Monday, April 5, 2010

Outdoor work: Front yard (r)evolution

Yesterday I shared with you Saturday's deck project. While at the garden center, I also picked up a couple items for the front yard. Thankfully, though, we've devoted a decent amount of time to our small front yard over the last three years, so it needed little maintenance.

Here's what I picked up Saturday:
One hanging plant -- a Laguna Sky Blue lobelia hybrid --$21.99

Three dahlia plants...

...two standard yellow dahila Figaro Mixes -- $4.99 each

...and this beauty -- Dahlinov Hypnotica Pink -- which is my favorite item of everything I purchased Saturday -- $9.99

The best part is that all three dahlia plants literally grew overnight, and today they look significantly bigger than they do in these pictures from Saturday. Several new flowers appeared to have magically opened on each plant in less than 48 hours.

And though this is not a Saturday purchase, a couple weeks ago I decided it was finally time for a new doormat (the old one was so worn that its design had been completely rubbed out). Of course, it's from Bed Bath and Beyond, though I can't find it on the Web site (and I think I threw out the receipt...sorry!).

As I said in the beginning, I did minimal work to bring a little more color to the front yard. Here's a quick trip through the past three years to show you the space's evolution.

The front yard the first spring we spent in our house, before we did anything

The front yard after we built a wall out of slate (clearly we have a thing for slate), dug up the evergreens and replaced them with some small plants, flowers and hostas

Then I realized the wall was too high, so I removed a couple layers of stones.

Last spring we planted some new perennials, because most of our planting from the previous spring was a flop.

Last year we even did some planting on the sides of our house as well.

These hostas look small here, but they got quite mighty in a matter of a few short weeks.

So you can imagine my thrill this week when we got back from five days at the beach and discovered that ALL the plants I added last spring were coming back up out of the ground! I know this is not a miracle, but for me it certainly felt like one, and it made me feel like a proud semi-gardener.

Here's the front yard as it stands today:
I know at this moment it may not look like much compared to this time last year, but I can see all these plants and flowers getting ready to blossom, and the fact that I've kept them alive for more than one season feels like a major accomplishment. I hope in the next couple weeks they'll really take off, because in the future I'd like the front yard maintenance to only consist of adding maybe a couple annual flowers to the mix.

And yes, I'm trying to revive that small patch of grass in front of the slate wall. I am notoriously bad at this, but I'm trying some new tricks this year, so if I have success (finally) I will share with you what I did, but for now I feel like that's one area where I am not qualified to speak.


  1. Maybe you should consider some type of xeric groundcover in lieu of the small patch of grass? Since it is a small area next to pavement, it is probably difficult to water efficiently?

  2. Yes, ground cover is definitely an option, and thanks for that link. A lot of people in our neighborhood have some of the ground covers listed there. My only issue is that in the late fall and winter our neighborhood looks like one giant pile of mulch. At least regular grass is semi-year round. Right now I am watering using the hose's "mist" setting because apparently that is better for starting seeds. Who knows! If I fail this year, I think I'll go for ground cover next year.

  3. Check out the evergreen ground covers - they will stay green throughout the Winter.