When we last visited, I was telling you how updating the small front patio of our house had led to fixing up the adjoining flower bed, plant shelf, pots, and yard lights.  After doing all of this, that part of the yard made the rest of the yard look worse than it did before.  So, what to do?!  Move on to the rest of the yard of course!  

As I stated in the last blog, Southern California has been in a serious drought for quite some time now so to say that the lawn part of our yard was looking worse for wear is no exaggeration.  That’s okay though, we’ve come to accept it as have many of our neighbors with lawn.  We do have big plans for next year to completely remove the grass from our front yard and put in a beautiful desertscape; however, this can’t be done right now.  It’s expensive and our piggy is running on empty for big-ticket house items for the rest of this year.  So we did the next best thing...we made as many little changes as possible and let me tell you, while those changes on their own may seem little, the overall impact on the curb appeal of our home was BIG!

So one problem with our front yard was simply that it was over-planted.  Our yard is not big and in the front alone there were seven trees, five of the palm variety and two others.  Five of those said trees were really blocking the front of our house so we wanted to remove them and let more of our cute little house show!  About a week before, we put signs on the trees we wanted to remove offering them free to anyone who wanted to come and remove them.  We got lucky with two of the smaller palm trees and a neighbor down the street wanted them and came and removed them.  As for the other palm, it had been hit hard and split during the freakish tornado weather we had here earlier this year.  It was being held up by bungee cord and there wasn’t really a good way to save it.  The other two trees in the parking strip were becoming unruly and were messy so we took those down as no one else wanted them either.
Let me tell you that removing those trees really opened up the front of the house!  Suddenly the yard didn’t look so small!  We kept the one big beautiful queen palm in the front corner of our yard.  It really anchors everything but we did do some serious trimming, weeding, and thinning out of the plants that were planted around the base of the tree.  Once that was done we added more of the mulch and some of the big, beautiful rocks we salvaged from our parking strip.  The final step to this was staining the pavers that encircle the tree and plants to match the front patio!  Very nice.

After adding some potted flowers and mulch to the flower bed that runs along the front of the house, we were left with two things:  1.  Covering up the sprinkler system and its various pipes and 2.  The dreaded parking strip.  The first one was easy.  We simply went back to our home store and bought a plastic panel that when you used with the legs, you can configure into many different things.  I decided to paint the panel to add a little more color.  The second one was not so easy to take care of.

The parking strip was overrun by a lot of vine-like weeds, five different bushes, and the two trees I had told you about earlier.  Luckily the trees came out without too much effort…thanks honey!  We decided to take out a couple of the bushes that had seen better days and then we weeded, weeded, and weeded some more!  Next we laid down the barrier so that we could put the mulch in.  Once the mulch was laid, we took more of the earlier mentioned rocks and used those to help decorate the strip and add some interest since we had removed some of the vegetation.  The end result was very nice and very clean and neat.  No more scraggly bushes, no more weeds everywhere, and no more messy trees blocking the view of our house.  The good news is most of these changes cost us nothing but a lot of sweat equity.  I told you earlier the mulch was on sale for $2.00 a bag and I think we used about fifteen bags total throughout the front of the house.  We were lucky to have beautiful rocks of all sizes to be able to reuse.

Let me just give you a little cost rundown on what we spent for the whole front yard makeover:

Two cute little wicker chairs = $60.00 for both.
Cushions = $0.00.  I made them myself.
Table between chairs = $0.00.  I had the table and just painted it to work with the chairs.
Stain for patio and pavers around palm tree = $0.00.  We had stain left over from a project last year.
New set of yard lights = $17.00 for six lights.
Paint for redoing plant shelf and various pots = $0.00.  I always have various paint on hand…ALWAYS!
New porch light = $22.00.
Fence for porch = $15.00
Flowers and plant hangers = $40
Mulch = $30.00 for fifteen bags.
Big, beautiful rocks = $0.00.  We reused what we had.
Flowers for front of house = $20.00
Panel to cover pipes = $14.00
Total cost = Just over $200.00

Not bad at all when you look at the huge impact all those small changes put together made! Just remember you don’t have to break the bank to make substantial changes if you are prepared to repurpose, reuse, and re-imagine, and oh yeah…work your fanny off for a few days!
Now, what will you do next to love where you live?