DIY Yard Makeover

I always admire people with green thumbs. It seems so simple to keep plants healthy but I haven’t always had much luck. How hard can it be? Water them but not too much, give them the amount of sunlight they need but not too much. And yet I manage to over-water, under-water them and send them to an untimely death.

Get rid of the old

I wasn’t looking forward to yard work with our new house but once we started a small gardening project of chopping down one, old, dead cedar bush we went a little crazy and took out several old dead cedar bushes in one day. We kept a few plants that were healthy, a couple of spider plants, and a lily and decided to buy new plants to re-landscape the front of our house.

Pick out the new

Fortunately, we had plenty of yard tools so we didn’t need to purchase any. Tools we used included:

– a leaf rake and an iron rake

Full size shovel to dig out old bushes

Small axe to chop roots

Small round-point shovel



Garbage can

We were both surprised how much fun it was to pick out flowers at a couple of local garden centers. Then, being designers, we realized quickly that if we were going to design our front yard, we’d want to keep the colors cohesive and make sure the max height of the plants and where we planted them made sense long-term.

Prepare soil and plant

We bought good potting soil to put down first to give the new flowers plenty of nutrients. If I were to do it again, I’d buy a soil test to really see the makeup of the soil. This helps determine what type of soil you have and helps when choosing plants.

We picked some tall plants, Cabaret Grass, to be in the back of our garden, the leaves have a similar look to spider plants so we thought that would keep the overall look similar. We wanted perennials, and we chose purple flowers that looked really hardy, Peachie’s Pick Stokes Aster, with beautiful purple flowers and big bright green leaves. These made up the main row of plants on each side of our porch. We also bought a more delicate purple flower to put in the front row, called Cat’s Meow.

Finishing touches

Since our front yard had a weird drastic slope to it, we decided to make it more uniform by having a top tier and then forming the dirt into a small short wall. We have a small front porch and the dirt has eroded around it over the years, so our cheap solution was these great concrete “bricks” that look like natural stone. We stacked them on each side of the 2 steps to cover the gap under the porch. It’s surprising how good that looks and how easy it was.

We also used the same bricks and leveling sand along the dirt wall we made. When we were finished planting, we sprinkled black mulch all around the flowers and this brought so much contrast to the green and purple it looked great.

Not too bad for first-time gardeners! We really increased our curb appeal. If you’re considering a DIY yard project, do some research about soil, look at how much sun your yard gets and how much watering is needed when choosing new plants, look at the height they will grow to and plan for taller plants for the back, shorter plants for the front, also think about the color palette of the entire yard. And most of all enjoy digging in the dirt and making your yard do-over awesome.

Items purchased:

Potting soil





Concrete Pavers