Giving Our Landscaping the Lumberjack Treatment


Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Here’s a picture from when we first took a tour of our house, August 2009. WOW. 3 years ago?! This is why our blog is called white house black shutters (even though our house is not white). We had old, dirty white siding that I thought we’d freshen up with new white paint, and I envisioned adding black shutters. The bushes and landscaping were outdated, but not too shabby.

Here’s the house after we replaced the siding and windows, no shutters just yet!

You can see more pictures on our super outdated exterior house tour that I’m not even sure I want to link here, haha. The below picture is the after. :) It’s on my to-do list guys. Anywhoooooo…


Fast forward three years. We added two more kids to the family, did a whole bunch of work in the house and in the backyard, but totally neglected the front.

This picture actually makes me laugh out loud really hard, because uhhhh… those bushes look awful!


You can’t even tell that our house HAS a front because they’re so overgrown!


Hey ho, these bushes have to go!



It already looked nicer. You couldn’t see that front window before, and now our house wasn’t so flat.

But umm, this is a problem:

IMG_7931 IMG_7935

Inspired by an episode of “Ask This Old House”, Doug finished the job. Chopped em all down. See ya!


The next weekend, we added free wood chips from the city. It took Doug an hour of loading, hour of unloading, hour of cleaning the van out, and the rest of the weekend saying “oh, my back!” It looks great.

I was wondering if we should have kept em, until I talked to our next-door neighbor (who refers to us as “the people who do stuff” because we’ve done so much to the house, haha). He asked me about it, and said it looked 100 times better. Maybe we’ll get bushes in this fall from some of these end-of-the-season clearance sales?

But for now, this is better. You can actually see the house and the door instead of the monster bushes.



A planter with a big ole mum would look awesome next to the door! Which needs to be painted… and the area swept… and maybe a wreath would look cute… okay I’m stopping myself now!


You can see the front!


That stump will get taken down, but the chainsaw decided it was tired and needed a break. ;)



So what do ya think? I’d love any tips or recommendations on bushes or plants that you love, or anything you’d think would look good in that space.

Have you done your landscaping yourselves? Cut down over grown plants?


  1. Renee says

    It looks amazing! So clean and neat, yay you! We did some landscaping 2 yrs ago when we bought out house. I would highly suggest magic carpet spirea. They’re bushes and the magic carpet kind have flowers in the spring and turn all beautiful with oranges, yellows and reds in the fall. They’re bare during the winter, but they are soooooo easy to keep (seriously, we’re in one of those extreme drought areas of the country, watered them minimally this summer (during the 100+ degree days…all 19 of them) and they’re still looking great!) and they’re made for sunny areas. We also have rosy glow barberry bushes. They can get large, but you just trim them back every year and they’re fine. They look *gorgeous* in full sun. The parts that get sun change colors (the leaves go from green to red. Our’s doesn’t get full sun, so they are a green/red marbled color). Yes, they too loose their leaves in the winter. However, they and the spirea look so great the rest of the year (and are SUPER easy to keep alive!), it was totally worth our money.

    Good luck choosing plants!

  2. says

    Looks so great! I love the before and after of the front door – it makes such a difference. I need to do this in our yard, too – it’s getting out of control. You’ve inspired me! Great job!

  3. says

    We have day lillies lining our walkway, which is awesome. They get bigger and bigger every year. We love them and I think they look really nice. Super easy to take care of. And I kill everything. They flower all summer, which is perfect. Then you just cut them back (literally, I use a scissors) before the snow. And the next year, they are twice as big. Awesome.

  4. Jess B says

    Definitely been there before! When I was a teen, my mom and I decided to rip out all the bushes in front of the house. It was so much work. We ended up planting burning bushes (they have big ones and smaller ones). They turn flaming red and get red berries in fall. We also planted hydrangeas because they are easy and are GREAT to pick and use inside (even dried). A few years later, I added azaleas because their colors are so beautiful. You can usually find a bargain on them this time of year. GL. Can’t wait to see this project come along :)

  5. says

    It looks great! I’ve been toying with the idea of doing that same to our overgrown bushes! I also would have no idea what to put in instead though! :)

  6. lori says

    Looks so much better! : ) I think some rhododendron, boxwoods, and barberry bushes would look great. The boxwoods keep their leaves in winter, which look pretty. And the rhododendron are pretty low-maintenance. Your house would also look great with a small tree in one of the corners–maybe a chinese dogwood? The white blooms are gorgeous in the spring! Sprinkle a few hostas here and there and you’ll be set!

  7. says

    I know just how you feel! We spent the first 4 months of owning our home just trying to make the outside look like it wasn’t abandoned. Though landscaping is an ongoing process, my favorite new cheap-but-fast-growing plant is purple fountain grass. Since we live in Texas, we have trouble finding things that tolerate heat and full sun, but this stuff does great. Check to see if it will thrive where you are. Also, this weekend I purchased an asparagus fern on clearance at Lowe’s(in a hanging basket) and put it in a pot on the porch. It gives nice green color year round and produces red berries in the winter. Supposedly, it also does well in the ground too… Can’t wait to see what you do next!


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