Curb Appeal - My Front Yard (Part I)

I mentioned recently we've been working on a few projects since the beginning of the new year.   Today, I wanted to share some progress on one of those projects.

The Project
We decided it was time to give our front yard some major attention.  Over the next few weeks, I will be posting on the progress of our project.  First, why are we focusing on our front yard?  Well, we love our house and our back area which is where we spend most of our time in the summer months is a wonderful haven.  Here are a couple of images of our back yard at the beginning of Spring last year.

Now for the front yard (this was taken the beginning of this year, but trust me it's not much better in Spring either - lots of trees, ivy and pine straw). The difference in our front and back is so dramatic that more than once I've had friends come to our house and look out at our back yard and say things like "Wow! It's really pretty out there.  You would never know this was back here from the street!"

It's become a bit of a joke at our house.  We are constantly getting flyers in our mailbox for any and every kind of service you can think of - tree cutting, lighting specialist, lawn services.  You name it!  It also doesn't help that we live on a really pretty street with lots of gorgeous homes and finished front yards.  

So, it was time!  I contacted one of my all time favorite landscape designers, Randy McDaniel to help with the project.  One of the reasons I wanted Randy to do the project is because he takes his cues from your existing home.  He doesn't try to out shine your house with elaborate hardscape or design.  Here are a couple of images from his portfolio.

 He really thinks through what features should be highlighted and the perfect plant material to accomplish this goal.  I liken it to a makeup artist.  You don't want your makeup to be what people notice when they meet you!  Budget Tip: When hiring a landscape architect, it's important to ask whether he or she has their own installation business.  While it may seem easier to go to a one stop shop, you may want to rethink this.  If you hire an independent designer, they are not trying to sell you plants, and you are not locked in to using them for installation.  They can focus on the best possible plan for your home.  Then you can shop around to get the best deal on installation. 

The Dilemma
So, looking at our front one might think, throw some sod on it and be done with it.  Well, a much tougher job is lurking here.  We love the livability of our house.  It works wonderfully for our family.  But there are a couple of issues we wanted Randy to solve with the landscape design (rather than a renovation). 

First, when you look at our house, you see the arches over the covered loggia.  One would think that's an informal entrance to the kitchen since the walkway leads you to that entrance.  Right?  WRONG! 

This is actually our Master Bedroom!  There have been many (too many to count) awkward moments with people knocking on those doors.  Then they realize it's a bedroom and begin to apologize.  Which you then have to do the whole, "no, really, it's fine.  But would you mind meeting me at the front door?"  Wishing I had a dollar for every pizza delivery guy who did this . . .

Secondly, we will have a extra driver in our family in one short year which is so hard to believe! :(  Right now, our parking pad is sloped which makes getting out of your car tricky (especially if you have small children that can't hold the weight of the car door off of them while getting out).  Additionally, most don't even notice it's there - they either drive up to our garage or park in the yard near the street.

There is also no lighting, so at night it's a challenge to make it to our front door.  For the rare few who realize we have a parking pad and use it, several have walked out into the ivy/grass towards our front door thinking they could make it up that hill!  Only to find they have to backtrack and then walk up our driveway and then walk along the path to our front doors.  Just not working!  

The Goal
So, Randy's marching orders  - While keeping the design in scale with our house, create a parking area/entrance that leads visitors to come to our front door.  Eliminates the option to come to our bedroom door and creates some private space outside our bedroom for relaxing.  So we have two outdoor seating areas.   And we wanted it done as cost effectively as possible.  Now you see why we needed a landscape designer!  Here are a few additional before pictures of this project.

What would your suggestions be on how to accomplish all this on a budget?  Well, Randy managed to accomplish it all; and next week (oh yes I did say next week), I will be showing you his design plan!  Surely, you didn't think this was like and HGTV special where you got the big reveal all at once?

Have a marvelous day! M.


  1. this landscape designer is INTRIGUED! cannot wait for the reveal. now i am off to look up randy

  2. Wonderful place.. very beautiful.. Cant wait fot the reveal..
    Is not Home Interior Design but home landscape redesigner. Thanks for share.

  3. Your home is already beautiful! Looking forward to see the reveal!



Thank you for thoughts on my post! M.