Yard Work

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My apologies for the lack of posts lately. We have been working non-stop, to the point of exhaustion, on exterior projects trying to get as much done as we can before winter comes!

I would love to tell you that Dan and I "garden", but what we do is nothing that romantic.
We do yard work - plain and simple manual labor. In Dallas we started with a large baron, empty lot with one large Pecan in the back yard and two large Oaks in the front. We literally worked every inch of that yard, and with lots of blood, sweat and tears it became a park. My favorite compliment ever was during our last garage sale- our garage was in the rear of the house so the sale was set up on the parking pad. On the second day of the sale, three people came back to the house just to see the yard again! Two brought a friend or a spouse who wasn't with them the previous day and one just returned on her own. So, while the sale was going on others were taking a self-guided yard and garden tour!
The ultimate compliment in my book!

Unlike Dallas, where anything of beauty was man-made, here we get to rely more on Mother Nature! I would guess that in the end here we will only landscape about 10 percent of our property. We have had many projects on the planning board for months now, and all of the sudden they have all come to fruition within the last month! I feel like we have been on an episode of Extreme Makeover Landscape Edition! We know our limits, and now hire out the really big jobs, or the jobs we do not have the equipment for, but still do all the "yard work" ourselves!

the projects :

french drains (thousands spent and all you see in the end is some gravel- not fun!);
design, prep and plant a bed in the front of the house;
add fieldstones under the front porch;
lay an antique cobblestone walkway from the front porch to the-
new gravel driveway;
grade the yard around the house,
add sod;
add a cobblestone-edged gravel walkway from the side porch;
plant three sugar maples that were missing from our row of antique trees;
transplant existing plants to new locations.

It's been exhausting, but we do love it. While I adore interior design I think my true passion is in garden design and landscape. I think it's the permanency... that this sugar maple isn't going to be out of style in ten years!
Before I show you what we've been working on I thought I should show you "before" photos of the front of the house where most of the projects are happening!

This is the front of our house; it faces South.
The house is a soft white with black shutters, and black doors.
This photo was taken after the exciting french drains were installed- you can see the gravel that lines the granite block foundation in front of the basement window.
The room to the right of the front door (behind the antique yogurt pot purchased from Mark Sage/Love Train Antiques aka Bobo Intriguing Objects) is the formal dining room. This is where I will have the bed filled with shrubs, perennials, and annuals.

In the photo below, you can see that the walkway was gravel (it was originally just dirt when we moved in, but we added some gravel as a temporary fix for winter last year.) It spills out on to the crushed stone/bit of gravel driveway. The walkway from the front steps to the driveway will be antique cobblestones (originally from a street in a small Massachusetts's town.)

Here you can see several of the cobbles that were placed in front of the steps to sample the look! In this photo you can see the empty space under the front porch. The front porch sits on granite stone pillars, but then you see the dirt underneath.
From the very first time I set eyes on this house, my thought was it needed a fieldstone "skirt" under the porch! There will only be grass in front of the fieldstones- no plantings, as I want the stones to be the focal point.

The black front door. The porch floor is mahogany and has been left untreated to weather naturally to a soft gray. You can read about antique front porch light here. The wicker basket holds boots, towels for wiping puppy feet, puppy toys, and garden gloves. Antique iron urn is filled with white begonias.

You can really see the open under-porch in this photo. So unattractive.

While the front porch is small- the smallest of our three, it is the one we spend most of our time on! It is very cozy and is in the shade of a large maple.

Wicker chairs painted in my favorite olive drab.

Vintage iron and shard table found years ago at a Dallas estate sale. On top sits a white flowering plant in a small antique Chinese blue and white jardiniere. Candle sits in a base of mung beans which are the exact color of the chairs!

Iron birds in the corner, and Adirondack chairs in the front meadow in the distance.

The open under-porch... not pretty.


Antique cobblestones on the left for the walkway, and the fieldstones from our property on the right will be used for under the porch.

Progress post is next!