Today’s post is all about creating a landscaped area at our Georgian colonial. We’re finally tackling the yard and I can’t wait to share what we’ve done so far with you!
I’m so excited for todays post! This post is a little different than some of that I’ve done in the past, but I hope you enjoy it just the same. I’ve always preferred working outside, and for the last week Josh and I have been planting our hearts out. We’ve planted over 60 shrubs, 62 to be exact, in our front and side yard. We’re a little sore, but in the most rewarding way. Today, I want to show you what we’ve planted and just how far our yard has come in the last couple of years. It may not look like much yet, but it’s been a mountain of a project for us.
For the last six years we’ve been renovating the interior of our home. It was in such disrepair that we weren’t able to turn our attention to the yard until recently. You can see our home’s before here. When we purchased our home, you could not see our house from the street. English ivy had taken over and covered almost every square inch of our property, including parts of the house. In the last two to three years we’ve removed a number of trees, underbrush, and ivy from the front and back yard. I think I could write a novel on the process of removing ivy, alone! While I plan on showing you all the areas of our yard that we’ve transformed, including our fire pit area, today I’m going to focus on just the front yard by the street.
Here’s a little snap shot at what the front looked like when we moved in. If you’re wondering why we choose a house on a hill of ivy, you’d just have to see our view! It was just another reason we wanted to clear out the front yard.
We started out with the purchase of a small chainsaw. It’s small but it has been a true work horse! It’s been through two chains, but is still going strong. We removed all of the under brush on the hill. There were so many weeds and overgrown plants that were cut down over time. Next, we cut down the small trees that we did not want or that were dead. Living in downtown Canton, we have free brush pick up each month. This was a huge life savor!
Next, we carefully cut all the ivy at the bases of the trees. You have to use care while doing this, because you can damage the tree if you cut into the bark too much. Once we cut the ivy around the base, we allowed the ivy to die and slowly fall off or loosen from the trunk. We were able to then pull it down without damaging the tree. This process took a lot of time. Not only was it exhausting to cut through all of that ivy, but waiting for it to die isn’t the easiest thing for an impatient person, like myself. It took about two years to complete the front and back yard.
This year we finally hired a tree service to remove the trees that were too large for us to cut down. We had five or six removed this April, all had to be climbed. One tree was dead and the others were hanging over our house and or power lines. All were dangerous trees and we have a couple more that will eventually need to go once we have the budget for it.
In the last couple of years we also focused on removing ivy from the ground. We ripped it completely out of our side yard and whole left side of our driveway. Josh also removed about 10-15 feet worth on the front right side. We kept it cut with a lawn mower or weed eater and sprayed brush killer on any new leaves that sprouted and after two years, it was ready for planting! We still get a sprout here or there, but we keep a close eye on it and remove it whenever we seen anything new pop up.
All of that work brings us to today’s post! For the six years we’ve been here, I’ve dreamed about what I would plant if we ever got rid of the ivy. I could just picture a bunch of hydrangeas, peonies, roses and rhododendrons blooming all over our property. When it came time to plan and layout this area, I was thrilled! I took some time to watch the sun and its movement throughout the day to get a feel for the lighting we had in that area. To do that, we set a phone up in our window and did a time lapse video of the area. It was super helpful. It allowed us to pick the right plants for each area, according to their lighting needs.
To create a nice curve, we used string and Charlie’s play cones to get the shape of the bed just right. In a couple of places Josh had to remove grass and in other spots he had to add grass plugs. It will take a little time to take root and spread out, but it’s going to look fantastic when it does!
What We Planted:
Most all of these plants came from Scottsdale’s Farm in Milton, Ga. and the rest were from our local Lowes.
5 lavender Rhododendrons – They can grow up to 20 feet tall, so we planted them across the back of the bed. Our hopes are that they’l grow nice and tall and create a great boarder against the ivy. They’re purple blooms are stunning and they’re an evergreen, so they stay green year-round.
5 Limelight hydrangeas – We planted these summer bloomers across the middle. They can grow up to 8 – 10 feet tall and they love full sun. They do loose their leaves in the winter, but the limelight’s do have a wonderful color to them in the fall. I’m especially excited about these, because I have one that I planted three years ago in our back yard and I was shocked at how well it’s done. I’m hoping these do just as well.
5 Oak leaf hydrangeas – These hydrangeas prefer more morning sun with a little shade, so we planted these on the sides on our bed where the trees shade them. I’ve been very impressed with the two I already have in our back yard area that I knew we had to include them in our front yard. Is it really the south if there isn’t any hydrangeas?
3 Hilda Niblett azaleas – Azaleas are very common in Georgia. I hadn’t planned on planting any until I came across the Hilda. These azaleas like part sun and shade and the best part is that they bloom spring, summer and fall! The blooms come in the most beautiful shades of pink and dead heading them will help in producing the most blooms.
3 Smaller traditional azaleas – We planted these azaleas in front of the Hilda’s. They only bloom in the spring and are a great companion shrub. These have a light pink bloom and we plan to keep them on the smaller size.
3 Red diamond loropetalum – These were planted on the far right side of the bed. They like to get full sun. They’re a medium size shrub and have the prettiest shade of purple year-round. We have two of these planted beside our mailbox and I love the color that it adds to our sea of green.
2 Encore white autumn lily azalea – We planted two of these azaleas in front of the loropetalums. They’re considered a dwarf shrub and only get up to 2 feet tall. They also will bloom in the spring and summer.
7 Dwarf red diamond loropetalum – We planted these all in a row, in front of the limelight hydrangeas. They spread out to about 2-3 feet wide and only grow 1-2 feet tall. They’re perfect for the boarder of a bed.
5 Lantana – These are lining the boarder of the right side of our yard. They’ll get full sun and will hopefully spread out all along the edge of the bed. I love the color that they add to the yard. Their pink, orange and yellow blooms make me so happy!
Lastly, we covered the area with pine straw. Since there is a large pine tree on the corner of our yard, we didn’t think it was worth fighting nature by using mulch.
I can’t wait to share an update on this bed later in the summer. I can just see it all when everything fills in and matures. As things grow into their space, we’ll add pockets of annual flowers here and there to keep things fun and full. It’s taken a lot of time and effort to get to this point, but it’s been so worth it! To see it all take shape and come together is incredibly rewarding. We still have a long way to go, but we’re tackling it bit by bit. In the next couple of weeks I’m going to share our side yard and fire pit area with you all. We have a truck load of mulch to spread first, but afterwards I’ll be sure to share.
I hope you enjoyed this exterior post. I apologize for the novel and less than perfect cell phone pics. There’s so much to write when it comes to our yard. I now I’ve left something out, but I hope to share more about our progress soon. I hope you all have a great weekend, friends!