One Room Challenge Spring 2022: Week One – The Before of Our Front Yard Glow Up!

Woohoo it’s time for the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge! Who’s excited?? This girl right here. Because this time around, I’ll be tackling a project that has been a literal thorn (prickly weeds I’m looking at you) in my side – our front yard. 

What is the One Room Challenge?

For those new to the One Room Challenge (aka ORC), here’s a quick rundown. Featured designers and guest participants (that’s me!) makeover a room or space in just eight weeks. The community is super fun, and it’s inspiring to see the creativity and hard work of participants shine. You can follow along with the participants here.

Front Yard Before

Ok, let’s *dig* into the front yard. Here’s a couple of listing photos from when we purchased our home in 2017:

I may be partial, but she’s a cutie little 1970s ranch! When we first moved in, we focused on the not-so-fun but important exterior stuff like:

  • Replacing rotten doors and windows
  • Grading the backyard
  • Replacing a retaining wall
  • Battling invasive plants (kudzu and bamboo and privet, oh my!)
  • Replacing the gutters

And lots of other little projects to get the house to a solid place.

Replacing the rotten timber retaining wall.
The original front door was rotten and needed to be replaced.
New front door looking fresh!

Painting the Exterior

Painting the house and installing new shutters was the next exterior upgrade that we tackled. This one was a lot more fun, but in retrospect, I wish I would have lived with the brick for longer before making such a permanent decision.

Freshly painted brick, front door, and shutters.

Story time: I have a touch of color regret. At the time, I really wanted either a crisp white house with black trim or a dark blue house with white trim (revolutionary for the time, I know). I picked out a bunch of paint colors, sampled them on the front of the house, and chose my winner the week before we were scheduled to paint. I felt confident!

Give me allllll the samples.

But when I visited the house the evening after the first coat of paint went on, I started to get concerned. I had chosen a bright white, and the house seemed to glow in the dark. The color was so, so bright. The next day, it looked even worse in the sunlight. You could practically blind yourself looking at it. Talk about a nightmare – and the painters were coming back the next day to paint another coat! 

Don’t stare at the sun, or my house. One coat of my first paint color selection.

My mom and I rushed to Home Depot for even more paint samples. While we were waiting at the paint counter, my mom overheard another woman talking about the lovely gray color that she had just painted her house. My mom, who has never met a stranger, asked the woman for the name of the paint color. We bought a sample and fully committed that night. And that’s how my house came to be painted Gentle Rain.

This photo was taken partially through the second coat. Gentle Rain on the left, bright white on the right.
You can really see the difference here. Gentle Rain on the bottom, bright white on top.

While I do like Gentle Rain (it is a thousand times better than the first color I picked!), I would choose a warmer, more traditional taupe or green color if given a do-over. That would help the house blend in more with our neighborhood, and the color palette would not be dated to exactly 2017 decades from now. I’d also choose a different type of paint for more longevity on the brick since we have some paint bubbling up now at the five year mark. Lots of lessons learned!

Garden Bed Struggles

After painting, the front of our house has been mostly unchanged. The house is west-facing in Georgia (zone 7b), so the front yard gets scorching afternoon sun. I’ve tried planting all kinds of things over the years in the front garden bed, but most of the plants haven’t survived due to some combination of my negligence, poor location choice, and compacted soil. 

Currently, I’m down to one straggly gardenia, one weeping Norway spruce, and a bunch of weeds. The spruce was pretty cute and tiny at first, but now it has grown big enough that it actually resembles a human form. I’ve been scared on occasion on windy nights because it jumps out at you ha. It’s also a bit strange all by its lonesome in a giant garden bed.

What’s Next?

So that’s the before – but where are we headed? I’ve got lots of big dreams and ideas for the front yard and porch, and I’d love it if you came back next week to learn all about my plans! We’ll be talking about native plant selection, soil testing, cute southern porches, and more. See you then!

If you’d like to see more behind the scenes, join me on Instagram. You can also subscribe to the blog to receive email updates on the ORC and beyond.

Want even more design goodness? You can spread some love to the Spring 2022 ORC featured designers and fellow guest designers here.

  1. […] I’m transforming our front yard and porch from desolate to ~*dreamy*~. Last week, I shared the before photos of the space, and today, we’re going over my goals, plan, and budget for the […]

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