Front Yard Makeover BEFORE & Plans

Today I’m sharing the before tour of our front yard as well as plans and some inspiration for giving our home exterior more curb appeal.

Yesterday I shared all kinds of beautiful “AFTER” types of pictures from outdoor projects that we completed at our old house. We truly spent time each and every year working on various outdoor projects there until we got to the point where we absolutely loved out landscaping and yard.

And then we sold.

So we had to move. And although we are happy with many things about our new home, especially since the renovations are staring to shape up inside, there is much to be said about the front yard.

First off, the day that we gained ownership of this house at 5pm we drove by at 3:30 to make sure that our sea-can full of belongings had arrived to the driveway safely. This is what we saw…

Yup. That was our front yard. It was literally torn apart. The barely-still current owners were apparently having a drainage issue repaired that they had thought was repaired but then wasn’t so the company that did it originally came back to deal with it. Which, of course, is a good thing. Buuuuut…we didn’t have any idea that any of this was happening!

A bit of panic ensured and we called to our realtor, who contacted the selling realtor. We received a bit of attitude back with some vague reassurances from the selling realtor that it would all be “taken care of and put back to normal”.

Well, this was November. So needless to say, sprinkling some grass seed on a yard full of rocks did little to repair what had happened. We certainly did not receive our house in the same condition as we had viewed or purchased it in.

Anyhow, let bygones be bygones, and it’s now time to repair the mess was made of the front yard as well as to repair the driveway (which we had known needed work when we purchased the house).

So! The front yard makeover project begins… we will be DIYing the grass planting and landscaping, but have hired out the big jobs of installing a new driveway, a new concrete retaining wall, as well as a new set of stairs and sidewalk.

Here is how things were looking earlier this week before said machines arrived to tear things up…

You can see that the asphalt driveway was torn apart in sections in order to accommodate some drainage work. We will be completely replacing it with a new concrete driveway. We will also be adding a retaining wall along the yard side of the driveway to allow us to level and grade the yard better. The old block style wall is not in the best shape and needs replacing for sure.

The stairs and sidewalk had been DIYed with some concrete patio stones that have seen better days. You can see that the risers and sides were pieced together with rocks. All of this took a hit with the excavation that happened in the front yard last November, so it will all be getting replaced with a poured, brushed concrete stairway and walkway.

On the front of the house we plan to replace all the posts with some beautiful clear cedar posts that have been sitting and drying in our garage all winter. We will also replace the front door with a new, more modern design, and paint the whole house and trim. We’ll repair and fix up the original concrete porch area (perhaps with the product that we used here), and I’ll be sourcing some new exterior light fixtures as well.

Then there’s the lawn. Look at that rock pit! It made me laugh out loud that the company (that did the excavation work in November) even came back and threw down grass seed on this mess. I mean, it is FULL of rocks! We completely transformed our lawn at our old house, so once we get this area cleaned up and topsoil brought in we will get going on the same process of planting a new lawn.

I have some fun ideas in store for landscaping the gardens, as well. I can’t wait to bring in some river rock and ornamental grasses again in our landscaping to give this area a much more modern, clean feel. I’d love to create a look like we had in our old garden..

Minus the lake view, of course.

Now! To choose a new front door and a new house colour.

I’m currently deciding between nearly black with a cedar coloured door and accents…


All white with black garage doors. Either one will have cedar posts and probably a stained cedar-coloured front door, though I might paint the door black as well if we do an all white house.

Hmm…decisions, decisions. What would you do?

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  1. Why black and white? That is so overdone now. Why not a color? Make your house stand out a bit instead of looking so Joanna?

    1. Hey Janet! We don’t actually have any houses with the modern black and white feel in the smallish town where we live – so it would look pretty on-trend here. But if you want to see what we actually went with, I shared a sneak peak in my Fall Porch post the other day (and I’m sharing the complete before and after tomorrow!).

  2. Ohhh! I love the black because it’s so dramatic! The cedar just pops against it!
    I can’t believe you moved into that mess without it being disclosed! The company that fixed the lawn threw grass seed over minimal soil and rocks..disappointing!
    But LOOK what you have done on the inside! I am looking forward to seeing the transformation on the outside 🙂

  3. I also loved your last house but I know that you are working your magic on this house too! I think you should paint the exterior Cranberry Red with Cream trim

  4. Depending upon your exposure to the sun, the nearly black could fade more quickly and need maintenance much more often. However, I do love black with cedar accents.

  5. I would do the all black with cedar accents. I think if you go white your home exterior will still date itself.l because there are homes of that style all white

  6. Gosh, it’s a tough one, but I think I’d go with the white. I noticed your window frames are white….would you have to change those to go with the nearly black-or the white house? Love seeing all you’re before and after pictures!

  7. Hey Krista,
    Congratulations on your move! So exciting! Love both ideas for exterior. Personally, I’d choose the dark. Port Alberni is so rainy and windy, I feel like white would quickly look dingy and require a good pressure wash all the time. Can’t wait to see the finished product!!

  8. So hard to choose! But I think I like the dark one a bit better.
    Good luck making your decision!

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