First stop on the house tour is the outside of the house. I can't tell you how exciting it was to move from a string of apartments to a house... with a mailbox... and a driveway. No more climbing up three flights of stairs with an armful of groceries. Potty training our brand new puppy was infinitely easier when we could just let him out in the backyard. And, since our home is only one story, no toting a washer and dryer up/downstairs! Hooray!
Our house was built in 1982 and owned by the same family for quite a few years, then rented out by a realtor (from whom we bought the house), so the property already had some landscaping but it hadn't been maintained. There are a few pre-established beds throughout the yard, which we're hoping to take full advantage of. Plus, we've got some wonderful resources in green-thumb friends and family horticulturists. Despite my black-thumb reputation (especially with rosemary-- I've killed at least four plants in the last two years), I've got high hopes for our landscaping!
Our forsythias have shown just how hardy these plants can be. When we first moved in, one of the forsythias was so huge it was difficult to get out of the driveway. So Mr. GI wacked it to the ground... right before fall hit. We thought for sure it was dead until it flowered in the spring. Since then, it's come back full force despite at least three accidental car swipings.
As far as we can tell, the side flower bed next to the driveway has barberry, crape myrtles, and some privet. I'm not quite sure who would plant barberry and crape myrtles in full shade-- but we plan to move those plants to a spot where they can really shine, preferably next to the smaller forsythia. And, to help Mr. GI with his mowing, I'd love to put some ground cover on the embankment between the ditch and the main part of our front yard (here's my chance to admit that I have never mowed in my life... thanks to my wonderful hubby for doing it every time!). Maybe phlox with daffodils to poke through in the spring.
In addition to three huge trees (oak and sweet gum), we have three beautiful red and pink azaleas and a Japanese laurel. I'd love to add a ground cover like vinca, plus some hostas and ferns.
Front flower bed
We tilled this spot just last weekend and added some marigolds (the official flower of our little town) and two Cleopatra camelias. Can't wait for those to bloom this winter! Also would love to add a few hydrangea bushes underneath the window.
A project I've got in the works in the next year or so is to paint our house number on the front door, something similar to above.
WOW they were huge when we first moved in. Actually, it was just the first holly bush that was so awful. Perhaps it was the previous owners' attempt to create a privacy screen by the patio, but it could also hide a few bad guys, too. The entire row came down about a month and a half after we moved in, and it made the entire backyard feel so much bigger. We've let them grow back a little, but eventually have plans to dig them out and replace the stepping stones with a nice paver walkway.
Back flower bed
Until we get gutters installed, we won't be planting anything here-- it's a flood zone anytime it rains! Maybe a lily pond would be more appropriate. :-)
Last summer was our first year gardening, thanks to help from my mom and step-dad. Since we didn't use our clothes line very much, we decided to position the garden underneath for easy staking of tall plants. It worked out perfectly last year, so last weekend we tilled the same spot. Garden 2011 coming up soon!
Compliments of the Arbor Day Foundation, we have ten beautiful trees in their second year: two goldenraintrees, two white flowering dogwoods, two Washington hawthorns, two Eastern Redbuds, and two crabapples.
Next up: inside the house!