Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Front Garden Makeover

Our front garden, if you can call it that as it's so small has finally received some much needed attention and makeover in the past few days. It's more of a drive really, barely enough space to fit in one car let alone loads of plants. But it is the face of the house and deserves as much love and care as the back of the house. 

It was time to sort out the front!

The makeover has actually started when we decided to have a porch added to the front late last year. That's been finished finished for quite some time now, with the planned railings on one side the only thing that's pending (that can wait, as it's classed as a very minor addition on the scheme of things). Apart from that what the front needed was the drive to be deep cleaned of years of grime, weeds removed, and potted plants sorted out as they were in a sorry state.

Just look at the weeds and the sorry state of our potted plants here. 
I mentioned about having a 'pot ghetto' before. For a couple well into gardening, who try and keep the back garden as tidy as possible, our front garden doesn't reflect this. Of all places, the front has become an extension of our pot ghetto. Years of doing major projects didn't help though as the front became a dumping ground of construction materials too. Now that all major work has been done at the back (and in the house) we don't have an excuse to keep the front untidy anymore. Time to sort out the front, to please us and the neighbours too (who  have been very patient with the years of mess our front garden was).

Out goes the years of grime
First things first, move the old and sad potted plants away and deep clean the front drive by weeding and using a jet wash. The kind people at Vax sent us a VPW2 PowerWash 2000W jetwash to try out, so this was a great opportunity to use it to clean the drive. And it did the job marvelously and it was so easy to use too, maneuvering the main machine, wand and using the appropriate attachments with ease. It made the deed of deep cleaning rather fun! The drive, with years of grime removed looked so clean and when it was all dried up you can see the original shade of the paving brick used

The PowerWash was powerful and simple to use and also came with a handy drive cleaning attachment which reduces the spray and mess, although I must confess I enjoyed blasting the grime away, even though lots of it ended up on me!

Fun with water! The Vax PowerWash made easy work on shifting the grime.
After playing with water, it was time to sort out the potted plants. They were all in a sorry state, yellow and dry and they all had to go and be replaced. The front of the house is south facing and receives loads of sunlight even in the depths of winter (on sunny winter days that is). We're not good at keeping on top of the watering needs of plants at the front which resulted in the plants we've put there before to be in a story state. In such a sunny and warm aspect the pots are prone to drying out. 

Agaves on display on the newly cleaned drive way - instead of all the blocks looking grey they now show their (subtle) colours.
So out were the old plants and in with new ones that will appreciate and thrive in such a warm and sheltered spot, tolerate drought, and unlikely to go yellow as a result of it. A perfect place for sun loving plants like agaves, eryngiums, and a few others.

Agave salmiana var. ferox
Agave montana
Agave ovatifolia
Eryngium agavifolium Giant form
I'm really pleased with the results, it's probably as much as we can do for now in such a small place. More photos to follow in another post when I get the chance to take a photo of the finished planting, and anecdotes of resulting conversations we've had with a few neighbours as we hung out at the front cleaning the front garden and sorting out the plants.

Mark :-)

19 comments :

  1. Hello Mark and Gaz:

    This does actually sound like a major spring clean!! A small space at the front of the house is always difficult and when you have to rely largely on containers there is always the danger that they will be overlooked and/or forgotten about completely.

    Sun loving plants for your particular situation, which will thrive on a degree of neglect, does seem to be a sensible solution. We shall be interested to see the finished result.

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    1. How true Jane and Lance, plus with a front garden so small it's not a place that's conducive to hang out and spend some time to give the plants the attention they need. Will try our best to be more diligent in keeping the front tidy this time now that a fresh start has been made. It helps that now drought tolerant plants have been used.

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  2. I see a hint of the new blue planters in that last photo, and can't wait to see the final results!

    (I too had my first experience with a power washer and have to say that it is greatly satisfying to see the grime being powered away -- regardless of how much ended up covering me!)

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    1. or are those old planters? Regardless, looking forward to the "after" photos. :)

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    2. Thanks Alan! They're old planters, some came with us from the house where we used to live previous to this one. They were looking very dull though so gave them a scrub too as part of the makeover.

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  3. I am quite surprised that you have left it so long. Although most of the action takes place round the back it is important to have a tidy front as it is the first thing people see. You could have made life easier by doing a traditional front garden which consists of a dead potted fir, a few crisp packets and a couple of larger cans :-)

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    1. It was quite embarrassing Don, scruffy front but well maintained back, rather incongruent so enough's enough and about time we scrubbed the front :) Funny you mentioned about the dead conifer as were joking about that last weekend!

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  4. Looking forward to seeing the finished front! My patio needs a power-washing and sealing. Right now it, like your front, is a bit cluttered with my pot ghetto.

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    1. Thanks Alison :) your front garden looks fab btw!

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  5. You gentlemen always do such wonderful work! How satisfying that the projects are almost all completed. Whatever will you do with all of your newfound free time?

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    1. Thanks Peter! Yes it's a bit disconcerting but better get used to a more gentle pace of gardening!

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  6. It is going to look nice!! can´t wait to see the final look!

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    1. Thanks Lisa! I hope it won't disappoint!

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  7. We had the "should we power wash the patio?" conversation earlier this spring and decided against it, reading about your cleaning adventure has me wondering if we made the right choice. Love the agaves and can't wait to see the "after" photos!

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    1. You can always power shower later on Loree if it bugs you enough that you didn't do so :) although sometimes it's best to leave some patios au naturel as the marks of time can add character.

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  8. It looks as though you're certainly off to a clean start! I look forward to seeing the "after" photos when the job is complete.

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  9. It's funny how many gardeners concentrate on the back garden. After all, it's where you live. Can't wait the finished product. I'm sure it will look great.

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