Front Exterior Makeover

Hello all!

This post is a long time in the making! I'm so excited to be able to post this today, because that means our massive update to the exterior is FINALLY done. I couldn't be more happy with the way it all turned out. It really makes all the effort spent worth it!

Let's jump in with before and afters.

Before, our yard was in a pretty sad state of affairs. What little landscaping had previously been there, a couple of azaleas, was on its last leg.

 When we first moved in...


I painted the fence last fall, and then it looked like this for a long time :)

Now it looks like this:


And here's the before and after from our view on the porch:


About how we got here: to start, the house was dwarfed by two massive, and unstable, pine trees that we had removed. Not only were they extremely top heavy, but they were covered in ivy, making them structurally weaker according to the multiple arborists we had out to the house. Additionally, their needles clogged our gutters and the constant shade they provided prevented anything from growing in front of the porch. It was expensive to have them removed, but we're SO GLAD they're gone now.

Removing the trees not only made us feel much safer, but made the house look so much larger! Once the trees were down, we were able to start making real progress. I should also mention that our house faces North so these trees didn't do much to cool our house - they just prevented sun from hitting the garden beds in front of our house :)

It felt like for months, whenever someone has asked "what have y'all been up to lately?" I would reply "we've been working on the yard" and they would always look at me like, still? Yes. Still working on the yard. What I really meant was "I've been slaving away for hundreds of hours in the middle of the day heat, because that's when my son sleeps, and spending all the monies, because anything meant for the exterior is EXPENSIVE AS HECK"


In the front yard alone, here's all that we did this summer, some of which you've already heard about:

  • I took out the old picket fence and we reinstalled it to it's new location in the side yard

  • We removed 1,300lbs of gravel from 2.5 parking spaces
  • I filled that spot with 2 cubic yards of top soil and we spread grass seed
  • Branch broke up and removed the old concrete walkway

  • We had the 3 trees that were endangering the house removed
  • We built a new fence and gate

  • I planted the landscaping which currently consists of 11 hydrangeas, 6 hostas and a dogwood tree 
  • We had 2 new trees and 4 privacy shrubs planted
  • I painted the exterior trim on the entire house
  • I painted the front porch floor
  • We bought and had a new front door installed

  • I painted the interior and exterior of the new front door
  • I re-styled the porch with a mix of things we already had and a couple of new things
Decorated for Fall :)
  • I installed landscape lighting (a mix of solar and hard wired spotlights)
  • I spread new mulch in all the garden beds
  • We installed the new front path which consisted of 11 2' x 3' natural stone pavers
  • I stained the fence and gates
  • We had the parking pad graded 
  • I spread 575 square feet of new gravel 


So what's left? Only a couple of things, but to be honest, the budget and our energy levels are drained for the rest of the season. In the coming months the only things I have planned left are to:
  • Transplant the dogwood to the backyard and replace it with a dwarf magnolia
  • Add evergreen shrubs for year round green
  • Plant an additional hydrangea tree along the privacy fence portion of fencing (because apparently I can never have enough hydrangeas!)
In the mean time, we're just going to continue to enjoy our new view from our front porch and smile every time we pull into the driveway.

I'd be remiss to not acknowledge the help we had along the way: a huge thanks to Jane and Bryan offering to accept our deck cleaning labor in exchange for help with tree removal costs, my mom for watching Easton during the especially labor intensive portions (aka fence building), our good friend (and excellent landscaper!) Alex Blackman with Artisan Landscaping here in Nashville for dealing with all my crazy questions about what I should plant where, what stone to buy, etc. and last but not least, my amazing husband who not only supports my big ideas, but works tirelessly to make sure they can become a reality. 

Love y'all!


  1. Wow, wow, wow. That's all I can think to say. Just, wow. It looks so freaking good! Such a big improvement from where you started!

    I scrolled back and forth between the before and after at the beginning before reading the rest of the post and kept thinking, "Something is making it look so much bigger and more open...what is it? Something is missing in this corner..." I didn't realize you had had trees removed. What a difference that did to open things up and make it feel less...crowded, maybe?

    You have put in some serious labor, lady!! I can't believe how much of this you did on your own. Things I wouldn't even consider trying to tackle. And you did it all by yourself while your baby was sleeping. Super impressive.

    Now, what are you going to be doing inside during the winter??? :)


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