How to plan your dream front yard!

— continued from previous page

Gather up your list of favorite trees, shrubs, flowers (both perennials and annuals)

Admittedly, this again was my domain! And my husband was just fine with it. His one request, then and now, is that we plant things once and never again.

We made some rookie garden mistakes when we first moved here, and that translated into me asking, “Honey, can you help me move this shrub from the front to the back yard?”

Which translated into,

“Honey, will you dig up this oversized shrub out of the front yard and get it to the backyard somehow and then dig a new hole and plant it and pray that it survives the move so that I don’t freak out if it starts to die and wonder if you planted it wrong?”

How to plan your dream front yard! (And how we went grass free!)

My rookie mistake: planting Dappled Willow in front of a Burning Bush. Oops!

(See my Dappled Willow blog post as just one example of a rookie mistake that resulted in my husband “helping” me transplant a shrub — which of course meant him doing it for me!)

The other thing my husband dreamed of was to no longer hear me carry on endlessly about the Fothergilla shrubs I longed for, or how I wanted a pink flowering Dogwood tree. His “dream” was that it would all be in the new landscaped gardens therefore I never had to long for another plant or tree again.

If you’re a gardener, your chuckling at this, aren’t you? I’m laughing too, even though back then I naively nodded in agreement.

3 more things to consider as you turn the dream list into reality:

1. Are there restrictions in your neighborhood, from a neighborhood association?

Many newer developments come with rules. You don’t want to spend the time and money on getting rid of the grass only to find out you now have to pay a hefty fine because your development requires everyone maintain and keep their green lawns.

This actually happened to a client of a landscape company we spoke with. They indeed had to remove raised bed paver walls and more, after they had installed everything. And it didn’t matter that their neighbors actually loved what they did. Rules are rules and the homeowners were stuck with paying for it all to be removed.

Let that be a lesson to everyone — do your homework!

2. What are the town laws?  Will you need permits?  What’s allowed?

In our town, for example, you can’t have any permanent structures built in the apron strip that’s between the sidewalk and road. You can plant grass, you can plant plants and you can put up anything that can easily be removed, but no cementing anything into the ground in that space, due to the underground wires and utilities that might need to be accessed from time to time.

3. And finally…your neighbors.

Just know that some of your neighbors will love what you plan on doing, and other neighbors will fear it with a capital F. There are diehard believers that in America, we only have green lawns for front yards. Some will hate your grass free front yard. Just be prepared.

In particular, make sure you chat about your plans with the neighbors on either side of your home.

We have several neighbors in our neighborhood who really do love our grass free landscaping. And we also have heard comments that make it sound like we are grass murderers. Truly comical, and we just take it all in stride.

How to plan your dream front yard! (And how we went grass free!)

One of our current front yard garden beds, Summer 2016. So happy with our decision to go grass free!

Ready for the next steps? Yes, there’s more to come!

I realize I’ve given you a lot to digest. But having the hindsight of going through this actual process step by step, I hope I’m able to provide you with several issues to consider.

Once you get a solid idea of what you want for your own front yard, you’ll be in a good position to begin talking to landscape companies and getting estimates.

But that’s a future blog post coming up!

And I’ll leave you with this . . .

After we did all of our own planning and researching and discussing and met with landscape companies and got estimates and signed a contract — and I know I’m jumping way ahead here, but I can’t resist — here is the blueprint plan of our own grass free front yard makeover:

How to plan your dream front yard! (And how we went grass free!)

And yes, the final result is very close to this drawing.

And yes, we love it!

Stay tuned for Part Two coming soon, where I’ll share more about how we arrived at this plan and what to look for in a landscape company.

Happy gardening!



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