Welcome to our outdoor home tour! In the spirit of thinking spring, I need some sunny memories of our green grass and garden to restore my sanity. It's hard to remember that things looked like this only a few months ago! We worked all spring and summer long to give the exterior of our home a facelift, and we're relieved the majority of the work is done. Let's get to it, shall we?
Here is our "after": with a fresh coat of paint on literally every surface, newly built columns and railing, landscaping, and new hardware (mailbox, light fixtures, etc.) The gray is Sherwin Williams Dovetail and the mint is Waterfall. The house is sided with aluminum, so we had to bring in the pros to paint it for us – we hired Neubert Painting to do it. It was incredible to see the house transform a little more each day. They painted the exterior of the house, but we painted the columns, railing, and porch floor ourselves. Pretty much every day after work, I was coming home, grabbing a beer, and painting something on that porch. It was actually kind of wonderful...
This was the house before. This was taken in the late fall, so the dead plants definitely make it look worse. The color scheme, symmetrical bushes, and shutters looked straight out of the '60s. We were itching to paint it all of last winter. The inside was so warm and charming, the outside did the house no justice. In fact, when we did our first drive-by, Jim pulled up in front of it and I said "oh my god NO" (this was in our "choosy" phase of house shopping, which is a post for a different day). But remember kids – when it's yours, you can change it!
We also did a number on the backyard. The garden beds were overgrown, which you can't see here since everything was dead at the time, so they needed lots of TLC. The pointless baby fence also had to come out, and also there was THIS:
A big, pointless concrete "patio" of some sort in the back of the yard. The baby fence had a gate that opened up to this "patio" and the previous owners had an adirondack chair on it (because when I want to relax and drink lemonade, I want to do it here?). It had been there for years, so I'm sure they were just trying to make the most of it, but...just rip it out. Which is what we did.
We rented a jackhammer and towed away tons of solid concrete, while ripping out the other stones and the small tree that was in the middle of the yard. We planted grass where the patio had been and hoped for the best! It was terrifying to think the grass might not grow (first-time jitters) but obviously, it was fine. We watched it grow in and followed up by planting some new shrubs along the fence.
The beds along the fence were also filled with Yellow Loosestrife, which is basically the devil and has a very dense and invasive root system, so we spent hours digging the beds up and removing these roots. It was awful, but worth it.
Here is the "after" at the end of the summer. We still have some more shaping to do to the beds, but the work that's been done has made a huge difference. We've gained a ton of yard space by removing that slab, which Cooper loves! It looks more opened up, and I'm relieved to not have to look at that dumb fence anymore.
Last winter, we were so anxious for spring to come so we could tackle all of these projects. We moved into the house in October of '12, facelifted the inside, and sat waiting to do the rest. We are really happy with how it all looks and can't wait to do more a bit more relaxing this summer – although there is definitely always something to do. Our next project is to furnish the front porch, and furnish our second-floor balcony that's situated off the office. You are all welcome to join me for summer drinking in any of these areas :) Are you planning any home projects for this spring?