Carving Out a Niche

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

I don’t know what it is with me but I like to be out front.  I have a nice back yard, but I like the front.  I guess it’s the activity on the street.  People walking their dogs, cars passing by, chatting with the neighbors. 

Recently a friend bought a house and when I went to visit, the first thing that struck me was how closed in It felt.  There were trees and bushes blocking the windows half way up the front of the house.  I suggested that she pull them out and carve out a niche…a poor man’s front porch.  We discovered that a large window was actually a pair of French doors that had been painted shut…that was the first order of business – to see if we could scrape off the paint and get it open.  Success! There was even a little stoop…perfect.  A friend of ours had 28 – 2’X2’ cement pavers that she had taken out of her yard and were leaning up against her garage.  I made a quick (scavenger) phone call and sure enough she was looking to get rid of them.  We had her gardener go pick them up.  The gardener pulled out the shrubs and somewhat graded the area, brought in a little soil and sand and laid the pavers out with 2” between them.  Then we planted some creeping Thyme to fill in.  We lined the front of the patio with boxwood that will grow to make a small hedge. In front of the boxwood is a sweet flowerbed boarded by river rock, which is very common in our area.  She already had some all weather wicker club chairs that we moved to the front and a cool rusted bust of a woman.  There is an 18” flowerbed against the house that we put another row of boxwoods and gardenias and hydrangea’s.

It is now so inviting…it really opened the house up…inside and out.  It looks fresh and well put together.  She paid her gardener $100.00 to bring the pavers over and install them and she and I did the planting, mainly taking plants from other areas of her yard where they were not working.  We are planning to move the shutters over and add hinges so they look operational and add a painted black wide wood trellis between the two sets of shutters and over the window and door…like a T for the climbing roses in the center to go up.

I know it is early in the season for many of you living in colder climates, but the weather will be changing soon and it is never too early to first dream, then plan, then take action!  I am already looking for new vegetable garden locations and ideas.  I just ordered bare root David Austin old English roses and am planning my next project…Always thinking…