House Tour: Outside

I figured it was about time for another house post. This time I'll take you on a tour of the outside. I was going to wait and show you the outside once we did everything to it that we plan on doing, but I thought about it and the way things are going that will probably be a few years from now, so I decided to just show you what we've done so far. Looking at the before and after, it doesn't look like much, but my aching body tells me otherwise.


Picture 161

As promised, one of the first things we did was take down the faux shutters. I think that made a huge difference in the look of the house. Next, we pulled up the 2 bushes on either side of the porch steps. I'm not sure what kind of bushes they were, but they were not pleasant to look at, in my opinon. They must have been there a long time, because the roots were deep and well established. It took Jerry a whole morning of pulling on them with a chain hooked to his truck to get them to finally release their grip on the earth. We shared high fives once the deed was done. While Jerry played in the dirt getting rid of weeds and thinning out the monkey grass border, I planted flowers in the window box and porch planter. Once that was done, I put out pine straw to define the flower beds. Finally, we hung the porch swing and house numbers, and with that, we were done with Phase 1.

Here's a look at some of the plants and flowers we have planted so far:

Petunias, White Vebena, and Sweet Potato Vines.
Picture 162 Picture 171

White Vinca
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Jerry's Beloved Tomato Plant
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Confederate Jasmine
Picture 190

Phase 2 consisted of tackling the plethora of poison ivy and sassafras trees around the old oak tree in the front yard. Roundup wasn't even going to touch that stuff, so Jerry spent a whole day hacking away at it with an ax. He made a pretty good dent in it and then attacked it with the lawnmower and some roundup. It made a big difference, but there is still work to be done if we ever want grass to grow there. It's been too hot to deal with it lately, so we've abandoned the fight for now. Little poison ivy plants are starting to return to the surface, so we're going to have to get back to it soon.

All that brown area around the tree used to be 6 foot high with poison ivy and baby sassafras trees.
Picture 184

Massive Wisteria Vines - Love them! Especially when they bloom in the Spring. Won't be getting rid of those.
Picture 185

Phase 3's mission was to do something about the ugly concrete blocks buried in the ground in front of the steps. I guess they were meant to be a sort of threshold, but water pooled there when it rained and grass and weeds grew out of the cracks. It wasn't very attactive or functional. Jerry's sister had some leftover chipped marble from a project in her yard, so we were all too happy to take it off her hands. We decided not to pull the concrete blocks up, but rather throw dirt on top of them to level the ground and then sprinkle the marble rocks on top. We really didn't want to buy dirt, because, you know, it's dirt. As luck would have it, the state came by and scraped up a strip of dirt in front of our yard in preparation for the widening of the road. Next thing you know, I'm driving the truck while Jerry shovels up dirt from the side of the road and throws it in the back. Jerry said he felt like he was part of a chain gang. Once we got the rocks down, we realized very quickly that they were none too comfortable to walk on. We decided that we needed some stepping stones to finish up this project. First we went to Lowes, but they only had prefab concrete blocks shaped to look like stone. I was cool with them, but Jerry was not a fan. We ended up finding a store that sold natural rocks 30 minutes away, so we purchased 5 rocks for $20. They were actually cheaper than the fake ones from Lowes, and yes, I'll admit they look much better.

Finished Project:
Picture 178So, there you have it. All the work we've done so far. I told you it wasn't much, but we feel pretty proud of ourselves. Now, I would like to show you a few of my favorite outdoor things.

The Swing that Jerry Built - You all know how I love to get my swing on. Jerry and I enjoy relaxing on this after a long, stressful day.
Picture 171
Picture 168

Here's the view from the swing. This red Geranium was waiting for us when we moved in with a very nice note attached to it from the former owner. So sweet!
Picture 164

The Spacious Front Porch:
Picture 182
Picture 181

Crocs and Coleus
Picture 166

We found this little guy buried in the dirt when we pulled up the bushes. 
Picture 167

Copper Gutters - If we must have gutters, at least they're copper ones.
Picture 172

The Back Yard - I love to watch the sunset through the trees.
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Picture 175

The Mission Fig Tree - We thought the Hurricane had blown this strange little tree over and that's why it was growing so crooked. When it started producing mysterious green balls, I decided to do some research on Google. I was pleasantly surprised to find out it's a fig tree. Figs, anyone?
Picture 176

The Old Building - It's fun to go exploring in this building. It's filled with old tools and items from years past. We even found a pot belly stove in it! I swear, we spot something different every time we go in it. I've got my eye on it for a future photo shoot.
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Picture 188

Peace and Quiet
Picture 189

Bird Watching
Picture 191

Lemon Thyme and My Old Friend Froggie
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And, yes, I even love the old, busted up water spigot, because nothing says country like an old busted up water spigot.
Picture 194

Well, there you have it. The outside of our house. We still have a lot of work to do, but I'm happy with our progress so far.

More Before Pics:

More After Pics:
Picture 177

Picture 179



  1. Absolutely beautiful! And it looks to me like you've done quite a bit of work-and it shows! You definitely have a fist-ful of green fingers. I definitely envy you your porch, big shady trees, and that gorgeous wisteria vine. Can't wait to see more house pics!

  2. Bonnie, you have an eye. I'd have had no idea what to do to improve the landscaping etc, but your changes are spot-on. PLEASE COME DO THIS AT MY HOUSE.


  3. Absolutely gorgeous!!!!

  4. I love so pretty....I love the vintage feel the house has...

  5. what a cute place, looks like your turning a 'house' into a 'home'.

  6. It is lovely, Bonnie! You have been working hard!

  7. Such a big difference! You both did a lovely job. Your description doesn't do the changes justice!

  8. Very pretty-I am always envious of people who have a green thumb. Mine are absolutely black and I kill every plant I touch. Our yard was beautiful when we moved in five years ago and now the best we can hope for is that a plant that I haven't managed to kill will flower. Good work!

  9. dajana, all kinds of lovelyJuly 12, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    Nicely done, kids! The house looks fantastic and I am absolutely smitten with your porch and swing. It looks like the perfect place to unwind and spend time with the people you love. Maybe with a glass of lemonade. (:
    p.s. You have good taste in greenery, Bonnie.

  10. nicolejohnson1971July 12, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Great work. Absolutely gorgeous. I should pay you to come help with my house. Love your style.

  11. wow! beautiful! I am so jealous! I live in one of these huge condo complexes which was nice in my 20's (being close to all the action in my city). But, as I enter my 30's, something like this would just seem so amazing! I wish I weren't so upside down in my condo :/ Congratulations again, it looks amazing :)

  12. This house is so charming and pretty. It looks amazing.


  13. I love everything, especially the porch swing! Living in Los Angeles I dream of having a house/yard like yours....:-)

  14. I think it looks great! The work you did really pulled the house together. Before it looked off to me, but now it looks "together"--if that makes any sense to you! I love the porch swing and your back yard too. The old building looks very cool, leave it there always :) No shutters is definitely an improvement, I love the flower box, how cute!

  15. Wow Bonnie--the place looks amazing! What a beautiful lot you have, and you've done such a great job with it!

  16. wow I love your home! I"m so jealous of you right now! I LOVE figs! I hope you guys like it so so it doesn't go to waste haha I think you need a hammock too!!

  17. As with the kitchen shots, the majority of these photos are Bonnie's. Hat's off baby.

  18. I love your house! It's so cute and you've done an amazing job with it. So jealous - living in NYC, most places are just crappy, tiny apartments. I always envy those with space and land.

  19. Love what you did with the yard! Beautiful! My husband and I recently bought a house and we have no idea how to landscape. But, I do have to say that I love shutters. I think they make houses look more like homes so I liked the pics of the before house in that regard. YMMV :)

  20. Thanks, Victoria! Oh, don't get me wrong, I think shutters add a lot to a house. I just don't care for the fake variety. They are not functional and are never big enough to actually cover the wondow even if they did work.

  21. I love what you've done; the house looks really inviting! The flower box is an especially nice touch.


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