The transformation of our front yard through the last year and a half

When we bought this house, the front yard hadn’t exactly been cared for in a long time.

A chain-link fence was installed some years back, as well as on the neighbors’ houses on either side of ours. I can’t pretend I really know what life was like on our street during the rough and tumble previous few decades when all three of these houses were occupied by the same families, but we didn’t really see the utility of a fence on a yard that was too small for kids or a dog to run around in securely. And if someone was going to break in, was a 4-foot chain-link fence going to stop them? I guess it would keep strangers from sleeping or peeing in your yard, perhaps, but that’s about it. (Most public peeing takes place in the alleys these days. Our city is a difference place in 2012!)

In any case, we decided to yank the fence out, open up our front yard, tear out almost everything including the overgrown ivy, and fill it full of plants just about a year ago, a process we chronicled in a few posts.

Just a few weeks of work resulted in a huge difference in the curb appeal of the house. Along the way we discovered a neglected hydrangea and a hosta buried in the yard that we didn’t know about. The rest of it, outside of the massive annoying tree in the corner, we put in ourselves. And we had a great looking yard all spring and summer long. Once the fall came and everything died back a bit, Rachel planted 160 bulbs in the ground so we’d get an early splash of color in the last days of winter.

Our front yard now has Nandinas, an Azalea, Lilies of the Valley, Helleborus, a Hydrangea, Tulips, and a bunch of other stuff I can’t remember. The Nandinas and the Helleborus all came from Rachel’s parents’ house in Atlanta, though the Nandinas actually traveled with us on the plane as a tiny sprout in a plastic bag in our carry-on bag.

As we prepare to get our hands dirty again and switch out some of the flowers for spring, I thought I’d just look back at the front garden through photos from the last year and a half and see how much things have changed.

When we moved in.

Front exterior

Tearing out the fence, and then a shot of the front yard after the fence is gone and the soil turned over somewhat.

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Ready for planting

Ready for planting

The first round of plants in the ground.

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And then two months later after everything has bloomed and grown a bit. Note the change to the lattice and the front joist under the porch from the above picture. This was after the layers of paint were stripped off of the steps and concrete pedestal, and the joists and lattice repainted.

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Of course, winter came and everything retreats into the ground or simply dies for the season, or permanently. But by mid- to late-winter, you could see the bulbs starting to poke through the mulch in the top right photo.

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Which turned into a host of tulips and other flowers.

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Coming up this spring, I’ll be replacing the old rotten porch railing and balusters with brand new ones, freshly painted. Which will really be the final project in the attempt to transform the front of the house.

So what’s next in the garden? You’ll have to ask our resident master gardener about that one, but we’re going to replace some of the annuals with new things for the spring. Coming soon.

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