If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you may have noticed our front yard has been torn up since December. It all started with wanting to expand the driveway because it’s sort of a bottleneck situation when it comes to cars coming and going. We also wanted to take out some of the trees and switch up the landscaping to allow more sunlight through the front windows and also show off the beautiful curb appeal a bit more. Wrapping up this project was on our 2023 project list, and it hasn’t been short of roadblocks, but it’s finally finished!
That before photo was taken when we bought the house in May of 2021, and it’s crazy to think that everything will be green and full again in just two months! Can’t wait to update you with a full exterior house tour then. In the meantime, here’s a closer look at the front of the house, which you can actually see now!
Although there was so much thick, mature landscaping before, I’m totally enjoying how clean and tidy everything looks now. Obviously, there are going to be those who prefer how it was, but backing out of the driveway always felt like emerging through a forest with no guarantee that you won’t scrape your car on some branches!
At one point, when everything was torn up, I had that “oh no, what have we done?” feeling. We had a clear vision and a whole landscaping plan we felt excited about, but once they started removing all of the mature greenery, it felt like we made a huge mistake!–Not unlike how we felt when the backyard was a mud-pit. One thing we loved about our lot when we moved in was all the mature trees, and when you’re tearing them out, you find yourself questioning it all. Of course, the only thing to do is just hold tight to the vision and keep moving forward, and in this case, it turned out better than we could imagine.
Now let’s talk about these cute little bushes that line the driveway because the drama that unfolded in this Instagram reel changed everything. We had 130 American boxwoods all lined up, ready for planting per our HOA landscaper’s insight. But the Instagram people spoke up and warned us that they are really prone to catching blight. Obviously, that’s not what you want to hear when you’ve spent thousands of dollars on these plants that are about to go into the ground, and normally I’m not one to let the public opinion sway my vision, but I trust that I’m not the most knowledgable in plants!
So we made the difficult yet necessary decision to return 130 boxwood plants and swap them for compact Japanese holly. They’re supposedly really low maintenance, can tolerate both full sun and partial shade, and can be pruned and shaped, which I’m most excited about! Oh, and they’re quick growers, so I’m anxious to see what they look like one year from now.
We still kept some more mature boxwood plants on either side of the front driveway opening, and I’m curious to see if we end up having problems with them. Obviously, there’s some mulch that still needs spreading and some cleaning up to do, but doesn’t it look so good?
I learned during this whole landscaping process that our landscapers are not landscape designers or plant experts. We had a designer who made the initial plans for us and then passed them off to the landscape team to execute. Whenever a decision needed to be made, I wanted them to hold my hand a bit and guide me, but that was not their job. Their job was to do what I wanted them to do. Realizing that helped me to release some of the frustrating feelings and instead be grateful that they’ve been so quick to pivot and put in the hard work to execute plans!
And speaking of boxwoods! 😅 We’ve already had to have several boxwoods replaced in the backyard! We’ll give them some more time and patience to prove themselves, but I can’t help but wonder if we’ll inevitably swap them for compact Japanese Holly. Time will tell.
In other backyard news, everything is growing rather beautifully! They had to tear up some of the grass to repair an underground pipe leak and re-sod, but other than that, it’s just really nice seeing green grass.
Clearing up some of the overgrown parts of the front and backyard has really made everything feel so tidy and simplified. If anything, the mature trees feel even more magnified and grand, and with some of these newer plants and I’m just pinching myself that we get to live here and enjoy the beauty that is North Carolina.
Our wood grain Shaker cabinet fronts were designed for busy, high-traffic homes like ours. Clad with durable textured thermofoils, this line is compatible with Sektion, Akurum, Godmorgon, and Besta cabinets from IKEA. It's the perfect, practical way to add the warmth of wood to all the rooms of your home.
We have teamed up with Loloi to create a line of rugs that are as affordable as they are beautiful. This collection houses a great mix of traditional and modern rugs, in cottage-y colorways, as well as vintage-inspired beauties that you’ll want to roll out in every room.
We partnered with Stuga on a line of hardwood floors — The Ingrid is really livable, and the color is very neutral. It doesn’t lean warm or cool, it’s that just right in-between. We have really loved putting it everywhere in our house. It’s the best jumping-off point for design, no matter your interior style. In addition to being beautiful, Ingrid is really durable — we have three kids, and we always have a home construction project going on. Ingrid stands up to it all.
Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop.
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.
The next project we’re checking off our 2023 project list is the mudroom! This used to be the laundry room until we built out a much bigger, better laundry room upstairs. So, in the meantime, this space has been exclusively Cricket’s room. Cricket will still have a special space here, but we’re transforming this dingy […]
Another way for us to stay in touch! Joining our weekly newsletter gives you access to exclusive content, never-before-seen photos, your questions answered, and our favorite DIYs. Sign up below!
Make yourself right at home