How Far We’ve Come: The Front Garden

Knockout Rose Hedge and Rock Edge in Progress

Rock Edge in Progress

After sharing the progress on the rock edging yesterday, I thought it might be nice to share how the front garden has changed since we bought the house.

Then I realized, it’s been almost exactly five years since we bought our house! Almost to the day. Can you believe that?

I thought it would be fun to take a quick look back and see how far we’ve come. I’ll start with the front garden, since that’s where this conversation started.

When we bought the house, one of the things I liked about it was that the garden was a completely blank slate. The only thing here, besides the pear tree, was grass, barkdust and overgrown rhododendrons. We later learned that the previous owners had not wanted to garden, so had everything taken out. All I had to do was clear the overgrown bushes and start from scratch.

This is what the house looked like the day we bought it.
Front of House at Purchase

The first thing I did in the front is rip out all the overgrown rhododendrons and prickly evergreens.
Front of House After Clearing Garden

Today it looks like this — still a work in progress.
Front of House Currently

When we bought the house, the right side of the front garden disappeared in a tangle of overgrown bushes.
Right Front Garden at Purchase

Today it’s still a bit of a jungle, but it has a gate and evolving landscaping.
Right Front Garden Currently

On the left side of the house, there was just grass and more rhododendrons.
Left Front Garden at Purchase

We added a fence, and gate and lots of other things, and this is what it looks like today. Still working on it!
Left Front Garden Currently

Walking up to the front door, this is the view when we bought the house. Lots and lots of prickly evergreens!
Center Front Garden at Purchase

Right now it’s a mess because I’m changing the way it’s landscaped, but once the rocks and evergreens are in, it should look muuuuch nicer.
Center Front Garden Currently

I’m not sure it’s actually possible to see how different it is in these pictures, or how much work has been done. It seems dramatic to me, standing there in person, but there’s still so much of a mess, I’m not sure it’s showing yet in the photos. I feel good about the progress we’re making, though, and I’m sure that once all the beds are in we can add the rest of the fence, the brick path, the arbor, and then all the details to the house itself, the change will be obvious even in pictures.

Does your front garden look different than it did five years ago?

Best,

~Angela :-)


Rocks in Progress

Rock Border in Front Garden

Garden Gate with Arbor

Dduring the week, I spend the mornings with my children, and work in the afternoons while Mr. Magpie takes the kids. So I like to always have an outdoor project going so we can all be outside. I do love being outside. When I am getting short-tempered, Mr. Magpie will joke that he needs to throw us outside. He’s usually right.

Right now I have this project going in the front garden to edge the beds that line the house with low evergreen plants and rocks. I’m hoping that beefing up the foundation beds will give my house a little depth and dimension, since it has none of it’s own.

I’ve been wanting to do something like this since we got the keys five years ago, but what finally kickstarted this project was a windfall of free rocks and free plants.

The rocks came from a house my in-laws bought in the area. They were just piled around a tree in the front yard. My in-laws didn’t want them, so we carted them home in the back of the car. It took several loads. Then we dumped them on the driveway, and there they sat for a bit (*cough* a year *cough*) while I tried to figure out how to come up with all the plants I would need.

Just when I was thinking how much I really wanted to finish this project and get the rocks off the driveway, I got my second windfall. I belong to a local garden swappers group on Facebook, and last week a generous, lovely woman on a local garden swappers board I am on, decided she was ready to get rid of her knot garden gave away a ton of euonymus plants because she didn’t want to have her knot garden anymore. I was lucky enough to be first on the scene, and I was able to dig up and bring home all the plants I needed to finish the project. They’re all a pretty common type of euonymus called Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’.

Right now I’m working on the part by the door. You can see here where I’ve got a good start.

Rock and Euonymous Border in Garden

It’s kind of fiddly, so I just do a few rocks every day. Here’s where the next section will go.

Rocks Waiting to go in Border

You can see how I’ve already got the euonymous in, and I’m working my way down the line.

Unfinished Rock and Euonymous Border

Because the rocks were free and I didn’t know if I would have enough, I first distributed them all up and down the line on the grass so I could see if I was going to have enough to go straight across, or have to be artsy with groupings or something.

I also did the side by the other gate (I’m going to put a low hedge down the side there).

Rock and Euonymous Border by Garden Gate

Of course what I’m NOT showing you is the fact that all the beds out by the sidewalk are full of weeds and grass.

Weedy Mess of a Garden Border

(Blush.)

Also, the bed that’s front and center doesn’t have greenery OR rocks yet. But I’m working on it!

Pile of Dirt and Waiting Plants

Yikes.

Let’s look at something else before we sign off. I’ve been simplifying and cleaning up the borders, as I go, making sure there’s room for hydrangeas and daylilies to go with all the evergreens.

Purple Lacecap Hydrangea Blossoms

Hall's Pink Daylily and Tiny Beetle

Blue Hydrangea Blossoms on Black Stem Hydrangea

Of course, on the sunny side of the yard nearer the fence, there will be roses. Lots and lots of roses. That’s just required.

I also want to have a brick path leading to the front door, and I actually scored a huge pile of free bricks this summer to do that with. I don’t know if I’ll get it done this year, it might have to wait with fall rocketing this way. But at least the bricks are stored nicely, and not just dumped on the driveway. My neighbors are pleased, I think.

Are you doing any projects in your front garden this summer?

Best,

~Angela :-)