Trimming Back Some Overgrown Azaleas

As you last saw a few weeks ago, we removed our shoddy screen door and painted the door behind it a brilliant lipstick red. Then we ripped down the scalloped header with vigor and shared the victorious results. But Project Pimp My Porch is far from complete. We still need to relay the front walkway, because it looks bad (really bad). But while we work up the energy to tear up the jagged slate and create a wider and more level pathway, I took it upon myself to get going on some much needed front landscaping.

See, after azaleas look spectacular for three long weeks in April, they’re immediately supposed to be cut back when the flowers begin to fade. So I got to work trimming all of the bushes the obligatory three inches or so. Observe:

And then I did something that John and I have been talking about for two whole years. I cut the three bushes on either side of the front steps waaaay back. So far back that I was left with six giant piles of leaves when the smoke cleared. But it had to be done. As gorgeous as the jumbo azalea bushes look each spring when they show their stuff for 20 straight days, the rest of the year they’re just giant green bushes that obscure the porch railing, making our house appear even more squat and encircling the perimeter like a solid wall of unvaried color and texture. And viola… we have our porch back.

It’s open and inviting and the house looks taller and more, dare I say it, updated. The old wall of unbroken bushes is no more. And the azaleas will still fill in and flower, but we’ll never let them get so overgrown that our cute porch railing is hidden like gorgeous hardwood floors under a grody old carpet. And now we even have space to pop some annuals into the mix for a splash of new color and texture to boot. So as soon as my forearms stop burning and my biceps stop twitching, I just might talk John into helping me tackle that new walkway. Stay tuned…


  1. says

    I love that you painted your door red. We also live in a red brick ranch, and I’ve put off painting the door red because I wasn’t sure how it would look. Thank you for the inspiration! :)

  2. Gina says

    Looking sharp! Clean….

    what I am most looking forward to seeing is what you guys are going to do with your basement! :o)

  3. EastEnd says

    Have you ever thought about painting the bricks? I know people are either totally opposed or completely in love with the idea, no in-between. But I just painted the brick columns of my bungalow and love the look.

  4. YoungHouseLove says

    Gina- We’re looking forward to the basement project too, although it’s gonna be a lot of work. As soon as we’re done with the front walkway…

    EastEnd- We actually seriously considered painting the brick and even met with a local house painter but he was really kind of anti-painting brick (ironic due to his occupation) and pointed out all the maintenance involved (we have lots of mold and mildew here so we’d have to scrub the paint down with bleach twice a season- and even get up on the roof to get the chimney). So the more we thought about it (and looked at other painted brick ranchers) the more we liked the natural brick. I adore the white painted brick look with black shudders and a red door- especially on a bungalow or a cottage-y home, but every painted ranch we’ve seen kind of looks like a trailer- and we’d hate the extra work. Our solution is that when we get the roof done (sometime in the near future) we’re thinking about either black slate shingles or a black tin roof- which always makes red brick look better and more classic. So yes, to answer your question in the longest way possible, we have thought about it:)


  5. EastEnd says

    I know what you mean about the mold thing – I’m over in the east end! It’s driving me nuts on the back deck. Wow you actually thought about painting the bricks! Your brick facade is very pretty, the bricks are a great color, and will look fantastic with a black roof. I never thought about painted ranchers looking like trailers. I’ve always loved the look of painted brick but never had the nerve to go there, until I painted the columns. But they were in rough condition, the bungalow is circa 1925, so years of painting around them left lots of splatters etc. It looks like you are going in the direction of clean contemporary, and I pictured white or pale grey bricks with the black shutters or none and the red door…..but that mold, what a pain!

  6. Beth says

    Project Pimp My Porch?? I laughed out loud! :) Everything looks fantastic, as usual — keep up the good work!

  7. Laura says

    Thanks for showing this! We’re approaching our first house-versary and we have a bunch of azaleas around our house as well. This post has given me the courage to cut them back mercilessly next year instead of the timid pruning I did this year. We’re also redoing the rooms one by one and I’m reading your through blog to get the courage to redo our (huge!) living room. I’ve already picked up some great tips.

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