Sunday, April 6, 2014

Home Transformation

We have done a lot to our home since we moved in. As we've just finished another outside transformation (installing sunscreens that will substantially cool our home), I thought it would be fun to show how we've changed it to make it more desert friendly (and more pretty). With everything blooming, it's a great time to show off the outside of our home :)

Here it is when we bought it - green lawn, three junipers in the front, roses in the poorly installed planter. The only thing we kept was the morning glory. 

This was right after we pulled the plug and got rid of the grass for more desert friendly gravel and desert landscaping. I was so worried about pulling the trigger on this, but it was a fantastic decision. 

And here is our home today! Our tree has been growing like crazy, as have the lantanas and agaves. You can also see the sunscreens on all the front windows. It makes them look darker, but we like it, and the difference in temperature inside is huge! We can't wait to feel the difference this summer (and actually use the front rooms that were basically unusable 4 months of the year during the worst heat).

Here's a close up of the front right after we relandscaped. It's amazing how small all of our plants were. The white pole is our tree, before it had any leaves. Definitely looked very monochromatic. 

Now we have so much lovely color out here! I cannot believe how much our agave has grown, and the purple lantana gives some great color (though it doesn't seem quite as showy in the picture). The planter box has really taken off as well! It's lovely having more desert friendly plants in there. 

We have a mix of annuals (snapdragons and petunias) as well as brittle bush, a few cacti, some lavender, and some other things that I don't even know the name of. We love it!

The back of the house has also transformed plenty. 

This is the space outside of our breakfast nook. I don't have an original picture, but it was full of a green leafy, viney kind of plant that completely died the first summer we were there. 

This is what it looked like after we planted (with our brick border that was coming apart)

Now we have beautiful lavender and lantana growing (though we are still having issues with the lavender in the further spot). So fun to be having breakfast and see the lavender peaking up through the window. 

Our very sad space behind the pool after the frost. We didn't have a lot going on in the planters to begin with, and the frost killed about half of it. The ficuses also looked horrible. 

Now, it's beautiful! We have so much blooming back there, with a ton of colors. The snap dragons are even more plentiful than when we took this picture. The ficuses have also thankfully grown back :). Ed also repainted all of the planter boxes a few weeks ago to freshen them up. 

This is what the strip between grass and pool looked like when we moved in. The planter was so in the way, as it cut off a walkway from the patio area to the pool area, and the pond, while fun, leaked. 

This is what it looked like when we first redid it. After that first effort, we realized that the pond was more trouble than it was worth, and made the great decision to ditch the pond and redo the lawn border while we were at it. 

Now, it's a beautiful space! (It helps that we did reseed our grass this year, meaning that we had pretty green grass all summer, instead of dormant, yellow bermuda)

We are so thankful that we decided to go through with getting rid of the pond and making this whole area a ground level planter. It fits so much better with the space. 

We still have a few things on our list that we'd like to do for our outdoor space. Our next "big" project is to dress up the space to the right of the pool. Right now it's a sad little collection of pavers that we have our fire pit on, but we are envisioning making it more of a fire pit "room" with some special light gravel,  a border, some landscaping with agaves, nice seating, and maybe even one of the succulent frames that I've seen on pinterest. Our pool fence goes up this week, which is also exciting. 

While it's been a lot of work, we've really enjoyed being homeowners and adding some more beauty to the place we live. 

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