My Cinderella Yard Make Over...From Ugly to Wonderful

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Like many, I don't have disposable cash but my front yard needed a make over. Desperately. In order to accomplish this, I sold some items that I no longer needed that totaled $420. Bingo, game on yard! I live in So Cal but I am a country girl. Drought tolerant is a must here these days but as I found out you can have your cake & eat it too. I visited Kentucky a few years ago and fell in love with the black barns and green grass. That was my template with a side of Ca. I wanted pretty, serene, low to no maintenance & low budget. I achieved my quest. I spent $422 on this project.
Time: 8 HoursCost: $422Difficulty: Easy
  • my cinderella yard make over from ugly to wonderful
My initial intentions were to throw some seed down and call it a day. However, I love unique and wanted better. I bought the old fire pit from a neighbor for $5.00. I knew some day it would have a purpose. The lower portion of my yard is black bark with cactus and other drought tolerant plants. Then a patch of grass I planted a few months ago when I intended on the rest of the yard being grass. Luckily, girls change their minds and often for the better.
  • my cinderella yard make over from ugly to wonderful
The "river" was put in previously from rock that my neighbor was throwing away and I happily gave a new home to and the black bark was on sale at Lowes 5 bags for $10. It goes on sale every holiday. Well worth the wait.
  • my cinderella yard make over from ugly to wonderful
I purchased 30 bags of small pebble river rock instead of DG. I didn't want my yard to be one big litter box for neighborhood cats. I spent a little extra by putting down weed barrier fabric after spraying the ground with weed killer.  
  • my cinderella yard make over from ugly to wonderful
My son & my boyfriend were ever so kind to help fulfill my fantasy.  The manufacturer recommends a 2 inch layer of pebbles however, for cost sake, we did just a little over an inch and it still worked fine.
( It was a hot day and ice cold beer helped)
  • my cinderella yard make over from ugly to wonderful
Laying the rock took about 3 hours to do. The cost for the pebbles was 30 bags @ $5.00 per bag, $150.  The fabric barrier was $50.
  • my cinderella yard make over from ugly to wonderful
Here is what became of the old fire pit I purchased for $5.00. It now is home to a tiny cactus & succulent garden. I did spray paint the legs a hammered cooper color that I happen to already have. Total cost was $50.
  • my cinderella yard make over from ugly to wonderful
I like things to be or appear natural so instead of a plastic or brick border I decided a natural border would be lovely. I bought a flat of blue fescue ornamental grass to be the border. When matured they will be about 6-8" wide and 5" tall. They were planted 9 " apart and staggered. One mature plant sells for $7. I got a flat that has almost 50 plants for $20. I planted the rest as a border to the river area.  
  • my cinderella yard make over from ugly to wonderful
The last phase of this transformation were plants, stepping stones and lighting. I planted 4 barrel cactus and 2 other succulents. I added 8 stepping stones and again my neighbor donated a few large rocks he was removing from his yard. The plants were a little costly at $102 but they are low to no maintenance and water so the cost up front was ok with me since there wont be any costs to maintain in the future.  
  • my cinderella yard make over from ugly to wonderful
Here is night picture. The lighting is solar and was $50. I am so very pleased with how this project turned out. The area between the rock garden and the black bark are the end of the yard will be filled in with a ground cover called Creeping Jenny. It is a bright green that has yellow flowers in the fall. That will be done next weekend.
All in all I am extremely happy with how this turned out. I don't like normal so my Kentuckyfied/SoCal yard fits me.  I spent only $2 out of pocket after selling items that I would no longer use. I'm a happy girl.