Gina’s front yard: the plan, the ‘before’ and progress to date

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If you follow me on Instagram, you would know my front yard isn’t really much of a front yard at all.

‘Dirt patch meets weed garden’ would be a more accurate description and after more than 1.5 years, it’s really starting to get under my skin!

You may have seen my tips the other day for getting big jobs done around the home, well I’m taking a similar design and planning approach to finally start making progress out the front of our house.

So many of you said you are looking for landscaping inspiration and ideas, so I’m going to share every step of the way with you — starting with our very embarrassing before photos, details of the design plan and a glimpse into the progress we’ve made so far.

The before

It’s no secret that our build stretched us emotionally and financially.

Once the house was ‘near enough’ complete, we moved in and both needed a bit of a rest to find our feet. I was of course pregnant and then quickly preoccupied with baby Patrick.

Now that he’s older and walking about, I really want to get our front yard finished so he has somewhere nice to play outdoors. I’d also love a driveway where he can ride his cart.

Without further ado, here is the ‘before’ photo of the front of our house.

Front yard before
Front yard before

The plan

As you can see, our house is on a corner block with a large front yard. This means we couldn’t just lay grass or it would look a bit bland and take my hubby hours to maintain.

Luckily, my clever step-father is a landscape architect and has kindly been working with me over the past few months to come up with a design that’s achievable (i.e. can be DIYed by us and within our price range) while still complementing the design of the house.

In our neighbourhood, front fences aren’t allowed (it’s an older suburb with quite strict rules) so we opted for a more discrete chain wire option with a hedge in front. This area will give Patrick somewhere to play while giving me peace of mind that he won’t run onto the road.

Against our house, there will be a garden bed with a small concrete edge separating it from the grassed area. Fruit trees and herbs will be planted in this front garden bed while the side of our house will have Japanese style trees (like Japanese maple with striking red leaves in Autumn).

Landscaping concept sketch
Landscaping concept sketch

A generous amount of grass will be laid to create a green carpet around the house and soften the cladding materials we used.

We’re looking at putting in a black concrete driveway with black aggregate, and creating a step path similar to the side of our house to connect the driveway to the formal entry on the side of our house.

Progress to date

Over the past few months we’ve been taking small steps to complete this area of the home.

Firstly, an excavator came in to break up the soil and do the hard work for us to create the garden bed areas and dig along the fence line where we would plant the hedge.

Excavator
Excavator

Then we (or my amazing father-in-law) planted the hedge trees. We used a string line to mark out where the chain wire fence would go and planted the hedge trees in front so they could begin establishing themselves.

Planting first trees
Hedge plants planted and citrus trees against house
Hedge plants planted

Next up, he built a low stone retaining wall around the corner of the property line. This area will be planted with more feature trees and create interest.

Stone wall built
Stone wall built

Finally, we’ve put in 95% of the black chain wire fence. A small area has been left open in case we need to bring an excavator back in to break up more soil so we can lay turf as soon as it’s warm enough.

Fencing beginning
Fencing beginning

Oh, and after six months of living in the house we finally added a letter box too!

So while there still feels like a long way to go (finish fence, finish planting, put down step pavers, lay grass, put in driveway), I can see that we’ve already done a lot of work and we’ll be able to complete this space soon!

Next up I’ll share more details of our planting plan, share tips on selecting the right trees and take you plant shopping with me.

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Gina is the Editor of STYLE CURATOR, an award winning Australian blog about the pursuit of a stylish home. She is passionate about sharing her love of design, architecture, decorating and homewares. Having recently finished the build of her dream home, she's now tackling the never ending job of styling it. When she's not blogging or working with interior styling clients, you'll find her running after her 1 year-old son Patrick or getting her hands messy in a creative project.

6 COMMENTS

  1. How exciting! It’s so nice to see a design that uses the front yard, they are so often wasted spaces in Canberra, aren’t they! It looks like it’s going to be a great area once it’s established. I’ve been wondering what colour to make our driveway too – we kind of wish we’d had the same polished concrete as inside done when the slab was poured. The black concrete aggregate sounds good!

    • Thanks Jane! Pouring the driveway at the slab stage would have been smart, ha ha, but we didn’t think of that either. I’ve looked into a few driveway materials but cost and also wanting a low maintenance option have weighed into my decision quite a bit. I’m hoping it will turn out similar to this path http://thedesignfiles.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Church-House-Brisbane-Slide12-1240×800.jpg which complements black cladding and red brick well. Earlier I looked at a cobblestone but now I think it would draw too much attention to the driveway which I’d like to just drop away and let the plants be the focus. You need to do another blog update so I can see how your house is looking now!! x

      • That looks nice and clean 😊 Can’t wait to see your plan come together.
        Check the blog over the weekend and you will be promised an update – so much happening and we’ve nearly finished the oak tree house!

  2. Hey, Gina. Sounds like a good plan! Can’t wait to see those hedge plants, citrus trees, and all the plants all grown up. It may not be so soon but I’m pretty sure your garden would be a beautiful sight on your lovely home.

    • Oh thanks for your lovely comment, Danny! The trees are growing very slowly, ha ha, but I plan to plant more as soon as the weather warms up a little. Fingers crossed I can finish our front yard this Spring 🙂

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