It has been over a year since I posted any progress of our landscaping projects. This is primarily because we put so much exhausting work into our projects each weekend I couldn’t bring myself to sit in front of a computer and write about it. I just wanted to move on to the next project.

I know what you’re thinking, “Cry me a river, Yard Boy.”

Well, the good news is even though I fell out of the habit of writing about each project this year, I still took lots and lots of pictures. So, here is a recap of all our 2013 projects starting with the front yard. Over the next two weeks I’ll post about the side yard and back yard separately.

I Wanna Rock

In 2013, my obsession with hard scaping grew to a fevered pitch. I started out the year by finishing the rock edging in our front yard.



The thing about rocks is that they’re heavy and costs increase if you have them delivered. So, over this entire year I visited Oregon Decorative Rock on Columbia Blvd. about a hundred, thousand times packing loads of rock in the back of my poor CRV.


The 2006 Honda CRV has a total payload of 800lbs, that includes the driver. By my calculations I shuttled loads well over 1,000lbs in the back of my trusty pack mule more than a couple times. No pain no gain, li’l buddy!

An Updated Front Porch

We never really liked the metal railing around our front porch, it didn’t match the aesthetic of the house and we wanted to have a clear path to our raised beds in the front yard.


However, it was extremely good at holding back children.


Also, all the landscaping and fencing we’ve done over the past couple years had left us with surplus piles of dirt and scraps of cedar.


So, we removed the railing…


…and built planters out of the wood scraps and used the surplus dirt to fill the planters.



Now we have a charming front porch with some added privacy. Aaaaaaand more planters means more spots for plants (which is pretty much my only reason for doing anything these days).


For reference, here’s a photo of the front porch from 2011 when we were just starting to work on the yard.


And now, here’s a shot of when we first moved in.


Yeah, “Wow” is right.

Under the Umbrella Tree

I love our old Japanese maple. I feel so lucky to have it on our property. This Spring and Summer I was able to finish planting the area underneath it and I think it’s breath-taking.

Here is a photo with the area underneath it all cleared out.


We relocated hellebores, ferns, forest grasses and hostas from around the yard to join the existing hydrangea and make a nice little shade garden under the maple.



One of Three Rain Gardens

Water management is obviously an important issue for any landscaping project. Our downspouts are disconnected from the sewer system and in the past we’ve had some minor basement leaking during heavy rains, so routing rain water is a major concern for us.

Our front yard has two downspouts which dumps water from gutters which span the entire length of the house. In the late fall of 2013 I was able to find time to begin work on one of the rain gardens.

First, I graded the dirt away from the house and dug 4, 4-foot-deep dry wells. Then, I laid pond liner channels to direct water to the holes.


I filled fabric sleeves for french drains with river rock, wrapped them in landscaping fabric and dropped them in the dry well holes. These creates a cavity for water and the rocks displace the water into the surrounding dirt.


As you can see, there’s still a little left to do with all the bare dirt. Finishing up this particular rain garden is one of my first projects for 2014.

Stay Tuned for Part 2 and 3!

That’s it for the major front yard projects in 2013. Part 2 in this series will cover the side yard and part 3 is the big one: The back yard. It’s totally awesome.

See you in a week or so!