A Front Yard Facelift and a New Parking Pad

October 24, 2018

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 




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Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

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First things first, exterior improvements take tiiimmmeeee and money. Holy Moly. While the majority of our blog chronicles our interior renovations, every year we tackle a little more of our exterior and we’re finally at a place where I imagined it would be, or could be when we moved in.

(See our back yard transformation here and how we painted our playset here)

Except the brick on the front of our house (that you’ll see below). I still don’t love the brick color (remember when I wrote that whole post about it here) but now I’m worried if we paint it the same color as the siding (which is what I’d want to do–I just want ONE house color) it will be just another tan house in Idaho, land of tan houses (and bad brick, tbh). Chris is worried about the upkeep (and task!) of painting the aluminum siding so we just keep ignoring the fact that the combination is not our favorite. Not horrible by any means, but not what we would choose. (I really want to paint it all, to be honest–but could I settle for an all tan house?)

Alas, this post isn’t even about our house color, but the overhaul that our yard/landscaping went through the last couple weeks. Our property shape is a little weird, it’s shaped like a triangle. I feel like I start every exterior post with that disclaimer, but it’s true and it’s a necessary fact to keep in mind through this post. Our “backyard” is actually our deck, so we tend to refer to it as “the deck” and the right side yard as “the backyard” since that’s where the playset and in ground trampoline and where the girls and their friends spend the majority their time.


Then there’s the other side of our yard. The third triangle on the left side of the house, which is actually the largest portion of our yard. It’s rarely seen but has 4 gorgeous mature trees, with a hammock in the middle of them, and a small shed against the house. Willow spends a lot of time over here, snoozing, and I don’t blame her.

Recently, we added a parking pad over there, (to house a few toys and trailers Chris has accumulated over the years) and it snowballed into a big project–re-working the sidewalk so we could actually park things here, adding a gate. We are on the corner of a cul-de-sac, so access worked out perfectly.

We captured the whole project on video, which will make a lot more sense than these photos! You can watch the short, 2 minute video,  below or here on YouTube!:

But basically what happened was, our landscaping company (Spruce It Up) advised us that if we wanted to landscape in front of our whole fence (which we expressed interest in), it would be a good idea too tear out the existing bushes that had gotten overgrown and were expired–did you know most hedges have a 20 year life span before they turn to basically sticks with leaves at just the very end so you can no longer trim them? This was hard because I LOVED our mature landscaping, but I understood the want/need to have everything grow and mature together.

They brought a crane over and pulled out all the old bushes and planted new ones, along with 2 trees, in front of our fence.

I found this photo (above) from when we first bought our house. It looked so different! We added the fence (because hello, dogs! kids!) and that really helped define our back yard. And now it looks like this:

You can see our backyard neighbor has a similar set-up with a gate and extra pad in their backyard. There are a few of us that own portions of the cul-de-sac, with only one house in it.

While the cement was still wet, we took the opportunity to make a family hand portrait and I love seeing Polly’s little smooshed hand, and thinking about how resistant Faye was to the task.

Truthfully, I was a little resistant to the parking pad myself at first, but when I saw that we’d be able to keep the trees, I was more open to it. Now, I am SO glad we did it! It’s such a practical addition to our home.

Unlike interior renovations, when you put weeks and lots of money into an exterior project–you still don’t get to enjoy it fully. We’re eager for our plants to grow.

We were told RIGHT NOW is the best time to plant a tree, so if you are thinking about it–do it! Although small, we couldn’t be happier to have these young additions to our yard.



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What do you think?

  1. Barb says:

    Our last house had a “spotty” brick somewhat like yours. I hated it, but could not talk my husband into painting it because of the upkeep. Our house was all brick, no siding. The bricks were a mix of tan, rust and various other shades. I went out with some thinned out cream colored exterior paint and lightly went over the brick only, not the mortar-sort of just a “glaze”. Around here some of the higher end houses will have a limed finish put on their bricks and it made it look like that. In any event, the darker bricks blended better and I liked it much better. We moved from that house over 10 years ago and it still looks good. Yes it took a while but I just kept at it until I got a look I liked.

  2. Anna Baldi says:

    Its looking great! I know this wasn’t meant to be about house painting, but we painted our aluminum siding about 6 years ago (from beige to a very dark grey) and it is holding up fantastic. No chipping or peeling. We did hire professionals for this and I am glad we did. When power washed properly first and primed it holds up great. We did have it painted in the summer and there were a few seams that shrunk down in the colder months so we had some very small lines of unpainted areas. But our painter offered to come out to touch up at no cost. Hope this feedback is helpful for you in making the decision. We are so glad we did! (PS – just ordered the Homebody sweatshirt and I am so excited to wear it!)

  3. K. Archer says:

    Love it! This all so beautiful. Almost exactly how I envision mine…one day.

    But let’s talk about your boots…

  4. Lisa says:

    Love the transformation! What kind of pine/spruce tree did you plant on the corner near the road by the white fence? Thanks!

  5. Olivia says:

    i enjoy coming here for content and updates, but with all due respect, the blog’s design is also looking for some love. the ads and banners make it hard to scroll through the pages. as you’re reading through a post, the page would shift and move as ads are rendered, and i always have to scroll back and forth to find where i left off before the ads threw everything off. sometimes, there’s a video that i don’t want to watch (yet) that would automatically play, and all of a sudden there’s a sound/voice over from nowhere – and i realize it’s chris cooking! i understand these all sustain the blog, but like i said, maybe the design and code of the blog need to be revisited for a more seamless, enjoyable experience for readers.

    • Julia says:

      Thanks for the feedback!

    • Alison says:

      Use Firefox and an ad blocker, it all goes away!

      • Julia says:

        We welcome feedback on the experience, and are actively working on a re-design. But the truth is, ads on our site are what fund content. If everyone put on ad blockers, we would not be able to continue the blog. We produce free content because every time you visit our site, we make a fraction of a penny from ads. We’re soooo grateful to everyone that supports Chris Loves Julia by simply visiting the site–it is what keeps us and this content going. Ad blockers are stealing from content creators.

      • Janine says:

        Thanks for the tip! So much cleaner without the ads! Let’s be honest rarely do I click on any of the ads and bloggers make a lot of money from affiliated links, sponsored posts, and free items they get in general. I’m not convinced that Ad blocker is stealing from content creators and it makes me more likely to visit the blog if it’s an enjoyable experience for me. :)

      • Julia says:

        You actually don’t have to click on the ads for us to make money. They just have to be seen. :)

  6. Ashley H says:

    The bushes expiring comment! I screenshot it and sent it to my husband. We (ahem, my husband) just removed TEN 40+ year old yews from our front because they had grown over our front path and we couldn’t trim them because then they just looked like bare sticks. No one believed us that we couldn’t just trim them back! He refused to pay someone (and ended up with a sprained wrist as result ????) but we’ll be planting something new there as soon as we figure out what! I need to set up a consult with some plant people to see what will give me what I want.

  7. Caitlin says:

    What about painting the brick a beautiful dark gray, navy, or green??

    • Julia says:

      Because our house is a little squatty looking, I’m worried anything two-toned would just cut it in half, ya know?

      • caitlin says:

        totally get that thought! I’m into the idea the commenter had that said she painted her vinyl!! But I wonder what a good photoshop rendering would look like? If you matched the garage doors also I could see it working!

  8. Jessica Merrill says:

    It looks good! I would spend a lot of time in that hammock if I lived there :D (Does the wifi reach? lol)

  9. Megan says:

    I haven’t read the rest of your post, but I wanted to let you know about paint that I have used for my aluminum siding and it is holding up exceptionally well. I would hands down recommend this product. It is Dutch Boy Maxbond. It is specifically made for exterior application where you do not need to clean the surface first. When I first used it, I didn’t clean my aluminum siding. (I only did a small area) That winter, a rosebush was scraping up against the siding due to high winds. I was sure the siding would have scratches all over it. It didn’t! I painted the rest of my siding after cleaning it, since I wanted the best adhesion. It has been over six years and I haven’t had any problems.

  10. Roxie says:

    Looks great, and will only get better! I redid our front yard three years ago and was looking back at pictures and couldn’t believe how small everything was when I planted it!

    As far as bushes having a lifespan…that’s because people shear them instead of properly pruning which encourages new growth “inside” the plant versus just at the tips of the branches. Takes more time but leads to healthier, prettier plants!

    • Nadia says:

      THANK YOU! There are well-maintained hedges that are hundreds of years old. When homeowners and landscapers use the wrong tools (looking at you electric hedge trimmers) they create a vicious cycle that ruins their plants. Use people-powered clippers or shears to properly prune your shrubs.

  11. Actually, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago…the second best time to plant a tree is right now. :) Haha. Love the updates!

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We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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