Front Garden Makeover

I love having Brian home from college.  For many reasons.  He is a positive person, funny, like a parent to his younger brother (sometimes,) likes playing games, and last but not least, he does discounted landscaping.  He’s not afraid to work hard, takes direction well, adds his viewpoint, and enjoys a little extra cash.  I knew while he was home this summer I wanted to tackle the overgrown front garden that greets you at my front door.

This all started once we removed a huge evergreen tree in the spring.   The tree on the far left below is a magnolia tree and stayed.  The tree second to left was removed by a tree removal company.    That made a big difference and lightened the front view of our home as well as let more light into the dining room.  Here’s the before, notice you only see three upper level windows:


Here’s the front of the house without the extra tree, wow there is another window up top!  And the limelight hydrangeas I planted are beginning to bloom nicely in the front of the picture.

IMG_1298[1]But back to the front garden project.  From the view above, you see the birm garden in the middle of our front yard.  That’s another story for another day, and the massive mounding round bushes do provide privacy to the front garden.  Here is the front garden “before” shown below:

IMG_0985Thick, heavy mondo grasses that have not been trimmed or cleaned annually (at least that’s my guess) lined the front garden area.  Sorry mondo grass, but I prefer my beloved hostas lining a garden, but let’s see if we can forge a friendship if we clean you up.  Yes, I talk to my garden plants. I think I heard somewhere it helps the plants grow and while I’m still building friendships here…hey, don’t judge me!  I think it’s working.

IMG_0987Several groups of bushes exist somewhere between dead and overgrown.  Woven through these are tons of weeds, ivy and other invasive plants.  I started the cleanup process early in the mornings before the sun got too hot, lopping the bushes down close to the stumps.  Leaving some short branches to help pull out the stumps.  A few stumps came out easy.  A few were left for Brian’s strength.

IMG_0989Slowly we were clearing out the jungle and working toward a blank slate to rebuild the garden.  Picture above shows first group of bushes on the right removed.  I made a list of all the 2-3 hour tasks that Brian could handle to get this garden closer to where it needed to be:

  • Lop off first bush branches and remove ivy from along brick
  • Thin out mondo grasses creating an entry and remove bush stumps
  • Relocate or remove second bush group (ended up removing)
  • Clean out all weeds, misc. plantings, and magnolia leaves and level dirt area
  • Lay down 6 bags dirt to fill holes, lay down 10 bags of black mulch ($40 total investment)
  • Bring chairs and table from backyard, along with a couple ferns

IMG_1285[1]Progress!  Kevin helped move the bags of dirt and mulch and after laying a landscape fabric along most of the dirt, it was time for some furniture.  Voila, an inexpensive garden makeover and a lovely place to sit and watch the sun come up.

IMG_1294[1]This is still in progress.  I’ll be thinking about what bushes I will bring in to run along under the windows.  With all the leaf trimming required in this yard I am definitely thinking slow growing evergreens.  And need to update the spent planter flowers.  Maybe some paver stones.  The mondo grasses are still heavy, but for now, this clean palate will do the trick.

IMG_1295[1]A nice place for morning coffee and sunrise views.  Brian doesn’t head back to school till after Labor Day, but I’ll remember the work he did to clean up this garden long after he’s gone!  Thanks for looking.


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5 Responses to Front Garden Makeover

  1. Beautiful! O love the seating area… with the small table enough to hold 2 beers, and perhaps a bag of swedish fish! You are motivating me to do some more in our gardens when we get back from SoCal!
    Love the blog…and love you!

  2. Aunt "B" says:

    There is no end to your talents – bravo to you and Brian for a beautiful job……

  3. Sandi Kemerling says:

    Nicely done! Great having a strong son (sons) to help out! A lot of TLC in that project!

  4. Sandi Kemerling says:

    In addition, agree you are amazing. Your talents, gifts are endless 🙂

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