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So, what does it look like when one yard gets rid of tree limbs and a bunch of overgrown bushes all over the place?

A heavy, hot mess.

If you recall from last week, my Dad and a neighborhood friend helped me tackle several curb-appeal related projects:  exterior maintenanceclearing excess limbs from a tree, and even taking a chainsaw to the bushes on the side and front of the house. In short:  we cut down a lot of shit in the name of yard cleanup.

We filled one truck with all of the yard clippings, but had to stop before the pile got too large. That didn’t stop Dad from hacking back the camellias in the front yard (being a winter bloomer, they have already lost all their flowers and buds, so now is a good time to trim them way down). He sort of just hacked at it before I realized how far down he was trimming them, but at that point, I just thought hey, why not go for it? A small, flowery shrub will look great in front of the house!

So, after sawing, hacking, and otherwise accessorizing myself with small bits of wood in my hair and clothing, it was far easier to see the house. For better or worse.

I got a picture of the tree in front of the house from a different angle, looking a little further down the street:

And here is a similar angle after chopping everything down and hauling it away (my neighbor was having a cookout, thus all the cars parked on the street):

Sure, we went drastic. But the idea for all of this is fairly simple:  I don’t have enough time to maintain the stuff in the front yard the way I should, and everything has gotten so overgrown that what it really needs is a complete overhaul.

These plants are all very well established, and I’m fairly confident (after testing with one bush on the side of the house, pictured below) that they will all grow back. Smaller, and look more like bushes instead of trees. If they don’t, I’ll be just fine without them and plant the things I actually like (some of those front bushes were scraggly, not the same species, and seemed to be picked blindly from the discount bin). But for now, the house itself could really use some additional exterior work.

Without the bushes in the way, it’s going to be a lot easier to fill in the missing spots and get the ladder closer up to the house. I also need to clear out the wonky brick that separates the grass from the garden beds – they are all just as scraggly as the bushes that were once there. I also need to get rid of the stain on the roof from all of the recent rainfall (you can see this a few pictures above). And tend to the remaining long branches closer to the ground, like on these camellias:

Nothing can really ever get done as fast as I’d like it to, but that’s just the way it goes. Especially with exterior projects. I am very happy that we’ve cleared out so much; it feels like things are heading in the right direction, for sure. And yet, my house still looks like it just cut its own bangs. I still have to weed, rake, and clear out the smaller plants that I never paid any attention to with the larger bushes in the way. I still have to add mulch and paint the newly exposed areas of the siding that I could never reach.

new house pic

But sometimes, if I look at it from just the right angle, I can stop worrying about all the stuff still yet to do. And see that house really is making progress.

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  1. My dad and stepmom came to visit me last spring and we similarly cut everything back at my condo. I felt so much lighter afterwards!
    Your front yard looks great now!

  2. What a huge difference you made! I guessing those bushes will make it back just fine! I have done something similar thinking, “eh, if they come out of it, then I know to keep them!” And they usually come back in full force!

  3. It look great! Your house has a lot of character. Great possibilities, unlike out boring little tract home in the desert.

  4. I did this to my house two weeks ago, there was many bushes and ugly weeds. Now there is so much space and less insects. Great job!

  5. Props to you! The exterior of our house is definitely my Hubs domain. I don’t do much outside but cheer him on when he’s going to town on something out there… We (he) recently did a flower bed area around our mailbox and I love it! It’s on my blog if you want to check it out. We also had three unruly bushes under our window in the front of the house and the Hubs got those ripped out. We (he) was supposed to do another garden bed area around it but it’s still a work in a progress. Sometimes we just get side tracked right?!

  6. I recently did the same thing! It’s a lot of work during, but once your finished the house and yard look so great that it just makes you smile!

  7. Wow, what a difference you made! I actually stumbled upon your website here because I am getting ready to try to sell more exterior painting projects and curb appeal projects to my current client base. Would you mind if I link back to your blog from mine? You can find my homepage at http://www.bestboulderroofers.com also, I will go ahead and like your Facebook page to try to get more frequent updates. Thanks a ton for this post!