Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Off Topic - Landscape Transformation

One of the best things about having your own blog is that nobody can prevent you from writing about whatever the heck you please. And at the moment, I am so stinkin' excited about this amazing transformation we've done on our landscape that I was dying to write about it.

We've lived in this house for over ten years. When we moved in, the landscape looked decent. Nothing special, but perfectly serviceable. But years of neglect, coupled with a harsher-than-average winter (for Austin) had taken a toll on our landscape, rendering it rather embarassing.

Last spring, I interviewed probably ten different landscapers, chose one, and had a plan drawn up. I won't bore you with the gory details, but long story short, that landscaper then proceeded to go AWOL on us (fortunately, before we had paid him any money) and we were stuck with a plan but nobody to implement it. I got a few bids, including one from the landscaper who eventually did do the work, Steve Dearen of Dearen Landscapes, then spent probably a year getting used to the fact that this project was going to cost a LOT more than I had originally anticipated. Finally, this spring, I decided we could put up with our weed-tastic landscape no more, and called up Steve. Happily, he was still willing to work with us, and we pulled the trigger.

I could not have been more pleased with the work that Steve and his crew did. It was expensive, but after I saw the amount of work they put in, I truly believe it was worth every penny. It would have literally been impossible for us to do what they did. For nine days, there were 5-6 guys here - sometimes more - working really, really hard, all day. They employed a Bobcat, the largest dump truck I've ever seen, a welder, rock cutters, a jackhammer, wheelbarrows, shovels, a generator, probably many other tools that I'm completely unaware of, and lots and lots of hard, hard work. The transformation was nothing short of miraculous. Steve was unfailingly patient and always affable despite my frequent bouts with indecision, mind-changing, and micromanaging; he was unflappable when things went wrong (and things always go wrong); and his crew was startlingly efficient in implementing whatever I eventually decided. In short, they were amazing.

But don't take my long-winded word for it - see for yourself.

Before - Front
Front Yard - BEFORE.  Before the landscaping, our front yard was horribly overgrown. Many plants had frozen and died over the winter. The sidewalk, which I have hated since we moved into this house, was angled in such a way as to make it look like you were entering the side door.

After - Front
Front Yard - AFTER.  All beds have been edged in steel and mulched with crushed limestone. All plant matter was scrapped and replaced with a Japanese garden-esque look using steel planters mulched with Texas black basalt and flanked by Japanese maples. Thanks to a seriously brilliant idea by my architect friend, Kimberly Kohlhaas, the front walk (now made of grey leuder) was rerouted to provide more interaction with our gorgeous old oak tree and a better view of the front door sooner, which helps it feel like a front door.

After - Front 2
Front Yard - AFTER.

Before - Side
Side View - BEFORE.  An overgrown pomegranate bush tangled overhead with one of our trees. Invasive ivy kept creeping up the side of our house, ruining our paint. A large bush (mostly hidden to the right of the photo) blocked our view from the kitchen window.

After - Side
Side View - AFTER.  A curvy bed mulched with crushed limestone contains steel planters holding agapanthus, variegated ginger, bicolor iris, and juniper pom pom topiary trees. Purple fountain grass conceals a protruding pipe.

After - Side 2
Side View - AFTER.

After - Side 3
Side View - AFTER.

Before - back yard
Back Yard - BEFORE.  I should have taken this photo before we removed the over-mature ligustrum with the 6' diameter trunk that was hogging this entire bed. The tan color of the bed's interior is the wood chips left over from grinding the stump.

photo
Back Yard - AFTER. This photo is obviously taken from further to the left than the "before" photo, but you can use the shed for reference. Two islands of shade-friendly grass (Zorro Zoysia) were planted; the rest of the yard besides the back bed is all rainbow and pea gravel.

After - back yard
Back Yard - AFTER.

Before - Back yard
Back Yard - BEFORE.  The one beautiful plant in the back beds, a huge sago palm, was lost amongst the overgrown foliage.

After - back yard
Back Yard - AFTER.  Now the sago palm has room to breathe.

Before - Back Yard
Back Yard - BEFORE. Between the drought, the shade, and Mindy (pictured!), most of our St. Augustine had died.

After - Back Yard
Back Yard - AFTER. Gravel is much harder to kill. Hopefully, Zorro Zoysia is, too. The fence line is dotted with a row of knockout roses.

After - Back Yard
Back Yard - AFTER. I don't have a "before" photo of this spot, but wanted to show my friend Carla that we reserved some planters for a patio garden! 

I am so thrilled by this complete transformation in our landscape and highly recommend Dearen Landscapes if you need to overhaul your outdoor space.*

*In case you're wondering, this rave review is completely unsolicited and Steve has no idea that I'm writing it.

29 comments:

  1. wow! such a huge change. It's beautiful!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jen! I can hardly believe it's our house!

      Delete
  2. Blown away! Let me know when you want help with that garden!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After my tomato failures of years gone by, I am starting to think I need something idiot-proof, like maybe herbs. :)

      Delete
  3. Love it! Looks like it's just begging for some outdoor entertaining.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, girlgonegrits! We were talking over dinner about how the space between the two lawns would be perfect for bocce!

      Delete
  4. Gorgeous! What they did with the front entrance really does make it look like a front door and not like a side door. And perfect timing. We have major yard issues and have a landscaper coming out on Friday to start the clean-up so we can figure out what to do next. Right now, it's too overgrown to even come up with a landscaping "plan." This post reminded me to take before pictures!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooo, I can't wait to see what you guys do! I had a lot of trouble picturing the finished product too, and ended up changing the plan up a bit along the way. Once we had a clean slate, it made it much easier to imagine the possibilities. Good luck! Hope you have lots of fun with it. I really enjoyed seeing the transformation take shape.

      Delete
  5. How exciting! You guys are going to enjoy the yard so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't wait! Of course, now I have to buy a new patio set worthy of its surroundings. :)

      Delete
  6. SO exciting! Can't wait to see it in person!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't wait for you guys to see it in person (more specifically, for you guys to be in Austin)! I know this great house across the street that just happens to be for sale... ;)

      Delete
  7. Gorgeous! Dying over so much of it but especially the juniper pom pom topiary trees!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jessica! I think those are my favorites, too. That, and the re-routed front walk!

      Delete
  8. Its beautiful! Makes me want to get to Austin even sooner. Thanks for sharing the great photos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should definitely come soon, so you have time to acclimate to the heat as it clamps down around our fair city... ;)

      Delete
  9. So pleased to see the final results. Magnifique. Très bien!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow! It looks beautiful! Looks like it will be easy to care for and stay nice-looking all year round. Did your neighbors all come over to see it? I wouldn't be surprised to see your yard serve as inspiration for others. They did a fantastic job. So thrilled for you and Chris. And Mindy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kristin! I hope you're right about it being easy to maintain and all-season - so far, so good! We've received very nice feedback from our neighbors who have been by. The best part of it is that our back yard is no longer a mud bowl - no longer will we be repeatedly wiping off muddy paws! Yeah! :)

      Delete
  11. Wow....beautiful transformation! I have a question though...where did you get the metal edging from? I have been trying to find some like that?

    Leslie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Leslie! The edging in our plan was actually custom welded for us. I know you can get thinner metal edging off the shelf, but am not sure where - sorry!

      Delete

Post a Comment

More Foodie Is The New Forty

Foodie is the New Forty is a featured blog on the LocalDish iPhone app. Get the app by clicking below!

  © Free Blogger Templates Photoblog III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP