Front Yard Makeover

27 May

Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! Ben and I took advantage of the long weekend by landscaping our front walkway. This included a whopping 105 plants, three 450 lb. boulders and 2 dump trailers full of mulch. You can see how it took us most of the weekend. But hey its fun to play in the dirt. Plus I read on a sign once: “Gardening: cheaper than therapy.”

We were fortunate enough to have a landscape architect friend draw us out a beautiful plan. The plan is half the battle and extremely important, so we were very grateful to have it. It gave us the confidence going in knowing what we were planting would look great and all the plants would thrive in their conditions.

IMG_3151To get ready for the plantings, first we had to cut down the ugly spruce tree that was growing too close to the house.

old treeThen we had to dig up and overturn all the garden beds. We rented a rotary tiller from Home Depot (3 hours for $40) to break it up and make it easier to dig. IMG_3144We got all the plantings at a wholesale nursery less than a mile away from our place. Which was good because it took 2 trips to get them home. Here they all are piled up in the driveway.

IMG_3147And now some before and afters!


IMG_3087After:IMG_3178Seen above are cone boxwoods flanking the front door and 5 smaller boxwoods, which will create a hedge. In front of those are a bunch of happy returns day lilies which will bloom yellow.landscaping 2Above are 6 knockout rose bushes and behind the boulder are 3 korean lilacs. We also made a new window box and filled it with trailing Calibrachoa.

IMG_3192Before/After of the path looking towards the driveway:landscaping1Before from farther back:IMG_3085

After:IMG_3176The grass got pretty torn up while we were working on everything but we spread seed and it should look good in no time!

Before/After:landscaping3Before/After:landscaping4In the area above by the garage are burning bushes (which go red in the fall) in the back, then top spirea in the middle (they have a white bloom) and then a bunch of autumn joy sedum (bloom pink) in the front and on the opposite side of the walkway.


IMG_3186The purple flowers above are May Night Salvias, more knockout roses behind those and then 3 hydrangeas on the corner.

IMG_3222Around the boulders above we transplanted a ground cover called vinca.

To go along with our beautiful new landscaping, I picked up a couple of wicker chairs at Target and a garden stool from Home Goods. The pillows we already had from World Market last year. In the pots are lavenders (smell so nice) and some hostas we transplanted.


We also planted some flowers in urns we already had. These were pre-made arrangements which we just transferred over, and for only $15/piece, it was cheaper than buying individuals and making our own.IMG_3221We used the extra mulch to put around all of the trees in the front, which makes everything look a lot tidier.IMG_3213

IMG_3209While our backyard is still under disarray, we plan to spend quite a bit of time out here. Exhibit A: Ben relaxing with a cold beer after a weekend of labor.

IMG_3225And just for kicks, here is flash back of the house when it was overtaken by weeds when we bought it. Crazy!


9 Responses to “Front Yard Makeover”

  1. Carly May 28, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    This looks amazing! Great job! Did you have someone cut down your tree or did you DIY? We also have a large evergreen growing next to the house that we need to get rid of…I think it’s too big of a job for us, but the man disagrees. 😉

    • 12oaksblog May 28, 2013 at 10:28 am #

      Thanks Carly! We cut the tree down ourselves using a 20 in. chainsaw. As long as its a straight tall tree and it looks even on all sides, you should be good and it will drop where you want it. First determine which way you want the tree to fall and make sure there is plenty of room. Then put a scarf cut into the trunk of the tree. Do this by cutting a straight cut 50% of the way through the tree. Then cut down on an angle to make the scarf. Make sure your angled cut and flat cut meet perfectly. The scarf is the most critical point of felling a tree. Too small and it won’t fall where you want, or too big and it may toble over before you do the back cut. Now after the scarf is complete you want to do the back cut. This should be about 1 ½ or 2 inches above the scarf. Make sure you have a safe place to run in case things go wrong. Just start to slowly cut into the trunk all the while watching the tree for movement. Once you see her start to lean and fall yell “timber!” and remove the saw and watch her drop right where you wanted her. Good luck!

  2. Mom May 30, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    Awesome job, It’s beautiful.

  3. Melissa May 30, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    Looks great! I saw your yard makeover on Studio G and was immediately drawn to it because we have a similar style house in the Chicago suburbs, and we’re getting ready to makeover the front yard. I wish we could do it all in one fell swoop like you did, but we’ll be planting bit by bit–a similar row of boxwoods to start out. The previous owners of our house over planted, so the landscaping got very crowded in just a few years, so I’m trying to be cautious and see how things fill in!

  4. deanna byrne July 10, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    Beautiful! Great plant selection! Kudos to your friend for selection and to you two for all the work! It looks good now and is going to look great!

  5. Lorene@Remodelaholic August 15, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    Wow, wow, wow! You have done some great work! Our yard looks more like the before than the after… but now I know there is hope!

    Also, I work with Cassity over at — we host a Remodelaholics Anonymous linky party every weekend (Friday through Monday) for all types of home projects. We’d love to have you come share this or any of your other posts, too! Great projects!


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