New House Files Part 8: New Front Flower Gardens

New Front Yard Flower Beds

Oh, the tales I have to tell you, friends, of all the woes of moving a family and remodeling a house. However, we'll save that for another day. Today, I want to focus on things I like best:  flowers & plants.

If you recall, the little old cottage we moved ourselves into in August had a rather, rough looking front yard.  Here's a refresher.

I knew I would have to tackle many an indoor project before I could allow myself the privilege of tearing out the masses of crap in the yard. After working on interior remodeling projects since February, I finally got my hands dirty this past month.

I might have bought a few plants a long the way.

I had a plan in mind with how I wanted the new flower beds to be built. Number one priority was to create a lot of room to plant as much as possible. (cram is the word I like to use). A two tiered flower bed seemed like a good choice, with the lower section wrapping around a very established hedge to create an 'L' shape.

As I am quite inept when it comes to making things straight or level (I blame my artistic side), I hired my old friend Katie at Katie's Gardening to build me the flower beds.

Katie and super crewman Josh set out digging and laying stones.

And eventually we got all the stones laid.

Katie & Josh showing off their handy work
Then it was up to me to fill in with dirt. To my delight, both of my kids helped their mom with shoveling and keeping me company to finish the task.

Then it was time to master my plant design plan. When I had bought plants, I tried to find a nice balance between evergreens and flowering plants. I also wanted a four season garden with blooms year round. Some of my plant choices included:

5 varieties of Heather
Golden Tuffet Arbovitae (dwarf conifer)
Cone Flower
Hakone Grass

Oh, there's more. I've just forgotten to write them down of course!

I still have more to plant. I'm keen to put in daffodil and crocus bulbs. Who can resist sturdy, colorful spring -time daffodils announcing a change of season?

It feels wonderful to complete a big yard project. I've been nursing all my plants in their pots all summer. It's high time they found a permanent home. The front yard looks much smarter with new flower beds. But, I won't be satisfied until the house is painted next spring.

Now, if we could just have a spot of rain. (Don't hate me for saying that Grace!! ;)

Cheers, Jenni

P.S. if you're in the PDX area and you're looking for a good landscaper, Katie rocks!


  1. What a transformation already! Looks like your yard just might become the envy of anyone that passes by! Good stuff! Now go get some rest ;-)

  2. Your grass does look dry - ours is greener than green and won't stop growing. It is satisfying isn't it to plant up a whole new bed - once everything bulks out it will be lovely - will you be able to get to the house to paint without spattering your plants?

    1. Hi Sue, It's been terribly dry, especially for such a 'wet' place. No real rain since late July. The hubster and I believe in water conservation and refuse to water the lawn. Thankfully, most of the neighborhood is on the same page...brown lawns everywhere. I hope that house painting next year won't be too disastrous on the plants, we'll have to see!

  3. Great job. It looks so pretty already, I can only imaging what it will look like come spring. What color are you going to paint your sweet little home?

    Enjoy ~ FlowerLady

    1. Hi FL! I know this sounds crazy but we are going to have something with a bit of pink in the trim. The great grandmother who originally lived in this home, loved the color pink. I guess the house used to be all pink at one point. I'm thinking a brown / pink combo with a splash of complimenting purple should make for a cute, cottage look :) (well, hopefully anyway.)

  4. That looks great - though it will be even better once some moss has grown on it!

  5. What a great project, and lovely combination of plants. Give it another year and it will have filled in nicely. I also like to have spring and summer bulbs in between the shrubs, nothing better than those early spring flowers while we are waiting for the rest of the garden to come into flower. And I agree about the lawn, wasted water, the lawn survives and will come back again, no matter how brown, yellow or dry it looks :-)

  6. It looks great! No wonder you were so excited. What is the brilliant red plant? There is nothing more fulfilling than making a house a home. I bet you are loving that front porch.

    1. Hi Bonnie, the red plant is Nandina. It's this cute little oriental plant that is evergreen with new, spring time shoots a fantastic chartreuse color and in the fall, some foliage gets red. It's a nice and compact shrub. Hugs!

  7. Jenni, I thought I had commented on this, but I don't see it. You've made a wonderful transformation there! I love all the plants you chose, they look great! I think you will eventually have some nice combos, when everything grows in.

    1. Yes, now I wait for it to grow in. In the meantime, I planted some springtime bulbs and winter pansies because you can never have enough color ;)

  8. Looks great...SUCH an improvement! I know that feeling, of moving in and itching to get out in the garden...but having to take care of the "inside" stuff's TORTURE! I love that someone, aside from me, is "straigh-line-challenged" :-)

  9. Yay! Looks wonderful, and you're smart to hire out work that you know you're not up for. As for the know it's coming soon enough, but I'm hoping maybe November is soon enough!

  10. DG - oh, just a day or two of rain in October would be wonderful, a good soak, but I'm with you, mostly sunny through fall is delightful!

  11. The raised beds looks super, what a great idea. And your planting looks perfect. Great job.

  12. Oh I do love your new bed(s), looks fantastic. Looking forward to seeing how it looks as the plants mature.


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