So I've lived in this house for about 6 years now and I've made multiple failed attempts to improve my curb appeal on a minimal budget. To be honest, it is a learning process that I think I may have finally gotten the hang of. Realistically, the whole front needs a major overhaul, including new siding on the house, new pavers, new driveway, and the removal of a huge tree. However, until I can come up with multiple tens of thousands of dollars for that, I will just have to be happy with my modest fix of moving around some existing plants.
I started by digging out the old rotted wooden edger and leaving a trench for the replacement. My husband did the replacement last since I wanted to start before he was ready to do the work. I started by digging everything out and splitting bulbs and root balls that needed to be separated. This included about 60 daffodil bulbs, about 30 lily bulbs, some bleeding heart roots, a bunch of astilbe bulbs and various plants and shrubs.
This left me with a clean slate and a nice selection of clean plants and bulbs to use as I needed. After everything was out, I had my husband use a rake to remove the top layer of tree nuts, mulch, leaves, twigs, weeds, and other junk that didn't belong. He then tilled the whole thing to loosen and aerate the soil for me in preparation for planting. After this, he used the rake again to smooth and level the soil for me.
Then it was my turn again. I started by laying everything out in the place that I wanted it, without actually burying it. This gave me the visual affect while allowing me to make easy adjustment before I committed to burying everything. I laid everything in a fashion that would allow a laying effect keeping in mind the time of year that everything will bloom. Shade and sun exposure are also very important especially since my house is North facing so there is only shade that comes about 6 feet from my house. The rest is partial sunlight.
When I was satisfied with the layout, I started digging. A lot! First, I dug a trench and laid most of the daffodil bulbs along a section of the house with the bleeding heart roots just in front of that. I also laid some daffodils in a half circle around the base of the tree. I planted the astilbe bulbs, azaleas, salvias, phlox, mums and hydrangeas. I also planted some lavender, thyme, sage and rosemary that I propagated from existing plants. These are gonna smell amazing next year!!
In addition to this, I moved around a few of the larger items on the other side of the steps for better spacing and placement. I moved the far hydrangea closer to the steps and moved the butterfly bush closer to the house. I relocated the other butterfly bush, all the lily bulbs and the remaining hydrangeas to the back yard.
I still need to get tulips to plant along the walkway, but they aren't available in stores yet. I also want to add a few more mums by the tree. The last thing I need to do is mulch everything, but that will probably come next month.
Before (this is embarrassing):
This is by the tree I want to remove. This is a mess of lilies and a mum. I replaced these with mums.
This is the butterfly bush in the middle surrounded by lilies ...and weeds
This is the small patch in front of the driveway with weeds and wilted bleeding hearts. Right now this looks like a bare patch of dirt, but in the spring it will have daffodils in the back with the bleeding hearts in front.
This is my steps (and baby). I have to replant the potted plants and bleach the concrete. I also need a new "welcome" mat.
This is my hydrangeas on the other side of the steps. There is an unhealthy azalea right next to the steps. I removed the azalea and moved the far hydrangea into that space.
I moved this butterfly bush closer to the house in the place of the far hydrangea.
*Before you see the after, keep in mind that everything is still shocked from the move so it still looks droopy. It takes a few weeks to months for everything to settle in. Plus, it's the fall so everything is in the process of going dormant. I still need to add mulch to everything too. I will post final "after"pics in the spring when everything has settled and bloomed. I can't wait for that!
Along the walkway and edger, I planted alternating lavender and thyme. This is going to smell amazing!
I still need to add more mums here.
Everything looks so much cleaner with the new edger.
It looks rough now, but it'll be much nicer in the spring.
*Better pictures to come in the spring!! Stay tuned!