Exterior & Garden The Victorian House

The Front Yard, One Year Later

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 Front Garden, One Year Later | Making it Lovely

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”).

Making it Lovely's Queen Anne Victorian and Fenced Front Garden

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.

Annabelle Hydrangea Shoots

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.

New Sod After the Winter

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.

Victorian Front Porch with Curved and Apollo Bust Planters | Making it Lovely

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.

Dwarf Alberta Spruce

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.

Making it Lovely's Queen Anne Victorian

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?

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

You Might Also Like...

  • Thora
    May 11, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    I have been buying plants too! In fact, just today I referenced your posts from this spring and last year about gardening!

  • Vritika | Flats in OMR
    May 12, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Love the curb appeal :)

  • Patty
    May 12, 2018 at 10:21 pm


  • Hollie @ Stuck on Hue
    May 13, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Our entire front yard is a hot mess. We moved in 2 years ago and have focused on the inside, but our yard is definitely the ugly duckling. We live on the corner in a very walkable neighborhood, so I’m sure people will rejoice when it’s fixed up. I’m ready to take some walks in the area for inspiration, then contact a landscape designer for help pulling it together.

  • Linda Moore
    May 14, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    Do they have a category for black thumb and will let it grow wild?

  • Jenny M
    May 14, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    After a bit of trial and error with my own garden, I asked a neighbor, who had a wonderful garden, where they went to get plants. They suggested a local upscale garden center. I did some Pinterest hunting and sketched out my garden plans (think a parterre boxwood hedge) and brought them with me. First they asked me about my sun situation. After learning about the deep shade of my yard, they shot down all my plans. They then listed all the plants that would do well in my yard. Later I came back with a new sketch with a mix of the plants they suggested (Kimberly Queen ferns, impatiens, caladiums, Persian Shields, begonias and hostas). I got the thumbs up and my garden now looks great. Except for the hostas, which get eaten up by slugs so they never really looked good. I find the trick to good gardening is to avoid “magical thinking” with your garden. Admit your gardening shortcomings…..that you won’t remember to water daily…or that your garden really only gets dappled morning sun. Then buy plants accordingly. And don’t just ask anyone at a plant center. Ask for a manager or owner, since most sales staff at these places has a limited understanding of the plants sold. Another tip…go on Groupon and find a deal for a landscape architect or master gardener. They can analyze your garden for sun/water issues, work with you on your maintenance ability, and then sketch up a plan for you. It might be a little expensive up front, but so is replanting your whole garden after you’ve killed everything too. I’m a recovering black thumb here and I’ve had to replant my garden quite a few times because of my poor plant purchases (as well as some bad advice from inexperienced garden center staffers).