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Hi.

I'm Bri Garbani, a designer + photographer living in San Diego, California. It's here that I express my passion for dogs, design + DIY through writing + photography. If you like what you see, you'll want to check back often as I have a constant need to create + Native Blonde is my prime creative outlet.

Front Yard Landscape Project

Front Yard Landscape Project

Every weekend over the last six weeks has been filled with yard work for the hubby and I.  And I'm not talking about mowing or weeding - I'm talking about lengthy, back breaking, sweaty and sunburned yard work.  The kind that any sane person would hire a team to do.  But not us.  We did it ourselves - and here is the process we went through.

It all began with visiting a wholesale nursery and photographing all of the plants on their property that we liked.  Then, we flipped through the photo album of images I had collected, picked what we were drawn to and laid it all out to scale on grid paper.  After a few plant swaps and date planning for when we would execute our front yard landscape project, we placed the order to be delivered to our house.

Before any of the plant installation could begin though, we had a lot of turf to remove in order to make our water wise xeriscape design plan become a reality.  The hubby rented a sod cutter and spent an entire day cutting and then hauling grass from the front yard and transporting it into the backyard.  I was impressed with how easily I could roll the sod up, just like an area rug, but moving it required more muscle than I had available. 

Once the sod was out of the front yard, we had several concrete contractors meet us at our home to bid on our walkway and driveway project.  We opted not to redo the apron of the driveway due to costly city permits, but we may revisit it again at a later time depending on how much its cracked appearance bothers us. We contemplated doing the demolition work ourselves for this portion of the project, however, removing the concrete from our property would have been a challenge all its own so we opted to hire professionals to complete the task in its entirety.  Within twenty minutes of work, the old pathway leading up to the house and the driveway had been broken up and was being thrown into a dumpster.  Next, the frame work was laid, concrete was poured and we let it set up for a week before we were able to drive on it again.  What a transformation our yard had seen already!

Next up was the plant delivery!  It was extremely exciting to physically plant these beauties in the ground until we got to the hard part.  We ordered one giant agave and five giant cacti to incorporate into our design.  And each one weighed nearly three hundred pounds.  This meant digging holes large enough to pivot each 24 inch box into the ground using 4x4's as levers.  It was a struggle since it was just the hubby and I, but we did it.  We did it ourselves over the course of a few days and with only two shovels!

The following weekend we had six yards of decomposed granite delivered.  It took an entire day to distribute this throughout the yard in a two inch layer, and again, it was just the two of us.  The hubby had converted the sprinkler system into drip lines, which we discovered had a leak during this stage of the process and it had to be dug up for rerouting and repairs.  Once corrected, we continued on with hauling decomposed granite until the sun retired for the day.  We also spent a great deal of time patting down the decomposed granite, soaking it and then patting it down some more to create an even, hard surface.  Several back massages were in order over the following days, but it was absolutely worth it because our front yard looked absolutely beautiful.

A few finishing touches included hammering down galvanized steel edging to keep the grass island contained, installing solar spot lights to show off our newly installed landscaping during night hours and re-planking and staining the fence that runs the length of our new ribbon style driveway to match the rest of the fencing on our property that we previously built.  We definitely had celebratory cocktails in hand as we completed the last step of our front yard redo.

With as much work as we did over the last several weekends, can you believe we're still not done with the front of our house?  The front porch and steps will be tiled in terracotta and I'll make it feel cozy by adding some potted plants and outdoor pillows to enhance our patio furniture.   But that's a project that will be completed later - this weekend we've been all about taking it easy with lots of well deserved rest and relaxation.    Mainly because we know we're nowhere close to done yet - we still have the entire backyard to overhaul too!

Now that you've seen a glimpse of our front yard landscape process, allow me to place a few true before and after images next to each other for comparison.  Enjoy the transformation!

Bohemian Fringe Curtains

Bohemian Fringe Curtains

House of Hardware

House of Hardware