June 21, 2016

DIY Landscaping: Front Yard Redesign Begins

When we started our DIY landscaping project, top on the list of landscaping redesign is the two front, large gardens. Nasty Bermuda grass has been growing in one. Nothing A has tried got rid of it. Plus, we hate having to pull weeds all the time. That led us to the brilliant idea of rocking in both of the beds and it spawned the whole DIY landscaping redo. Once we had the rock idea, we scouted out different types together to decide which type. Neither of us are fans of the river rock and the small pebble styles wouldn't work out well. I love the look of marble rock in gardens, so that's what we settled on. We tackled one side at a time, cleaning out first then continuing on to plants. Black weed-preventing paper went down under the rocks to try to discourage the weeds.

front yard, redesign, landscaping, DIY

Two big Alberta spruces, one on each side, got really brown last year. I decided to rip one out and leave the other since the brown on that one was more hidden and didn't look as bad. The bad one you could see brown on as soon as you looked out the door. A big, brown, dead-looking plant right in front of you blocking out the view. Not something I enjoyed looking at all the time! Another large, green plant that previous owners put in I love, so it gets to stay.

Before the landscaping started
Previous owners seem to have had a love affair with spirea -- that's all that is in the beds with the other three plants. Five big, overgrown, messy spirea. I'm not a fan of spirea. At all. It looks too wild, boring, weedy and dull. Once the flowers die off, it's even more blah to me. A got the honor of ripping those out. I did decide to leave two that are the rare type of spirea with multi-colored leaves, making for pretty foliage. That, and they're two big plants in the midst of the Bermuda grass. We aren't sure that planting something new would go to well, the grass may kill it off. Since A has trimmed them up nicely, they actually don't look bad at all.

front yard, redesign, landscaping, DIY, rock landscaping, landscaping rock, white marble
Landscaping in progress
The edge of the beds on one side, by the walkway, have creeping phlox growing. Those get to stay, too. I even planted a few more to fill out one side and to have the other match. I'm a fan of phlox since the flowers in spring are so pretty then the rest of the year, until winter, there's a lush, textured green. I added a cute stone owl for interest by the phlox.

owl, landscaping, decoration, outdoor, outdoor decor, diy

To replace the spirea that we tore out on the grass side, I'm going with a container garden. The pots add interest and look neat sitting on the rocks. Hostas and dianthus fill those pots. Right now, the dianthus looks like it may not make it. If it dies, I've got plans to put in some flowering evergreens instead.

front yard, redesign, landscaping, DIY

While in the process of getting both beds cleaned up, the Alberta spruce I had wanted to keep died, becoming a big, tall mass of brown with a green bits mixed in. The day I realized it was a goner, I sent A a message letting him know he had a "fun" project awaiting him for the weekend. That side already has rocks and is almost done. I am not happy that there's more work to do there now.

brown alberta spruce, landscaping, DIY

On the upside, after A ripped out the huge bush, the porch is much more open, airy and light. I love it! So much in fact that I'm not going to put in another tall plant like I'd originally thought (and been scouting out plants for). Right now, a big hole is sitting there. Once I get new plants in there, we'll add more rocks and finish it all up.

The non-grass-filled side is all cleaned up and everything growing removed. The spirea on that side was plain ugly and had to go. I almost gave them a pass once A trimmed them and they started to blossom, but quickly came to my senses. I am always drawn to barberry when I'm at nurseries, especially the deep, red Japanese Concord variety, so I knew I wanted to incorporate those. I've wandered local nurseries a few times, along with big-box-store nurseries in search of plants that I love. I don't want to plant anything that I don't feel drawn to and really enjoy. Looking at everything growing brings me happiness and helps me deal with stress, so if it's not something I'm excited about, I don't want to add it into my plans. There are so many options for gardens. I can't tell you how many times I've changed my mind until I finally settled on the plants that felt "right" for the spaces.

rainbow ascot, landscaping, DIY
Rainbow ascot
With the barberry selected, I had to find something that would be taller so it wouldn't get lost in the back of the garden, would add contrast and color, but not look bad along side the barberry and the big, traditional holly growing next to the bed that is staying (it's too large and too pretty to rip out). We'd had the tall Alberta spruce in the spot, along with an empty space that always annoyed me. I don't want another tall plant there, though, as it closes in the porch, makes it too dark and blocks the beautiful view of the garden from the porch.

false holly, landscaping, DIY
False holly
A neat nursery down the road from us carries false holly. I have never seen it before. It is beautiful mix of green, yellow and orange, and works perfectly with the barberry. In it goes! At a gardening festival a few weeks back, I found two neat little evergreen plants that will grow into small shrubs over the years. Called rainbow ascot, these guys smell like English boxwood, have pretty foliage and nice-shaped leaves. Another tall, flowering evergreen plant is set to go in, along with a third false holly that I need to buy. Originally, I was going to only have two false holly and three barberry, but it didn't look right. Neither did only having two barberry, so the rainbow ascot got added. It had been intended for a back garden originally. Ditto the tall, flowering evergreen plant that I can't recall the name of right now. As soon as everything is purchased and planted, we'll be rocking in that bed and it'll finally be done.

More to come on this project as it continues! For regular updates (and plenty of pics), follow me over on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Please take a moment to vote for me at Top Mommy Blogs by clicking the brown banner below then the orange button that loads to cast the vote. Thanks!!

Vote For Me @ The Top Mommy Blogs Directory Vote For Me @ The Top Mommy Blogs Directory


  1. Landscaping makes a huge difference in the look of your home. I love the plants and rocks you've chosen.

  2. This is a really cool idea, and it looks so nice! I'm doing some redesigns in my yard too, and this gives me some ideas!

  3. Ooooooo looking good! I love how the white stones pop!

  4. I have a pitiful corner in my yard and I was just thinking of creating a similar look with rocks and plants.

  5. I love it! Those rock beds look really great. We need to do something like this, as our entire front yard is a big patch of weeds.


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. As a busy mom, I'm not always able to respond to each one, though I read and appreciate them all.