March of this year marked four years in our home. As I have documented here and here (oops, missed the third year), we have been busy updating and upgrading the inside and back yard. But we left our front yard relatively untouched. We kept the weeds at bay (mostly), the grass mowed, and bushes trimmed, with plans to eventually update it.
In June, Josh had two weeks of vacation to use or lose (I know, what a rough life). I, however, did not. This meant a family vacation was not possible. So instead he used the two weeks to start Phase One of our front yard renovation.
When we moved into our house we thought the front yard was blah. It had been a rental for a few years so the yard lacked the TLC it needed. We liked the bushes, the grass, and the tree that provides shade at the end of the day. We did not like the sloped walkway that got slippery when it rained and the sunken, mossy part of the lawn.
Our dream was to make our yard an inviting and beautiful welcome space to visitors. We also wanted it to be low-maintenance. The planning phase for the project took a few years. After pinning many, many ideas and driving around neighborhoods for inspiration, we decided we wanted to tear out some of the grass and build a dry river bed, plant native plants and build a deck.
Phase One of the renovation was ripping out some of the grass to build a dry creek bed, and to remove the sloped walkway.
Phase Two of the renovation will be building a small deck to cover the concrete porch and provide a place for us to sit and watch our children and neighborhood kids play.
Phase Three of the renovation will be adding edible and native plants that are pollinator-friendly.
Josh completed Phase One in less than a week, working very long hours. We started by laying out a large rope to map the path and shape of the river bed. Then, Josh dug the grass out with a shovel and pickaxe (working around shallow tree roots) and laid down weed cloth in its place to discourage grass and weeds from popping back up.
After that he laid large rocks as an outline to the river bed and filled it in with smaller rocks.
Once he finished the river bed, we had two cubic yards of bark dust delivered, which he spread over the rest of the weed cloth, including where the old walkway used to be and laid down some stepping stones.
The total cost of Phase One was very affordable. We already had all of the rock, which we salvaged from our backyard landscape overhaul as well as from from our neighbors and Josh’s dad. We probably saved more than $1,000 by not having to buy the rock. The only expenses included the weed cloth, grass edging, and the bark dust, which rang in at just under $300.
We’re not sure when Phase Two will begin – possibly this fall. We want to build the deck next so we know how far out it will go and so we don’t trample the plants during construction.
We are beyond happy with how it looks so far. My favorite part is the stepping stones Josh’s mom made out of rhubarb leaves! She gave them to us as an anniversary present a couple years ago and they’ve just been sitting on the side of our house waiting for this project. I think they add a fun and personal touch to our yard.
Plus, they’re really fun to hop across!