This is the third of three posts sponsored by RISE’s AND not OR home and garden program. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Everything made it through the winter! Improving the backyard has been my big outdoor focus for this year, but I wanted to give you an update on the front, too.
The garden was pretty high-maintenance when we moved here, and I wasn’t out there all the time taking care of it. Half of our front yard had basically gone to weeds! I did a massive cleanup last year, keeping the boxwoods, clematis, and a rose bush. Everything else was ripped out in preparation for a new, easier to tend to garden.
I haven’t added anything new to the front yet this year, but I did weed and tidy things up. My in-laws helped and between us, the front was done in a day. So much better than in the past! We raked out old piles of leaves and junk (pest-friendly and unkempt is not the look I’m going for), trimmed back the hydrangeas and clematis, and pulled any weeds that were starting to come up.
I planned the garden with my level of commitment to it in mind. You can get tips from AND not OR tailored to your gardening style too (I’m sort of a cross between what they call “Daring Doers” and “Picture-Perfect Planner”).
A new row of boxwoods along the fence mimics the rows lining the walkway (or they will, in 10 years or so when they’re not tiny little things). Near the house, I planted yews as a foundation hedge with Annabelle Hydrangeas in front. The new shoots are just now beginning to take off.
I laid sod in the middle portion. Not my favorite gardening project to date! The results though — instant lawn — were admittedly nice. It was just a lot digging to prep the area. You can check out RISE’s list of grasses that work well in the midwest if you’re looking to add a lawn.
We watered the grass deeply and often all summer and into the fall, and it’s looking decent. A few spots are a bit brown, but I’m hopeful that they’ll green up along with everything else. And I kept that gazing ball on a pedestal in the middle. The previous owner added it and while it’s not something I would have chosen on my own, I’m into it!
Also very into my new planters on the porch and stairs. The bust of Apollo with flowers is my favorite thing out there right now, and the curvy metal planters are a close second. Mine are vintage, but I found reproductions for sale.
To the left of the porch, our Dwarf Alberta Spruce is getting new growth! It had been slowly declining and the master gardener that RISE put me in touch with last year helped me realize I need to treat for spider mites. There are still bare patches, but it seems healthy overall and I’m hopeful that it will eventually recover.
The yard has come together so nicely! I’m a little jealous of all the tulips that popped up in front of other houses around town, so maybe I’ll plant bulbs in the fall. I also want to do something along the fence this year — it’s a prime opportunity for something pretty. RISE has a downloadable list of flowers that work well here, and that part of the yard gets full sun, so there are tons of options open.
My sister has been watching our yard progress and she asked for help picking out a few easy to care for, low-maintenance options for her place. I’m all too happy to oblige! Now is the time to get bushes in the ground, and the selection at local nurseries is expanding everyday. Have you been out there planting too?