Ranch Dressing: Before & Afters of This Mid-Century Home
Thanks to to pop-up memories I see every morning on my phone, I understand it’s the 7 year anniversary of moving into our home.
I thought posting a few before & afters is a great way to celebrate it! We sure have come a long way.
Do my neighbors appreciate my style? For the most part, nope. Do I care? For the most part nope.
I love what I’m doing and I don’t plan on stopping. If they feel that passionately about their high-maintenance green-carpet lawns, red mulch and lightbulb-shaped trees and shrubs, then I hope them happiness. But at the end of the day, they are wrong and I’m right.
My objectives: after a billion years in landscaping practicing good taste and excellent customer service in other peoples’ yards, I want to do things my way. That means a TON of plants, a buffet for pollinators, few if any chemicals, letting things get wild and fuzzy, flying my freak flag and HAVING A TON OF FUN.
So here’s the house right after we moved in, my kickass sister-in-law came over and helped give a massive spring clean up. There were years of leaves EVERYWHERE. Sadly, under the leaves was a shitload of landscape timbers and red lava rock.
Check out that massive Yew! Most Chicago-area people hate Yews with a passion. This hate is so misguided but that’s another post for another day.
Ok, now (below) the Yew is gone, which is sad. Yews have a unique ability to be cut way, WAY back and come back all cute and fuzzy but this one was just TOO BIG to rehab and that is too important a spot.
So important that I put my compost bins there for a year. Then I realized that even though this made the most sense, I did not need to have my compost bins front and center. I currently have a Black Elderberry there but that’s not right either. Honestly it needs a sculpture. I’m working on it.
It’s like trying on bathing suits, I won’t stop until I get the right one, no matter how painful it is.
This (below) is the most current “after” in the lot. So, my whole look is based on The Polynesian Village Resort* at Walt Disney World. That’s normal and something I should want, right?
Please appreciate the tiki torch lamps I attempted. I think I’ll do those again this year.
I learned how to tie 10mm rope around globe lamps from IKEA to make them look like fishing floats. Again, that’s normal and something that’s normal to want. Right?
*There are no mannequins or bowling balls at The Polynesian so we just won’t mention them.
Backyard (below): I LOVED those Arborvitae BUT… the Trellis, which harbored a heinous Trumpet Vine left a huge dead spot in 2 of them and there are windows behind there, so they really darkened my house. I’m always sad to murder a perfectly good plant but they had to go.
Fuzzy and wild, below, this back garden is mostly black-foliaged and black-blooming plants.
This shot is from late autumn.
I don’t even see the mannequin anymore.
50 year-old globe arborvitae, below, and GUESS WHAT’S UNDER THEM?? Yes. landscape timbers and red lava rock.
Below: Prairie Dropseed, purple Shiso & Datura party in my front yard now.
Below: Good golly. Nowhere to go but up, right?
I can’t believe this landscaper (me!) chose a house without a patio. Which is good because I’ve taken my time to really figure out what kind of patio I want.
We still don’t have much of a patio, but we have a fabulous temporary patio that serves all our purposes, for now.
It’s a process and I love it. If I had a multi-billion dollar budget, I still wouldn’t get it all to “finished”. I enjoy the puttering, the new ideas, the sweat equity and the way I’m in a full partnership with Mother Nature on this. When I work slow, I can hear what the house wants (the house is WEIRD and wants WEIRD STUFF).
Our gardens grow with us and THAT is totally effing rad. I wouldn’t change it for anything.