Our front yard is a troubling area for me. So much of my attention has been focused on our backyard oasis that the front yard has become an after thought. We have two currants, two flowering quince, a fruiting dogwood, an aronia, a cornelian cherry and an herb spiral all planted in the front yard. These are still only a year or two old though, so all I see when I pull up to the house is a barren wasteland.

I was playing around in a very basic image program the other day and did a sample remodel of our front porch. I added in a railing leading up to the stairs and around the porch. I also added two trellises to either column on the porch and created an accent along the top which could also act as a trellis. All of this fun daydreaming made me realize a little work could make me cringe a lot less when I pull up to our house. Let the work begin!

Although it’s not a good time to add the railing and such, I did bite the bullet and buy two simple trellises for the columns. They were painted the same green as the accent color on our house and took about 15 minutes to nail into place. The one of the right will support the already-planted trumpet vine, which should sping back into life in the next few weeks. The left trellis will support a newly-planted jasmine. An evergreen clematis was really calling my name at the nursery, but I just couldn’t part with $30 smackers for it – so jasmine it is.

When I was visiting my grandmother recently, she had spent that morning digging up excess iris tubers. They were laying in a neat pile next to the composter – their death close at hand. Desperate for anything low-maintenance and pretty, I scooped up a huge box full and took them home. She threw in some hydrangea cuttings to boot! I now have two varieties of iris planted in the front yard and can’t wait to see their pretty blooms in about a month.

The front yard does look a little nicer with the trellises in place. I am also doing some early spring weeding while the earth is soft. Getting those under control now means more time sipping cold beer this summer. I think a month from now I will really notice the difference with the plantings. The iris will be in bloom. The lambs ear and corsica mint I divided last fall and planted in the front will be thriving. It’s all coming together and it’s not taking too big a bite from the pocket book.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson