our house and they're easy which I like. I do planters in the front of the house and in the back and those always have a color scheme each year. Instead of planting anything at the walkway, what if you just did pebbles/stones? I guess maybe you want a little more in there, but the pebbles might solve the problem of maintenance and keeping something out there. I was also going to suggest hosta depending upon how much light you get out front. Our neighbor has a ton of beautiful hosta and I'm so jealous because I want some to fill in the holes that we have in places.

  9. You're doing a lovely job! Keep going! Yes, having a color scheme makes absolute sense, and I like the one you're working with.

    I've tackled a number of landscaping projects and learned from each one. It is intimidating because it's SO visible, and because the results take time, so you're never quite sure you've done the right thing.

    I've gardened for many years, I've taken a couple landscaping courses, I am always reading about gardening, and am a Master Gardener. I love hostas, but that's not what you want lining the front walk. Consider it part of your foundation planting. It has to look good all year. Unless you live in the South, hostas or bulbs along your walkway are going to leave you with dirt come winter in Oregon. All those plants are fine, but the bones of the plantings along your walk should be shrubs. They can be small, but they need to be green all year.

    Can you make friends with your local plant nursery or other plant retailer? They will help you make selections based on what's hardy. I am sure the library and department of agriculture or state college will have info for you. There is also a good landscape design forum on GardenWeb.com.

    Like you need more to do! I hope your husband is seeing results of your program. I support the path you are on, using alternative methods to heal rather than disguise symptoms. Moving dirt around, breaking a sweat and being outside could be the best therapy for you right now.

    Blessings to you both.

  10. Nice work! I especially like the red perennials on either side of the steps, so pretty.

    You are smart to have a color scheme. I have to confess I don't have one for our yard...I am way too much of a botany nerd/plant collector, I don't want to limit what plants I can fall in love with!

    For the sides of your walkway, my out-of-the-box(wood) suggestion is ferns. It's the Pacific Northwest, after all! There are some really lovely varieties with fronds in unusual/variegated colors. I like the hosta idea, too.

  11. Hey there,
    I have more recommendations for you. Um...not to be totally creepy, I hope, it's just that the question of small evergreen shrubs was on my mind as I'm mulling some of the same for our front yard. And I think your correspondent above is right that you want something evergreen (not ferns or hostas). So how about:
    1. Evergreen huckleberry (looks very similar to boxwood, and you might even get berries to eat!)
    2. Kalmiopsis leachiana (a very small--1 foot tall--azalea/rhododendron relative). Available from Keeping it Green nursery in Washington State and perhaps other places.
    3. Ceanothus/wild lilac. Look around for a dwarf cultivar. I'm not as familiar with Ceanothus but I'm betting there might be one that has the growth habit you're aiming for.
    All three are Pacific NW natives or (in the case of #3) native-ish.


Your comments make my day! Thanks for stopping by and sharing! :)