Bush Fence, Begone!

We did it! Over the course of two nice long Clara naps (and with a little help from a friend) we managed to open up our front yard in what we like to call “Phase Two Of Ten Million” when it comes to slowly transforming our front yard. Why so many phases? Well it started out looking like this:

Much like our first house’s yard, we figure it’ll take a few years of tweaks to get it where we want it, so this phase was just about clearing things out for a you-can-actually-see-the-house-now effect (Phase One was limbing up the magnolia). In short: we dug up/transplanted/removed a ton of bushes (with the help of a friend of ours who took home some boxwoods in exchange for helping us get a bunch of them up). This post is full of photos, so I’ll let them do the talking. Without further ado, here are the before and afters (we tried to take photos from the same angle for comparison). First there’s the AFTER to the before above (don’t mind the black feather wreath out there on the door for Halloween):

Here’s another BEFORE for ya from the driveway:

And another AFTER from the same angle (a little further away):

Another BEFORE:

And the AFTER:

Here’s a side-angle BEFORE:

And an AFTER from the same POV:

Another BEFORE facing more towards the street:

And the accompanying AFTER:

Here’s a BEFORE from the other side (the bushes used to completely stop the eye so our yard felt way smaller):

And here’s the AFTER from the same angle:

Yet another BEFORE:

And another AFTER:

Here’s how it looked from the front porch BEFORE:


The only drawback? I got me a blister. So in that aspect it was exactly like Phase One (seen here). Totally worth it though. No pain, no gain.

As for where we put the bushes that we transplanted, we just dug them up…

… and planted them in the naturalized parts of our side and back yard (and our friend who helped us dig made off with the rest of the healthy ones). Sadly some of the bushes were dead…

… so those just got removed with a sawzall (aka this reciprocating saw by Skill). Which was probably more fun to use than it should have been (it was actually our first time sawzalling, so we took turns and grinned like fools the whole time). And you know we loved the fact that this big curb appeal makeover was f-r-e-e (well, I guess it cost us a few boxwoods in return for some helpful friend labor, but it was foliage well spent).

As for our future lawn plans, we’re definitely just getting started out there – so there are a lot more phases on the over-the-next-few-years agenda. We’ve got plans to:

  • dig out some ivy/monkey grass
  • lay down some grass seed in certain areas
  • layer in some low maintenance native (and less fence-like) plantings to soften things up around certain areas of the perimeter
  • landscape around the front of the house (there are hardly any plants on either side of the porch – so it’s just sort of a mud pit in those areas)
  • do a million other things that are slipping my mind at the moment (one big one: convert the carport to a garage)

So this step was just about clearing things out to make way for some less house-obscuring choices and opening things up to let the eye travel a bit further in certain places. Feels nice to let the house breathe a little. And the neighbors have all been saying such sweet things about the change. Whew! Has anyone else been up to a few exterior tweaks? Do you do them during baby naps with the monitor outside on full blast so you can run in at a moment’s notice? Do you hold your breath until the neighbors approve? We totally do.

Psst- We’re over on BabyCenter talking about a Halloween surprise that we discovered on Sunday night. Let’s just say Clara’s in love. Here’s the story.


  1. Kim Dunn says

    Wow!! It looks great! It’s amazing what taking a few (or a lot) of bushes out does for your property! I almost thought it was a picture of your old house for a second! :)

  2. Jess says

    Looks fantastic! This past summer we busted out the reciprocating saw ourselves to do some landscape surgery prior to getting new siding/roof/chimney, and months later we’re still just thrilled to look at our house. Our neighbors are, too. (And? We also spray-painted our exterior and interior door hardware and exterior light fixtures with the Rustoleum ORB. It’s been about 4 months and it’s still holding up beautifully.)

  3. says

    Wow wow wow! What a huge difference!

    For some reason I always thought your front yard was gigantic, not being able to see it all that well. But now that I can see the true size of it, it must have been a little postage stamp of grass (with a giant magnolia in the middle) inside all those bushes.

    Well done, Youngsters!

    You totally have me itching to dig up—let me rephrase that—to have my husband dig up the “gold dust” bushes that we have protecting some cypress trees we planted a year ago. It was on the agenda for spring, but might have to get moved up now! The trees went from 3 feet to about 9 in 18 months. Not sure they need protecting any longer.

    You can see ’em here, if so inclined:

    Will stop rambling now. :)

  4. denise says

    Holy cow! What a huge transformation! It really looks so much better. And I’m sure you’re relieved to have that giant project behind you.

    Love the black feather wreath!

  5. mribaro says

    It’s like a good “brazilian” :) On a serious note, I think you have rejuvanated the garden and it’ll look awesome in spring when the grass fills in. Good progress!

  6. says

    Isn’t it funny how we all are? It’s like hair (if you’re curly you want it straight and if it’s straight you want it curly…) My front yard is pretty naked right now, and I love your huge magnolia and all the plantings. I do agree that your bush fence was less than inviting though. I’ll have to think about that as I refine my front yard approach.

    We were taking advantage of the last of the good weather before it gets cold to girdle and round-up our Chinese Elms in our backyard- they are a horrible weed tree that will send up little baby elms from all the roots if you cut it down outright. My 5 mo old decided naps were “so last week” and so I put her in a backpack and followed my husband (with the Chainsaw) at a safe distance, and painted roundup on the cambium he exposed. She had a blast pulling my ponytail and looking at Daddy with Furrowed brows for the loud noise he was making and how funny he looked in a hard hat and goggles.

    Happy Yarding!

  7. julie g. says

    It looks fantastic! Removing all of that actually makes the yard appear like you added more appropriate sized landscaping. When we moved into our home our whole cul-de-sac was lined with the tree-hedge fence. You could not see anyone’s homes. We were the first ones to remove the fence and the rest of our neighbors follwed suit shortly thereafter. We like to think that we started a trend on our block!

  8. says

    The difference is amazing!

    I started clearing our side yard last week, got about halfway and started getting dizzy (vertigo with low blood sugar – all the “fun” of being drunk without the alcohol!). We’ve got a whole bunch of little things to do in our garden that all add up to a really big task, so I’m hoping to break it down (rapper style) and take it one job (or half a job…) at a time.

  9. Meaghan says

    Amazing transformation, I love it! What a difference it makes. You must be so excited. I bet you will get more trick-or-treaters now :)

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