Transforming the front of our house

Transforming the front of our house

We have lived in our house for over 18 months now (wow, that’s just crazy to say!)  And it took us that long to finish the front of our house.  One of the reasons is you have to let the ground fully settle after all of that excavating during construction.  We also had to have our front yard re-excavated this spring to fix some water issues, so that stalled us as well.  And finally, we wanted to really take our time and come up with a design we know we would love for the long haul.  And I am happy to report that last weekend we FINALLY finished!  Now, we still have to tackle the grass in the front yard, but other than that we are super excited to be done!

Here is the before picture.  No walkway, no landscaping.  Nowhere for guests to enter our house.

And don’t forget all the weeds!!

We hired Hartman Landscaping to do the front walkway, and they did an excellent job!  And the kids LOVED watching them work, and all the cool machines they used throughout the process.  We probably could have done this ourselves, but what would have taken us 2 months took them 2 days.  Sometimes it’s worth it to hire the professionals.

Walkway done, grass planted.  For some reason the kids got quite the kick out of running up and down the walk and ringing the doorbell.  They kept insisting we start using that entrance whenever we go into our house.  And Graham thought this was his new scooter path.

We decided to use a landscape designer to help us come up with a true landscape plan.  We know what we like, but we didn’t trust ourselves to make it look cohesive and flow with the outside of the house and new walkway.  We met with the designer at our house to discuss what we were looking to achieve, and he came back with an initial design.  With a few tweaks, we then met him at the nursery to select and tag plants.  This took much longer than I had anticipated, but it was actually a lot of fun.  Once we finalized everything we scheduled them to come out to do all of the bed prep and deliver the mulch and plants.  Thursday afternoon the plants arrived, and Graham took no time taking the tour.  Friday morning the trucks started rolling into our driveway, and the excitement began to build!  It was go time!

And the mulch arrived…

And the guys got to work.  They were simply amazing to watch, as they never stopped moving and made quick work out of all the weeds and dead grass.

I was home with the kids that day, and we made sure to take lots of pictures to send to Nathan throughout the process.  I know he was anxious to get home and get to work.

As the plant total came to 48 and we knew we were going to be facing rain the following day, we knew we needed to get started on Friday.  Nathan basically pulled into the driveway, changed clothes, and we got to work.  Once we got a system down, I dug the holes and Nathan and the kids would plant.  The ones closer to the driveway were much harder to dig, as there was a ton of rock.  Luckily Nathan has every tool known to man, so he had this crazy pick thing that would help break up the rock.  And break your back too!  And yes, Graham continued to ride his bike or scooter up and down the walk while we worked.  His sister is much more into helping out outside.

Saturday morning we were outside working by 7:30am, and luckily the kids were content just watching and playing around in the front yard.  And because one of the ATV batteries no longer works, they decided to double up for rides.  This kept them occupied for a good 2 hours, and yes it was so cold it warranted winter coats.  Great weather for manual labor though!

Once the kids hit their wall of entertaining themselves my 12-year old niece came by to help out.  And thank goodness she did!  She stayed for over 5 hours, and kept the kids happy and entertained the entire time.  We wouldn’t have been able to finish if she wasn’t there, that’s for sure!

Digging, planting, shoveling, raking – definitely back-breaking work.  But it’s so rewarding!  The instant gratification was simply amazing.   I will say it again – thank goodness we have family living next door! Once our niece left the kids walked over to my parents’ house for another few hours so we could finish up.

And mulching is something I love doing.  There is just something about spreading fresh mulch that is so rewarding.  Shoveling mulch is a different story…

10 hours later, just as it started to downpour, we were done!  I took a quick shower and ran out for pizza while Nathan finished putting things away and cleaning himself and the kids.  We KILLED 2 pizzas that night, and we could barely walk we were so sore and exhausted.  But be both kept peaking out the windows to admire our work.  It was so fun to conquer a project and work side-by-side together again – something we did a ton of when we lived in our old house before kids.

And now what you REALLY came here to see, some after pics!

We are both beyond thrilled with how everything turned out.  This really completes the outside of the house, and we’re excited for guests to start using our front door!

We have plans to add some peonies in the spring on either side of our front stoop.  We will be planting some daffodil bulbs lining that arc of river stone.  And I am currently lobbying for a crabapple tree off our front porch – possibly next spring.

So there you have it.  Another major house project complete!  Nathan is tackling the front yard this weekend, and we are planting a meadow in our backyard later this fall (details in another post).  But other than that, we don’t have any major projects on the list until next year when we hopefully build a deck off the back of the house.  Now to focus on smaller projects that have been lingering – Reagan’s big girl bed and nightstand, painting and decorating our downstairs powder room, decorating the laundry room, etc.  All fun stuff, and super rewarding as well!

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I'm Taryn. Welcome to my blog! I'm a runner, hiker, and fitness enthusiast working every day to model these behaviors for my 2 young children. I have a passion for preparing delicious and healthy food for my family. Keep reading to see how we define our version of a healthy family.

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