Landscaping: Before and After
I have never landscaped a day in my life. The most I’ve ever done is water the plants as an after school chore in elementary school, and even then I didn’t do it half the time (sorry mom and dad). I think Trevor had about the same level of experience, so this project was a huge learning experience, as is everything when renovating your first home.
We knew we wanted to tear absolutely everything out. It was so incredibly overgrown and half dead that it all had to go. We also hated that the old landscaping covered half the house. Our home is one of those houses where the garage is the first thing you see, and it was even worse with overgrown trees and bushes covering the front porch.
At first, I think we thought we were going to dig everything out, but quickly learned that was not going to work, at least if we wanted to get this project done in a few weekend grind sessions. It took three different ropes (because they kept snapping), but we finally were able to rip everything out by tying a rope around the trees/bushes and pulling them out with Trevor’s truck. A little bit of tilling to loosen things up a bit and tear up some of the old roots and we were good to go.
Because of our severe lack of landscaping knowledge, we had no idea what we were doing when we went to the nursery to pick out new plants. I didn’t want our new arrangement to look completely random, so I was trying to pick plants that looked like they went together. Luckily, we were on the same page when it came to what we wanted: low maintenance and nothing that grows too high off the ground.
We really liked ferns and bought a few from The Home Depot Garden Center. Unfortunately, those ferns were indoor only and the rest of what we bought there were annuals. Major fail. We ended up returning all of it and headed to a local nursey called Campbell’s. We wanted all perennials and the variety at Campbell’s was more extensive than a box store garden center.
I can’t tell you all the names of the plants we ended up getting because that would I mean I wrote them down and unfortunately I didn’t. I can tell you we did plant quite a few Hostas because we were lucky enough to get some from Trevor’s brother for free. So, we went with those along the front of the house and porch. They do fill out quite a bit, but won’t get too terribly tall.
We decided to go with river rock versus mulch because we wanted as low maintenance as possible. We have found out though, that the rock dries out of the beds faster than mulch, so it does require a lot of consistent watering. I think it’s worth it to not have to mulch every year.
Shutters and Sconces
Other than the awful, overgrown plants, we also had some pretty dated finishes happening on the front of our house. The shutters were a maroon color, which isn’t a terrible color, but I felt it dated the house back to when it was built (2000). The sconces were not terrible; they had a basic brass finish, but the two on either side of the garage were broken. Also, after I painted the shutters, I wanted the sconces to match.
To update everything, I decided I would go with a classic look. We have tan siding, so what is more classic than tan siding with black shutters? I feel like when you aren’t sure what color to paint your shutters, black will probably look ok. It instantly made the house look one hundred times better. I could not believe such a simple and inexpensive change made such a huge impact. We then replaced the old, brass, broken sconces with new black ones from The Home Depot to match the updated shutters.
When I painted the shutters, I simply leaned them against the wall in our garage and sprayed. I probably should have hung a sheet behind them, but these are the lessons you need to learn sometimes. I did wipe them down, but did not spend a lot of time prepping. The paint, Rustoleum Semi-Gloss Protective Enamel, worked great and I had very little dripping.
Before and After
The whole process went a lot faster than anticipated. Two Saturdays and we were done. The worst part was probably shoveling all the rock, which I didn’t really have to do because Trevor thought I was just getting in the way instead of actually helping. This was definitely ok with me.