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

by Tiffany
7 Materials
8 Hours

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.

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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.

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.

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 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)

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

Resources for this project:
"Elijah Blue" Fescue, Festuca glauca, Ornamental Grass - LIVE POTTED
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  • Pat Pat on Jul 08, 2019

    Very nice. From experience, you will probably want to keep the Creeping Jenny slightly under control or it will take over. There's a good reason for it's name CREEPING Jenny. 😋

  • Pam Davis Pam Davis on Jul 08, 2019

    We tried this several times over the years. It looks pretty at first but those pesky weeds came right through the plastic no matter what we used. Why were weeds created anyway? LoL Good Luck! It looks nice now :)

  • Tammy Tammy on Jul 16, 2019

    How to cover a mirrored wall

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