Here it is y’all! The final front yard makeover reveal. If you’re just getting here be sure to head back to the original plan. We absolutely love it, and it has somehow made us love the house even more (how is that even possible?). We spend a lot of nights and weekends out here. We’ve love having our friends over for drinks and sitting around the fire pit catching up. Not to mention how much time we spend inside enjoying the views to the new yard.
Sure, we could have just left the old grass and the palm tree island (which would have saved us a truckload of cash), but we loved the concept of creating spaces within the yard. I wanted Mediterranean meets South of France in California and I got it!
We kept the plant palette simple. So many of them have already started to spread and grow with just one Summer under their belts. I love how the lavender have already spilled onto the walkways.
Despite my objections to the bougainvillea, it really has started to train amazingly well by the master bedroom porch and the bright magenta against the white house is spectacular.
The fountain has been one of our favorite additions because we can hear the water from inside the house. It’s a very relaxing sound and it’s proven to be a great distraction when my nephew visits. Who knew water would be so intriguing to a 2 year old?
We have discovered that algae growth is sort of a problem since the fountain sits in full sun most of the day. Until the olive trees grow large enough to shade the fountain, the algae is an uphill battle. We have found some solutions that are helping, including introducing mosquito fish which help eat insect larvae in the water and help eat the algae. I also added a water hyacinth, but it hasn’t really taken off so I can’t say if it will help yet. Anyway, our school of thought is to get the ecosystem to balance itself out, algae and all. We’re not drinking from the fountain so it’s really no big deal.
This Summer the yard stayed pretty hot during the day, and the olive trees will need some time to grow in and provide some much needed shade. We spend time in the mornings having coffee outside, and unwinding in the outdoor living room during the evening when it’s cooler.
Do we have regrets about removing the 20+ year old palm tree? Absolutely not! We replaced one tree with 3 olive trees, and we planted another 8 podocarpus trees which we’re using as a hedge. The yard looks less green than the yard before, but almost all of that green was from wasteful lawn. With all the drought tolerant plants, we’re down to watering the yard with drip irrigation 10 minutes every other day. Eventually, we’ll be able to reduce that even further.
One of the things we love most about the yard is how it makes the house feel more special as you come through the new front gateway. Adding the wall was the single biggest element that reclaimed the front yard as a more intimate space for us. When you walk through the gate you turn left to the fountain or right to the outdoor living room and firepit. There’s plenty of room for everyone to move around during parties and to find a little spot to have a conversation.
We have a pinboard with all our inspiration and some of the plants we put into the garden. If you’re not already following us on Pinterest you should hop on board because we’re planning so many projects for you to scope out. Just for kicks, here are some of the plants from our new front yard.
We learned a lot throughout our first landscaping project, and it was fun to see the finished result come together. We didn’t over plant so we could watch where things grow in, and see if we’d like to add more. Planting a garden is all about layering in the same way you would for interiors. You want to have a mix of textures, colors, and heights so it helps draw your eye through the garden like it would in a room. I can’t tell you how great it has been to see this vision come to life.
Here are some satisfying before and afters.
I just want to stare at it here all day, then I realize I can just go outside and enjoy it. It wasn’t all easy, and definitely not inexpensive, but now that it’s done it all seems worth it. Ask any questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.