The extent to which my front yard needed attention is hard to express in words…basically, you couldn’t see the house because of overgrown shrubs, trees, lawn and flowers….perhaps it is best shown in pictures:

This is the view from the corner…
(do you see a house? I don’t.)


I think i see the garage….


Oh yes, there it is…visible only from the end of the driveway….


…but then you can’t see the rest of the front yard….




…but then again, do you really want to see this????


It is even hard to see off the front porch!

I had to do something right away…this was just too much
(too many shrubs, too many weeds and definitely too many lilies!)

First I concentrated on getting the shrubs out.
After several hours with the clippers, this is what the yard looked like:


Better right?

Then I decided I needed to get the roots out so I could start fresh,
because the only other thing to do would be to spray paint
the remaining shrub parts hot pink and call it art…
I doubt the neighbors would approve.
Best thing would be to dig them out….then this happened:

It was at this point that I decided calling my friend Jacob
to come help me pull out the roots with his truck was a good idea.
Jacob works for beer and dinner, plus he enjoys doing this kind of stuff
he had a hatchet in his truck too! Double score!

(Sadly we have no pictures of the shrubs
being pulled out with Jacob’s truck
as I was way too excited to get rid of the stumps
to think about breaking out the camera)

Yay! No more yucky shrubs! I also dug out 1/3 of the lilies and
put them on the side of the road
in the hopes that some of my neighbors were interested:


Luckily, several of my neighbors were game and
the “free lilies” had all disappeared in a few days.

But now what?
It just so happens that my local green house was having a sale
on cute little round shrubs! (I refer to them as the “shrublets” but some day
they will grow big and tall and be 4ft round balls of green shrub…
until then, they will be 1ft balls of green shrublets)




awwww…aren’t they cute?
As cute as the shrublets are, it was still difficult to see them
and to see the house.

This calls for more chainsaw.

Enter my In-laws.
They came up for a chainsaw extravaganza Labor Day weekend!
To kick off the festivities,
we dropped the dead tree on the corner of the lot.



Then we went for the yucky crab apple that was
blocking the view of the house from the street.


Crab apple-GONE!
(and yes my father-in-law is wearing sandals…
I did offer some of Jim’s shoes and some safety glasses,
but he said “that stuff is for the movies…” Like I said, he is fearless)


We even took down the wimpy pine that was blocking
the far corner of the house. It smelled really “Christmas like”
which was rather refreshing.


Until I saw this mess. Uggg.
I hope the brush collection guys will take it all.
We had quite a pile after I finished the shrubs and
they took all of it except one shrub root system…

…that is quite a bit, right?

Although, we sort of have more this time….

(My mother-in-law and her car are in the photo for scale purposes…
and because Kathie was getting really into her role as “lumber Jane”)

We will have to wait until next Thursday to see
if they take it or not, but we don’t have to wait that long
to see how the house looks from the street now!

Ta-da! You can see the house!


One more time for good measure…



Tune in next time for more progress on the inside
of the Retro Ranch Revamp!




2 thoughts on “THE GREAT FRONT YARD…

  1. holy cow! That is some major landscaping! It looks great! I like the shrublets – I think you should submit this to for a new word addition. 🙂 And yeah for in-laws! Glad you left some trees for the kids 😉

  2. Hi Kate and Jim,
    I have followed your efforts with interest since I have been doing the same kind of renovation/restoration on—oh—seven houses to date. In my current house with Bob we had 36 trees taken out before we did anything to the house! They were all ivy-covered locusts with a leaning tendency over our neighbor’s utility wires…replaced 18 skylights and added three more (my studio!). My last house was a 50s ranch very much like yours so all my efforts there (less tear-out landscaping to be sure) feels familiar. Since you are already on record as a renovator, Kate, seems like this is going to be a life’s work for you. Just one house after another! Good luck, Susan Russo

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