The front garden is a work in progress, and will continue to be until such time as a large(ish) pot of money falls into our hands so that we can have it properly landscaped. The long-term plan is to have the front wall knocked down and rebuilt - there are some very large cracks and it is bowing out in some places where large tree stumps/roots have pushed against it. It's not at the stage where it's likely to fall over, but it's certainly unsightly. When it is rebuilt, we will have a larger driveway and some more hard-standing for cars. At the moment we can park three cars easily, four at a push; it's not that we need room for more (we have two cars and there's enough room for visitors) but a little reconfiguring wouldn't go amiss, and a wider entrance to the drive would be VERY handy. Neither of us has clipped the wall yet (or cars parked on the road opposite), but it would be very easy to do.
In the meantime we have been busy removing overgrown flower beds, large shrubs and hedges in order to get back to a very 'basic' garden so that when the time comes for us to properly re-landscape, there (hopefully) won't be too much that needs doing in terms of removal and prepping.
This is what the front garden looked like just when the building work was starting back in April 2012.
It then went through various stages of tidiness and overgrown-ness after we'd moved in in October 2012.
Until, finally, over the course of the past few months, everything has been removed.
And some grass seed put down.
Apart from doing something with the dreadful hedge on the boundary (it's our boundary but the hedge seems to be made up of a variety of different shrubs/trees with some roots in our garden and some in our neighbours', which makes it rather difficult to deal with, hence why we haven't bothered grassing all the way up to it yet), we're pretty much in our 'neutral' state. I'm sure lots of people would prefer the 'before' garden with the shrubs and flowers, but one of the problems we had was that some of the shrubs were very well established and had extremely large trunks and roots; there were also several VERY large stumps left behind from large trees which must have been felled when the house was built. These large old stumps and the ever-growing shrubs were putting a strain on the front wall, which is cracked in several places; if we'd left the shrubs and stumps in and rebuilt the wall, chances are the same thing would happen in the future. Hence going back to the drawing board.
Here's a view of the beds under the windows when we first viewed the house back in the summer of 2011.
A little light hacking to this bed after we'd moved in.
Followed by some more severe hacking.
And now it looks like this:
Hopefully the new grass will blend in, one day...
And maybe we'll even decide what to do with that lonesome shrub.
Whereas the bed on this side of the house has gone from this in 2011:
To this in 2012:
To this in 2013:
It looked much nicer in the height of summer.
And finally, the other part of the front garden has gone from this in late 2012:
And, now it looks like this (apologies for reflection on photo):
It's slow progress, but things are starting to look a lot tidier.
It's possible that further down the line, once the hard landscaping has been done (although there's no knowing when that might actually happen), we may re-introduce flowers and shrubs, but for now we're happy with our 'minimal' front garden. And it's certainly a lot easier to maintain.