Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Home Tour Before & After :: The Outside

So finally! Here is the beginning of a lot of before and after posts of our house. We bought our house in May of 2010. We knew we wanted a house that needed work that we could fix up. Looking back through these pictures I really have no idea how I saw potential in this house but from the moment we walked in I knew it was the one. Sort of like trying on wedding dresses. You just know.

We did almost 100% of the renovations ourselves. We love a good DIY project and enjoy doing the work.

I'm going to start with the front and back yards. I'm going to do a little explaining but will mostly let the pictures do the talking. I'll make a note when the after pictures start.

This is what our house looked like the day we bought it....very outdated landscaping, uninviting, and not warm at all. 

One of our very first projects was what I called "shaving the bearded tree." 

We also removed all of the ground covering that was growing around the light post. 

And here is the front yard after all of our work:

We ripped out ALL of the existing landscaping and reshaped the beds. (If you have any questions about specific names of plants email me or leave a comment.)

We also had to do LOTS OF WATERING to get the grass to grow in a lot of areas where it was dead.

Sorry for the shadows, I should have taken the pictures of the front yard in the evening since the sun rises behind our house, but seeing as how it's taken me 3 years to start this I'm not going to retake them. :)

We took the screens off the windows, added black shutters, updated the house numbers and lighting.

We also got a new front door.

Now for the back yard. These are before pictures. The backyard needed a lot of work but on the surface it seemed easy. It was not. We (read: mostly John because the backyard work started after I got pregnant with Hudson and just finished a few months ago) pretty much removed everything back there and just kept a clean (green) slate. 

The previous owners had 2 trees that they had cut off at about 6 feet tall. So weird. Then they put a weird plant holder in between them with pavers in front. So so strange. Those were gone very quickly.

There was also a french drain that was put in that looked horrible. Our quick fix solution for this (without spending $10K to redo it and regrade the backyard) was to let the grass grow over it and not edge it when we (John) mowed. 

These pictures were taken when the previous owners lived here so this is their stuff. 

There was just a lot of stuff back there. It's a huge beautiful yard and we wanted that to be seen.

We removed a total of 5 trees. 3 living trees and the 2 stumps. There are still 2 huge trees back there. In the picture below you can see the 2 little trees that we removed.

We have NO IDEA what the real purpose of this area was but after we moved in we used it as a spray painting and painting area for a long time. We knew we were going to dig it all up and add grass so it was a great place to do some work.

Here is a close up of the "shrine to the tree stumps."

We took out the gravel and wood beams around this area and just let the grass grow around it. In the back corner of the yard you can see a pile of firewood that we ended up giving away. Once Hudson was old enough to play in the backyard and explore, this area wasn't safe for him.

And here are the after pictures! 

My amazingly handily and talented husband built the table and benches on the patio. 

Here you can see how we let the grass grow over the drain. 

There used to be a huge ash tree to the left of the shed.

John also made this swing that we have loved having. Much cuter than the yellow plastic one that used to hang from the other tree.

It's not noticeable, but worth noting, John had to replace all of the support beams of the patio. His dad came in for the weekend and helped him do that. 

Much nicer looking with the grass than all the pavers and gravel!

Ok...so there's the first before and after post! I'll be working through hundreds of pictures to get the next ones ready. 


  1. um...the shrine to the tree stumps...SO weird! You wonder what in the world they were thinking!! Love the black shutters & door up front!

  2. The shrine thing is SOOOOOO weird. What were they thinking. I wish Matt and I liked to do yard work. Neither of us like it so our yard always looks terrible! Ha!!


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