Hosta La Vista (A Little Front Yard Landscaping)

Okay, y’all ready for another what-we’ve-been-doing-outside post? This particular rundown, as you may have guessed from my title (why yes I can pun in Spanish), is about some hosta business that we pulled off, thanks to a bunch of extra hostas growing randomly in our backyard (this backyard garden bed is a hot mess but we’ll get to it someday!).

Since they weren’t doing much for us back there, we dug ’em up – about five in total – and decided to put them to better use. For starters, they certainly could help our bedraggled mailbox (which became quite weedy this spring).

The mums that were there turned into dead sticks in the winter and, well, don’t mind that big rock. We found it elsewhere in the front yard and somehow it ended up there temporarily. Perhaps to distract from the weediness? Sure. That’s why. And look at poor Squirrel-y (see him tipped over behind that lone cowlick of a daffodil that’s completely done flowering?). This is the “first impression” we’re putting out to the neighbors. Ugh.

So we pulled all of the weeds out of the driveway (which was a surprisingly major improvement) and the iron squirrel temporarily took residence in the liriope.

Now, the advice from Katherine The Landscape Gal had been to either make the planting bed around the mailbox larger or just let it fill in with grass/ground cover. Good advice. We didn’t really have the energy to dig up a bigger plant bed at this point though, and we liked how the petunias looked there last year. But next year we’d definitely love to expand this bed so it’s larger and more gracefully curved for a little more curb appeal magic.

For the meantime, we got three pots of petunias at Home Depot and, paired with some of the hostas dug up from the backyard, we got to planting.

Here’s our little arrangement. It looks a bit spaced out right now, but having learned how well flowers grow in that area we’re pretty hopeful that it’ll fill in nicely within a month or two.

Oh yeah, and a little mulch never hurt. Here’s where it’s achingly obvious that Katherine was totally right- this little garden would look so much better if it was bigger. Someday…

At least it looks better than this ridiculousness….

Since we still had a handful of hostas with no place to call home, we decided to use them in this still-blank spot of our front planting bed that we last detailed here.


No, wait. Here’s the real ta-dah (again, thanks to the power of mulch). Although, this gives you a good idea of how mulch fades after a few weeks in the sun (and pollen). Haha. So hopefully that dorky mulch-tan-line won’t be there for long.

People always ask what kind of mulch we use, and we just grab the darkest brown wood mulch Home Depot sells (it’s usually on a special like three bags for $7 or something). But once we establish these beds (hopefully by next spring) we’d love to get a mulch delivery since we hear they can be a lot less than buying by the bag as you go.

Oh and those hostas will get nice and giant so they won’t look as dinky (they seem to keep growing well into the summer, and can get 20+ inches wide). The area is looking better now that we’ve extended our new plantings a bit more, but what will really help is something that’s still in the works. Perhaps this rendering below will give you a hint…

Maybe that was more than just a hint. It’s actually already starting to come in, but I haven’t had a chance to mow and take proper pictures yet. That’ll be a topic for another day! Has anyone else used transplanted bushes or flowers to spruce up their landscape lately? Are you a fan of the hosta? They’re one of our favorite shade plants (haven’t  killed one yet!). And they always seem to be popping up randomly around our yard (the same was true for our first house) so it gives us a little thrill that we don’t have to pay $5- 7 for them at the store since they seem to just sprout up at whim.

And those dudes are pretty darn hard to kill. True story: we once found one in a pot within a large sealed tupperware bin in our basement growing without any light or water about two months after we put it there while we moved! We thought the pot had nothing in it but dirt when we popped it into the bin along with some other pots, and then in the spring it started to sprout right inside the tupperware. We laughed for about five minutes when we found it. It was a hosta miracle, I tell ya.

Psst- We really should update this master list of outside tasks (it feels like we’re inching along out there, but we actually have a bunch we can cross off now).


  1. Sherri says

    Do you guys have deer in your neighborhood? Their #1 choice in food is hostas so if you come out one morning and you have sticks with no leaves, you’ll know what happened. Also, hostas like a little protection from full sun so yours might burn out a bit if that’s truly a full sun spot. All that aside, love me some hostas!!!

  2. says

    LOVING the hostas!! Our backyard is a hot mess too. Gotta love when Mother Nature just decides to do whatever she wants! Unfortunately we don’t have much growing willy-nilly like you guys since we’ve got such a small space – so I’m jealous of your big lot! Our city just had a native plant sale though – so we stocked up to do a little bit of landscaping of our own! But before that we had to get a new fence installed – it’s a big deal in our house! :) Next up, maybe we’ll have to track down some hostas…

  3. Nancy says

    Love to use transplants. I often take hosta volunteers from the rocks under our deck. I’m anxious to see what happens to your shade loving hostas once they’re in full sun.

  4. says

    Hey guys, I have been having troubles with my little patch of dirt, as well. What kind of mulch do you recommend? Our HOA hasn’t mulched in about a year (they are supposed to do it every spring and fall…but that’s what happens when it changes hands). Thanks for the help.

    • says

      We just get the darkest brown wood mulch Home Depot sells (usually on special for 3/$7 or something). Someday we’d love to get a delivery since we hear it’s much more economical to get one big mound dropped off instead of buying by the bag as you go – so maybe next spring once everything is planted and we have a guess how much we’ll need?


    • Heather says

      It’s much cheaper to get mulch by the yard than buying it in a bag from somewhere like Home Depot.

    • says

      Thanks! As we mentioned in the post, we’d love to get it by the yard next spring (when we have more beds done and things planted, so we have a better idea of how much we need).


  5. katalina says

    I don’t dig for my huge curvy beds.

    1) cut grass short, hose can help with curvy shape

    2) put newspapers down–2 layers or so and wet them

    3) cover with heavy leaf grow and then mulch ( some people use weed cloth but it can be problematic as far as planting and seeing the weed cloth when mulch moves…)

    raised beds work better

    4) later use a user spade to cut up the edge

  6. EngineerMom says

    Love hostas! I’m a big fan of plants that are hard to kill and keep on giving (daisies, lilies, etc.), and hostas definitely fit into that category.

    If you ever end up in Cincinnati, check out the civic garden center (not Cincinnati Gardens – that’s an arena!). They have one of the largest collections of hostas in the country, from those ones with the crazy-huge leaves to the lovely soft green clumps that end up crowned with delicate purple and white flowers in the late summer. It’s pretty neat to see how many varieties there are (It’s in the hundreds!), and how different they can be from each other.

    • says

      Oddly enough the ones in the back are full sun and seem to do well! We haven’t killed one once- but there’s always a first! Haha. Will keep you posted!


    • says

      Ours live in pretty full sun and do great. They are huge and green. I’m not a gardener or a plant specialist by any means, but they work for us!

    • says

      I think based on responses that it might vary by location or type of hosta (color, variagated, etc) since ours seem to work in the sun too!


    • Lou says

      I’ve been working at a plant nursery for years now, and my department grows perennials. True, most hosta prefer shade, but certain variegated cultivars (such as ‘patriot’ or ‘francee’- and I think yours are one of those two) really don’t seem to care either way. You guys are right on, unless you have a rampant deer population, you really just can’t kill ’em!

    • says

      Yay! So glad our theories about some varieties not minding full sun wasn’t way off. Ours really seem to be happy (didn’t want them to keel over!).


  7. Barbara says

    Looking good. Quick note – in my experience hostas don’t really like full sun. They tend to get yellow and spindly. Whereas in the shade they take on a rich green color and really flourish. If the mailbox really gets a lot of sun, you might keep your eye on those hostas.

  8. says

    I love hostas and they are so easy to transplant and divide. I do wonder if they will do ok in full sun since they tend to be shade-loving plants. The ones we had planted in full sun always got ‘crispy’ edges, and weren’t as lush as the ones in the shade.

  9. Lindsay J says

    Definitely transplanted a lot of stuff. First thing we did when we bought our house was take all the plants in the front flowerbed and move them to the back yard (I didn’t like them.) I didn’t even try to take care of them and they lived! And now I really like them. Some of my plants have “Babies” so I keep transplanting those, but I’m running out of spaces! I love free plants!!

  10. Brita says

    We just transplanted a 9 foot Norway spruce from the back to the front yard. It took about 4 hours! ugh! I love hostas and we have them all over our property, but by the end of the spring the deer eat them down to little nubs; its so sad. Its part of my argument to get a really big dog to scare them away! (and i just want a puppy!)

  11. says

    Hostas are wonderful! My mom just brought me several to plant at the Little House.

    They do get huge, but when they do you can split and replant them (split them in spring when they’re about 2-inches high). They’ll basically double in size each time you split them in half (they’re like amoebas).

  12. Allison Mee says

    Hostas are the best! My boyfriend and i just planted a hosta bed in our back yard earlier this week! your yard is looking good!

  13. Julie says

    This may be the best post title ever. You’re usually very witty, but this one takes the cake!

    Do you know if you guys bought hardy mums last year? If so, they may return this year, so don’t dig them out. Just trim the sticks down to the dirt and you should be getting green soon, if you haven’t already.

    Also, I think the “mulch tan line” is more a function of the moisture in the mulch. I’d bet if you wet down the old stuff with a hose, the coloring would be the same.

    • says

      Thanks for the tan line tip! We’ll have to try it. As for the mums, not sure if they were hardy, but I think they might have gotten dug up while we planted this stuff. Oops.


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