before & after : front yard edition

we've tried and tried and tried again to make our front yard even a tiny bit presentable....
but, at the end of the day (or at least by the end of month) we were left with nothing but some dead plants and a shoddy yard.
we had to face it, our thumbs were brown at best.  we had no clue what we were doing.
after pulling in from work every day, i set my sights on the front door and practically ran for it.  our second year in the house, we spent {almost} our entire tax return on sod, top soil, mulch, shrubs, flowers, fertilizer... you name it.  we spent hours/days getting everything situated and into the ground.  for a month or so, our little white cottage was sittin' pretty with it's green grass and young lively little shrubs and blooms...
then, everything changed.  
wait, it doesn't just stay that way??  you have to maintain it?  water it, fertilize it, prune it, shape it??  
by spring, when all the other yards were in full bloom, ours had returned to its days of being a barren wasteland.  
this made me so sad.  the inside of our home had so much character and love and creativity put into it... i just wanted the outside to match.
actually, i never even got a picture of it at its worst, but you get the idea.


this is immediately after the first renovation, with the sod

and here, despite the snow, you can see how blank it is

then, last fall, our brother-in-law {my sister's hubby, also named Justin} came to our rescue!
he's a landscaper, and a dang good one. 
he mapped out a beautiful design, complete with all the perfect shade/sun plants and just the right amount of shape and color for our taste.
Justin {the hubs} started by using a bobcat to dig up EVERYTHING!  
we started from scratch.
once finished, it looked like a new house.  
now, we just had to keep it that way.
i've been determined ever since.  i don't think i'd be exaggerating too much to say that i put in a call to Justin {the brother-in-law} about every other day...
"there's this boxwood that's looking a little sad, how can we fix that?"
"what's the best way to prune my geraniums?"
"which fertilizer should we use for the yard and how much?"
"how often should we be watering the yard versus the flowers?"
"the squirrels are digging up all the beds... the only way to stop them is to shoot them, isn't it?"
anyway, turns out my thumb's on its way to turning pretty green.  
i LOVE working in our yard now.  it's therapeutic.  i never got that when others said it, but SO true!


there's a beautiful japanese maple, miniature boxwoods lining our brick pathway, giant hostas framing one side of the tree with hydrangea on the other, monkey grass lining the right side/front of the main beds and lilies on the other, knockout roses and black-eyed susans in the front beds, lantana in all the annual beds, a tea olive and 5 gallon boxwoods linging the front of the house.

we even took it a step further and planted a small raised garden in the back,
along with some potted herbs!
we've got better boy toms, cherry toms, banana peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, rosemary, mint, and basil.

but the transformation is far from complete.
so, here's to the next decade of cutting green grass, trimming shrubs, pruning flowers, watering the garden and more planting!
we're keepin' it beautiful over here... it's happening.

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