A month flew by and lots have happened. We have been spending time with our first foster dog, Dazumble. She quickly came out of her shell and is now a happy, sweet, dorky, and loyal pup.
Besides working our full-time jobs and taking Dazumble to weekly adoption events, we accomplished a feel-good project at the ranch house – a new front porch.
Below was the front porch when we purchased the house. We tackled this area immediately after moving in, including demoing the awning and the old sinking concrete patio, replacing the storm door and painting the front door a new color, and laying the drainage rocks.
Then the front porch looked like this for the last six years. It was always in our plan to rebuild a concrete front porch. The drainage rock was meant to be temporary, just to hold down the plastic underneath and to prevent water penetration.
To my surprise, this gravel area has worked well for the last 6 years. The melting snow and spring rain flew down to the pathway below and the lawn smoothly, and the 3/4″ rocks stayed in place. We never needed to add more rocks. Overall, this “temporary” solution was functional. However, we still wished for a real concrete patio for better look.
Came around this June, one of our neighbors did a concrete project and brought in some contractors. We had a chance to talk to the contractor about this porch job. In early July, Slav removed all the drainage rocks (and incorporated them into other areas around the house), lifted the 6 mil plastic, and the new concrete porch was poured.
New porch was levered with the adjacent pathway and went around the window well we installed ourselves. It was finished with a nice broom finish to match the pathway.
Just like that, we have a large and leveled surface next to the house again. The new porch patio is in a cooler grey color when compared to the older door steps and pathway, but it certainly looks better than the colorful gravel!
Although we are not interested in furnishing the front porch, we do want to add a couple planters for seasonal colors. Slav also requested some screening plants in front of the pathway, just to obscure the exposed foundation and the window well from the street.
So the same week when the concrete patio was finished, I placed order for eight Green Mountain boxwood. The plan was to grow a low and evergreen hedge to hide all the concrete from the street. It will also to make the front porch look more formal and tidy.
I chose the “Green Mountain” variety for its bright green foliage, resistance to winter burn, and its upright growing habit. Leaving alone, the Green mountain boxwood grows naturally into a cone shape, so it does not require as much trimming as other varieties of boxwood. Leaving untrimmed, these boxwoods will grow into a line of connecting cones, and stay above 4′ tall. We will likely trim the sides and top to keep a more formal, smooth wall-like look.
Here are the boxwood, all planted! We cut away the sod to create a skinny flower bed, then planted all the boxwoods in line. When reaching maturity, these boxwood plants will grow over 3′ wide, so their canopies will completely cover the mulched area.
So, this is our curb appeal as of today. It might not look like not a big change when compared the “before” look just a few weeks ago, but it is a good start for something lush and lively in a few years. Imagine when the boxwoods grow into a 4′ tall green wall, with a couple tall planters behind it filled with summer annuals. The honeysuckle will cover the trellises around Slav’s office window by then. Cannot wait!