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Front Yard Landscaping

In addition to some updates (removing the window blinds that frame the door, replacing the front porch light and door knob, painting the door and frame and cleaning up the trim), we started using a lawn care service that performs routine seasonal maintenance, which has really helped the grass and hopefully made the mole go away. We also finally finished (for now) the front landscaping.

This has been a project we tackled little by little. We moved into this house in the fall of 2018 and the landscaping was not a priority. We have a certain style and prefer a particular kind of landscaping using particular materials and plants. But we did not want to tear everything out, haul it all away, and build it all back. We also did not want to pay for a landscaping company to do it. So I took my mother’s and grandmother’s advice; I lived with it for a while and saw what grew well and decide what I liked.

I came to realize that I prefer partial sun/shade plants like hydrangeas, hostas, and agapanthus (in hot climates they perform best in partial sun). But the front of my house gets afternoon sun so I had to find alternatives.


By the spring, things were blooming and dying. I knew I wanted to get rid of the crepe myrtle, monkey grass, azaleas, the front shrubs, and the knockout roses, but I felt guilty pulling up plants that were blooming. So I just planted a couple of agapanthus and moved on to indoor projects.


After a year and a half of watching things grow, digging up the plants that died, moving plants around, and adding a few lamb’s ears, an azalea (because there were already azaleas there), and a gardenia (because there were already gardenias there), we finally decided to work with the rocks on site and clean up the beds.


We lined the back of the beds with river rock and large rocks from the backyard. We restructured the flower bed’s walls and added a bed around the big tree on the right side of the yard. Every single rock was re-positioned. We moved a few plants around, added agapanthus, hostas, dianella, and finally added mulch.

Agapanthus were on the right side of the flower bed and also at the front on both sides of the walkway. But as the summer went on, the agapanthus made it known that they were not happy up front in direct sunlight. The hostas were on the shady (right) side of the yard with the agapanthus and eventually I added a few under the tree but they refused to grow.

FALL 2020

So the hostas were moved to the backyard and now they are growing and blooming. The four agapanthus up front were moved under the tree and to the shady side of the flower bed.

We planted two juniper trees and nine Japanese boxwoods. My hope is that by the time summer comes around again the roots are well established and Matt schedules the sprinkler system to run regularly. I am not crazy about the sides of the flower beds. I like the Japanese maple but the rest of the plants are originals that have not died so for now, they will be staying.


Check out this before and after. Also, check out the disappearing palm tree (those were removed spring of 2019).


Fall Kitchen

I did a little decorating in the kitchen. While shopping online, I picked up some little salt and pepper shakers and a pumpkin trivet. I found these cute towels from Williams Sonoma.

I found the soup tureens at Kohls as a part of a fall vignette plan. I bought a tray and repurposed a pumpkin sign I got last year. But it did not go as planned. So I abandoned the plan and kept it simple.

I continued the dining room theme of oranges and eucalyptus picks to the kitchen. I had a couple of mercury glass pumpkins left over so I put them, eucalyptus, pumpkins, and oranges in the display cabinet in the kitchen.

Nothing too exciting. I like keeping all of my counters pretty clear so I do not have to move anything out of the way when I want to cook or I bring out any small appliances from my pantry. Once I purchase a new kitchen table and chairs, I will have more to decorate in the kitchen.

We have done a lot of updating to the kitchen. We removed the curtain rods, replaced the blinds and vents, changed out all the knobs and doorstops, painted the island, replaced can light rings and bulbs, replaced the faucet and soap dispenser, replaced the light over the table, replaced all the light switches, plates, and plugs, replaced the glass cabinet lights and lights above the cabinets, replaced the hardwood floor transition strips, painted the backdoor, trim, and baseboards and replaced the door hinges.

I still have some painting to do but I hate painting so it is fine for now.

Fall Dining Room

For the record, I am (obviously) not experienced in decorating dining rooms or creating tablescapes. If this blog serves any purpose at all, it is at least a good example of someone who tries to work with and make the best of what they have (without spending much money).

Last year was the first time I attempted to decorate for fall. I did not have any fall decorations-not even one pumpkin. Starting completely from scratch was exciting. However, after multiple trips to Hobby Lobby and an order from Joann Fabrics, I realized that no combination of the items I had collected were creating the tablescape I had envisioned.

FALL 2019

Rather than your typical orange and red, I started with an idea to create a fall wreath, centerpiece and tablescape using non-traditional fall colors: navy, mauve, white, and burgundy. I decided eucalyptus would also be an interesting choice (I’m sure Pinterest had something to do with that). My wreath turned out fine. I’m going to use it again this year but the tablescape was less than impressive. I broke apart the first centerpiece and made a floral arrangement for my foyer table and half bathroom. I thought more white pumpkins would do the trick but then I had no height; just a pile of pumpkins on the table.

“Well, I guess I just did not add enough white pumpkins. I’ll add some more white pumpkins.” Nope. I decided to remove all the greenery and white pumpkins from the dining room table, and use all my silver candlesticks, mercury glass votives, and break down the two floral arrangements I made from the first and remake a centerpiece in a silver footed bowl. 

Joann Fabric had a 70% off sale and I purchased eight mercury glass pumpkins, one for each place setting. I stacked all the small white pumpkins on a silver stand on the foyer table and called it a day. I was not thrilled with my final product but at that point Christmas decorating was right around the corner so I just walked away and left the table as is.

FALL 2020

Unlike last year, decorating for fall was not a new idea, so I planned ahead. During the past few months I have been purchasing fall and Christmas decor from the 2019 season from stores like Pottery Barn, Ballard Designs, Williams Sonoma, and Macy’s.

This wreath from Ballard Designs is what inspired the citrus theme. Technically, this is winter decor but orange season begins in November so I am calling it fall decor (it was a really good sale).

I purchased oranges and eucalyptus picks from Hobby Lobby to continue the theme of the wreath and stems to the table and china cabinet.

I think the first thing I purchased was the glass pumpkins. These are still available at Pottery Barn. I purchased seven pumpkins (one extra large, two large, two small, and two mini) for the price of one extra large pumpkin during a 70% off sale. I thought about using string lights inside the pumpkins but I had candles, so I used candles. Recently, Pottery Barn had another sale so I picked up two more mini sized pumpkins.

I found these plates at Macy’s for half price and they are still available. The napkins are from Pier 1, purchased during their going out of business sale.

I decided to put the mercury glass pumpkins I purchased last year in the china cabinet and on the foyer table. I used the two citrus stems that match the wreath on the foyer table.

I can happily say that this year, I am pretty satisfied with my fall tablescape. The white pumpkins are being utilized on the back patio. The floral stems in the centerpiece and arrangements from last year are the only things that I did not reuse. I tend to trade floral stems with my mom so I’ll probably just give them to her.