Photo taken about 2 years ago
...my un-garden in the front yard. Extremely observant and regular readers of my blog may have noticed that all of my posts about my garden are about what's going on in the backyard. There's a good reason for that. I haven't started the gardens in the front yet. Not that nothing's been done in the front. Oh yes. It looked very different when we first moved in.
Spring of 2005
You can't see it very well in this photo but the brick walkway leading to the porch was fairly uneven. The front porch was even worse, with some steps being much higher than others. (Fortunately the mailperson was adept at getting up there!) On either side of the porch were some very big azaleas, much taller than me. They created quite a damp environment against the house. In front of the azaleas were boxwood, which were very lovely until an overzealous lawn person trimmed them (after this photo). Off to the left of the porch was another brick walkway that was in much worse shape (I frequently tripped on uneven bricks there.)
The driveway, of which you see a portion above, was huge. You could fit four cars abreast on it. The lamp would have been nice except that it had been permanently disabled. There was a small weedy garden just in front of those side windows and some daylilies lining the driveway behind the brick edging.
This photo was taken when we first looked at the house 5 years ago
The yard is a corner lot so it's pretty big on the side. Many trees lay against the side of the house, including a Southern magnolia!
So what is the design plan? Well, as I explained in a post last year, one idea is to reveal the house itself. And obviously we needed to fix the situation with the plants being too close to the house and the dangerous brick walkways. So first we removed the plants.
In the photo above you can see the front of the house revealed as well as the walkway I tripped on occasionally. Also, the little boxwood to the left shows how I pulled out towards the street the small garden just a bit more. Unfortunately the small garden, destined to be mostly a rose garden, has lots of small bits of asphalt in it still. But at least drainage doesn't seem to be a problem. :-)
The summer of 2007 is when we made the most dramatic changes (although I guess you could consider getting rid of ancient blooming azaleas rather major!). My style is more contemporary than traditional so with the help of my friend Alexis, a great designer, it was decided that some simple steps would look best. I wanted to find some nice big concrete steps but failed at that. So I decided to go with a company that could not only create the steps in situ, but also give them any kind of finish and color.
So in rumbled the big cement truck. The man guiding the truck is standing on the newly removed driveway and daylily planting (I couldn't place all of them so some of the daylilies went to a neighbor).
One at a time, each step was poured. Once it had cured, they came back to spray a material that made them look like granite (kinda, sorta, but not really).
This photo shows the new portion of the lawn in place, the new steps, and gravel surrounding the steps. The front porch is awaiting curing and its coating in this photo. Putting in a lawn was the cheapest thing we could do at that moment. Eventually this lawn will be a mostly perennial garden with possibly even a picket fence. But because there is quite a slope there, more money than usual will have to be expended to make a garden there possible.
This photo of the front corner taken just today shows that there is still a lot of work to come. Most of the fence has been put in but unfortunately we never had the gate put in. (After installing the fence the great carpenters got full time jobs!) But most of the trees against the house have been removed, a small garden has been placed in front of the fence, Savannah hollies (Ilex x attenuata ‘Savannah’) and parsley hawthorns (Crataegus marshallii) have been planted, and that green stuff under the hollies, spider lilies, have been saved from our old mower. If I can get some help this winter, I hope to enlarge that small garden and continue it along the fence for a bit. Eventually I may incorporate the hollies into that garden. The gate WILL be put in place someday and will hide the air conditioners. And perhaps a little picket fence will extend from the gate area to around the front of the house, allowing for yet even more gardens. I just need more money and time (don't we all!). So now you know why you never see my un-garden in front, ha!
This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2009. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.