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Front Yard Updates at the Abode

Here is our little bungalow in NC:

The interior of our house hasn't needed any major updates except for new appliances, but the exterior when we moved here needed MAJOR help. We added the fence almost immediately after we purchased the house to keep the kiddos safe from a busier street. I love that a white picket fence really tied in with the style of our house. There was barely any grass in the front yard and there were some sad mis-matched bushes along the front of the house. Here's a before pic:

Because the soil is not great, we had to bring in dirt before we could lay sod so that it would have something to adhere to other than red clay. And of course, a massive rain storm interrupted that process midway through:

We brought in sod and planted new azaleas, hostas and hydrangeas in the front beds. I was really bummed at the puny size of the plants but it was still better than what we had before! Also, in this pic, you can note the white ceiling of the porch and the dingy white fans and old light fixture - all updates we have since made; keep reading.

The plants were so dinky that they never really filled out and every single one of the plants on the left hand side DIED less than a year later. It was infuriating after spending that money. Also, the sod didn't take too well because they didn't bring in enough dirt so my husband had to over-seed the yard again in the fall. That helped but we couldn't get grass to grow in that area towards the center of the porch and so ultimately we put in a brick walkway. Here is the walkway right after installation: Not only has it made the front yard more functional, it acts as a runway for our kiddos to bike and run around.

We got a bag of grass seed and let the kiddos have at it to fill in where they had to dig the dirt for the walkway. Thanks to their heavy-handed seeding technique, the grass filled in in no time!

After the walkway was installed, my husband replanted the front bed with gardenia bushes to replace all of the dinky, dying azaleas. These plants are starting to flower like crazy and smell soooo good.

The hydrangea in the corner was one of the plants from our original landscaping project. The first year it was planted, it had one measly bloom that was mostly brownish so I thought the flowers would be white. Here it is a couple of months ago:

I guess we have some major acidity in our soil because it busted out with the most gorgeous blue blooms this year - and tons of them!

On either side of the front door, we got two classic box planters in a slate gray and added some English boxwoods. We were limited in our options of plants to put in those planters because of the limited amount of sunlight that spot gets due to the porch. Of course my requirement was that whatever it was be able to hold up some Christmas lights when it comes time!

I got two small planters to flank each side of the walkway as you head onto the porch. Since these get a decent amount of sun, I am able to put annuals in there for a pop of color. Note: planters can be EXPENSIVE. If you shop at a garden store they are going to be especially expensive although their selection tends to be better. You can get lucky at HomeGoods, Marshall's etc. but you have to be patient. Patience is not my strong suit but it paid off waiting because I got the two small planters on the walkway for $25/each. I still can't talk about how much we spent on the boxwood planters.

You may remember me posting a few months back about inspiration for a blue porch ceiling. We took the plunge (thanks to my husband's insistence) and I will give him credit that it was a MAJOR change for the better.

We also replaced the dingy white ceiling fans with these black Hunter fans. Now everything feels like it matches the style of the house much better. I really like the contrast of the light blue and the black, too. And let me tell you that breeze is heavenly when you are rocking in those chairs (preferably with a lemonade or tea - or something stronger - in hand)!

Lastly, we added in a few accessories like pillows and a few more potted and hanging plants and I think we can now say we are finished! It truly is my favorite part of this house.

xo, Cameron

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