A changing landscape

Spring is finally here.  There might be snow in the forecast for later this week, but still, I know Spring will win out!  With the advent of Spring finally here, I thought this would be the perfect time to share another much-overdue post.  Ready for some eye candy?  Our front yard finally has some landscaping!

Landscaping 6

On our list of things to do at our new (is it still new after almost 3 years??) house was to update the landscaping.  Or, to be more accurate, put in some landscaping.  Since we moved in our yard has primarily been a dandelion refuge.  And a repository for random flowers planted too near the house.

Yard before landscaping

We had two rose bushes growing into our front steps which meant we could only walk on one side of the stairs lest we get pricked.  Oh, and there was the sad row of random tulips right at the front of the house.  Tulips are great, of course, but are only around for a short time.  And these were so sparsely planted that they definitely looked like a mistake (see above pic!).  And of course we can’t forget the impenetrable army of overgrown hostas that prevented anyone from getting from the sidewalk to the rest of the yard.

Yard before landscaping 4

Once we put in the deck last year and had the house painted it seemed to call out even more the lack of real greenery in the yard.

The only thing about the yard that we actually liked was our magnolia tree in the front yard.  Luckily it was planted far enough away from the yard that we knew we’d be able to keep it.  But the yard definitely needed a facelift.

DH and I talked quite a bit last Winter about what we wanted to do to the yard in the Spring, but eventually realized that we knew so little about plants that we really needed to consult with an expert.  I had been avoiding going to a landscape company because I know they use so many chemicals to keep things looking nice–chemicals that are extremely toxic to animals, the environment, and especially to kiddos.  So then I started investigating green/organic landscape companies and found one in Evanston that was perfect.  We got to work with the owner and a designer to plan the perfect update for our yard.  At first we had said we wanted to do the installation work ourselves, but when we saw how inexpensive it was to have it actually installed–and that it would take less than ONE DAY, we decided it was totally worth it to have it done professionally.

Landscaping 4

We planned all the work at the end of my pregnancy, and were able to do the install just a few weeks after Fiona was born.  It was amazing to see the progress since all this happened in one day–our yard went from this:

Yard before landscaping 2

To this:

Landscaping 1

We kept costs down by using less expensive plants (the original plan had a $750 tree in it–that came off right away!) that would eventually grow and fill in the space a bit more, including hydrangeas, catmint, and chokeberries.  We also saved a ton by transplanting some of our hostas to fill in some parts of the yard rather than buy new plants.  We also salvaged a peony bush that was growing that we had forgotten about.  The biggest thing we added was a serviceberry tree right by the deck (in the picture above), which helps add a bit of privacy to our side deck (which you can definitely see from the sidewalk).  The plants were placed strategically around the yard to help hide (or at least make less obvious) our utilities.

One of my favorite things we added was a bluestone walkway from the driveway into the front yard.  Not only is it functional (we walk that way a lot!) I think the stone is so beautiful.  The space underneath the magnolia seemed a bit sparse, so we re-located a weathered bench we had (which we inherited from my sister) and it ties everything together so nicely.  We noticed when we moved in that many of our neighbors have a spot to sit in the front yard, and now we finally have a nice spot to sit in the front yard as well.

Landscaping 5

By far one of the best things we did was having our downspout buried.  It had previously stuck out and tripped anyone who dared to pass through from the front to the side yard (which was pretty much everyone!).  It also looks much better!

Before:

Yard before landscaping 3

After:

Landscaping 2

We now have a small patch of new grass in the front yard which we’ve been struggling to keep up with.  It grows so much faster than a patch of dandelions (which is what we still have going on in the rest of our property).  We got quotes for doing a ton more landscape work, but since we use the backyard for recreation with the kiddos, we wanted to wait on spending money on that area until down the road.

So there you have it!  I hope you enjoyed the transformation as much as we (and our neighbors) do!

Cheers,

G

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