i don’t share pictures of our front yard very often.
for the last 6 years, we hardly touched it at all. when we bought our house, it had rose trees and jasmine lining the sidewalk. the rest of the yard was covered in weeds, which looked really good in the spring when it was all green, but dead and brown most of the rest of the year.
so…. it was pretty ugly.
but thanks to my parents and hours and hours of their time, we are finally making progress! the years and years of weeds took days of digging out with the rototiller. and the stinkin’ weeds just kept coming back. after months of fighting the weeds, we have finally won and have hardly any now.
we live on a hill. our house is up high which is great because it gives us a lot of privacy, but the downside is that we had a lot of grading to do on our yard. as you can see from the pic above, the yard slopes pretty severely and made about half of it unusable.
at this point we had already rototilled the entire yard (a few times), and ripped out the ivy, jasmine and rose trees that lined the sidewalk. i would’ve loved to have kept the roses, but they were so old and gnarly, and really just in the way.
eventually, we’d like to rip out these stairs that are all cracked. we want to move the stairs to the far left corner of the yard, but that will probably be years down the road.
after rototilling all the yard, we started with the retaining walls. because retaining walls can be so expensive, we did our research to figure out the cheapest option – railroad ties.
we had several deliveries like this!
it seems like half our time was spent moving dirt around, and the other half of the time we talked about our next plan of action.
even though i was a good supervisor, i put in a lot of labor time as well!
at this point the retaining walls were finished on the left and almost on the right.
there was significantly more soil/dirt/clay/roots/hard stuff on the right side than the left, so we had to make the retaining walls a bit higher on that side.
and this is where we’re at now. not done, but so much better! this area will never be totally level, but its as good as its going to get. we also built planter boxes along the base of the house with the railroad ties, which we’ll eventually fill.
our next plan in that area is to put down flagstone patio, and eventually maybe a pergola.
this side will pretty much stay like this, other than a flagstone path, and bark. i’d love to have grass out here, but water is really expensive here, so we’re trying to cut corners where we can.
in the winter, we planted bare root iceberg roses here, and after just a few months they are blooming like crazy!
see that funky corner with the railroad ties? when we decided to move the stairs to this corner (eventually), we cut out the wall there. dumb. then we got estimates on how much it would be to put in stairs there and it was about 3 times more than our entire yard budget! so we filled it back in with railroad ties.
these iceberg roses are pretty low maintenance and produce like crazy.
we lined the top of the walls with rosemary that will eventually spill down over the walls and disguise the railroad ties a bit.
we were able to save a few plants from the original landscaping, and we’ll eventually try to fill in along the house line.
this area along our driveway has been an eyesore for the last 6 years up until about a month ago. it was the landing point for miscellaneous building supplies, filled with weeds and junk. after a load to the dump and relocating supplies, we cleaned it up nicely with some pavers and a couple planters.
we planted some geraniums and this silver sheen pittosporum. i love this plant! i’m hoping we can plant more of this around the yard. at provides height and because its lightweight it has movement instead of being hedgy.
and now a couple before and afters!
we still have a long way to go, but its so much better than where we started!