before & after: the front yard

I suppose a logical place to start introducing all of you to our home would be the front yard, yes?

The Before

This is the only photo I could find of how it looked when Devin first moved in.  Here he is hard at work and starting to transform the yawn inducing and weed ridden front yard into something more.

Also notice the barren brick planter box beneath the front window.  This became my project down the road, which I’ll detail in a future post.

The After

Here is the front yard now (and also, welcome to the front of our house!).

Devin chose a mix of succulents, grasses and kangaroo paws to line the yard.  I think everything filled in very nicely and the plants add some nice pops of color and texture to the yard, don’t you?

A little while after I moved in, we decided that the front yard still needed…something.  See how lonely our little chinese pistache tree looks?

So we decided that we’d add an island to the front yard to go around the tree.  We started by sketching out various shapes and choosing which one we liked the best (a kidney bean).  Then we laid the kidney bean shape out on the grass with a garden hose, and dug all of the grass and dirt out of the center and along the border.  Next we lined the entire cleared out area with weed block fabric, laid out paver stones around the border and filled it all back in with dirt mixed with fertilizer.  Finally, we planted some succulents that we had chosen to accent the pistache tree, added some decorative rocks and covered everything up with cocoa shell mulch. Then we watered everything thoroughly to make it all happy.

Just a side note: I LOVE cocoa shell mulch.  Not only does it give plant beds a nice clean look and deter weeds, but after you first spread it out your entire yard smells like CHOCOLATE.  YES.

Here is the after:

I think our chinese pistache tree looks much happier with some company, and it adds depth to the yard.

Here’s a close up:

We’re really happy with how it turned out, though let me tell you it was like Tetris trying to get those stones into place to create the kidney bean shape, but still be all lined up with no gaps in between.

Source list:

  • Pavers – we used Country Stone Homestead 9″ Autumn Blend Blocks from Lowe’s
  • Cocoa Shell Mulch – I don’t remember the specific brand, but we purchased it from OSH
  • Succulents – various purchased from Lone Pine Gardens, Half Moon Bay Nursery or cut from plants we already had