Front Yard Before/After

by Rachel Blackburn in ,


I have discovered a love of gardening.  Or rather, I like ripping stuff out, shopping for new plants, putting them in and forgetting about whatever maintenance they require.

I suppose if we weren't also renovating this whole house I'd have time for fussy plants, but I don't.  So I go to the nursery, find a knowledgeable sales person, tell them what I'm looking for and that it has to be a plant that can handle neglect.

They generally have just the thing.

In this instance, I heard a lot about the evergreen plants our nursery had on hand, but it wasn't so much the lush feel that we were going for.  I wanted something that was lush and vibrant in the spring.  I also wanted evergreen, but that didn't really happen.  Oh well.  It's what, 2-3 months that it'll all look like sticks?  I can hack that.  So I did my own thing.

Our yard has been neglected for many years.  Things are overgrown or have disease, so we are pretty much just keeping the key players (trees) and going to town on the rest of it.  

In the front yard I ripped out an entire row of sword ferns (which are STILL trying to grow back.  Good grief plants!  Give it up!) along a short retaining wall, ripped out a lot of weeds, whacked back the boxwoods by the garage, put in some grass seed in the dirt patch between the house and the street and around the edge of our lawn (still working on that), pulled out 2 sickly-looking cedars, an andromeda that was probably as old as the house and had roots to reflect that, a sickly azalea, another bush that I couldn't identify but was pitiful, and 3 very robust rhodis that I did have a twinge of regret about removing, but they were just too big.  Michael had no such twinge.  Rhodis are not his favorite.  We kept the beautiful camellia and Michael shaped it and removed all of the dead undergrowth.  It looks amazing!

To replace the plants we removed, we tried to stick to things that would feel lush in the summer.  And hydrangeas.  I love those.  We planted 6 of the ones that bloom all summer!

Here is the comparison:

Before.  Overgrown bushes obscured the view of the (lovely avocado green) house.  You can see the ferns sticking up from behind the retaining wall.  There really is a house back there - I promise!

After.  You can see the (lovely avocado green) house!  The plants are small, but given a few years they will fill in and be beautiful.  It's hard to see, but there is a green laceleaf Japanese maple in there.

And again.  Before:

And after.  Hydrangeas under the pine!  I have to figure out what else will grow under there, since grass obviously doesn't.  Pine trees make the soil underneath them very dry.

I also lugged a birdbath that was sitting in the back yard buried under some ivy to the front.  It gave the bed that added pizazz I was going for, since everything in that bed has to be 18 inches or lower to accommodate the view from the living room and it was feeling kind of boring.

I've been working on the back yard too, while Michael does a lot of the interior work.  The back yard is a whole other beast.  I'm primarily focusing on ripping out invasive species back there for now.  Ivy, Oregon grape, bamboo, sword fern, wild mint (not edible, unfortunately), blackberries, violets and baby plum trees are the worst of it.  Once I have that more pulled together I'll post that too.  

In the meantime, we picked up an awesome Craigslist find that we are working on this week!


Caden's Room Before/After

by Rachel Blackburn in ,


Two rooms down...seven to go!  It feels great to have Caden's room done.  All that's left is the floor and baseboards, which we will do this summer.

In the end, we removed wallpaper, reworked his closet, stained the ceiling, smoothed the walls, painted the walls a light gray and the trim a creamy white, installed a swag light fixture to replace the existing sconce, and installed new outlets and a light switch.

Caden adores it, though he thinks we painted his walls white instead of gray and is patiently waiting for the gray paint to show up.  He had a bit of a breakdown over going back to the big bed (he sleeps in our guest bed and didn't remember it), but Michael worked some Daddy magic and got him excited about it.  Caden now proudly drags any unsuspecting visitor to his room to go on a tour - lol!

Before

Before

After

After

After

After

Time/budget: 4 weeks of evenings and Sundays, with a couple of weekends off, about $550.  Some of that time was spent on the hall closet.  The closet budget was around $150 and it included a new door and organizer.

Construction: Rearranged Caden's closet to enlarge the hall closet.

Still to be done: Refinish the floor, install baseboards and trim, decorate.

Final tally of odd things found: 2 stacks of 80-100 year old National Geographics, soda bottle door stopper, many, many hooks, 3 kinds of wallpaper.

Next project, the hallway!


Emmy's Room: Before/After

by Rachel Blackburn in


There is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing before and after pictures once a project is complete.  Realizing how far a room came, how much time, effort and money went into it, and enjoying the newness of it all is so much fun!  

We've started on Caden's room, so he and Em are roommates for a little longer.  Decorating will wait until we have more rooms done - I'll post pictures when we get to that.  Pinterest is full of awesome ideas!

Without further ado, Emmy's Room: 

Time/budget: 3 weeks of evenings and Sundays, less than $500.

Still to be done: refinish floor, paint and install baseboards, decorate.