A Landscaping “To-Do” List and a Surprise “Before and After”

I’ve been putting off a major landscape renovation for several years. I knew it would have to start with some serious tree removal and the process would be expensive and emotionally taxing. I hate cutting down trees but there is no shortage of trees in my yard, my neighborhood or this area. If anything, as I drive around my area I see so many houses in the same situation mine was in–buried behind and under the trees.

Tree Paralysis is an insidious disease. Have you heard of it? It creeps slowly upon you year after year. It wasn’t until I broke free and made some much needed changes that I realized just how much the trees were controlling everything. Not only do they control the decisions you make about your landscape and your gardens, they control the light and the feel of your home inside.

I love all the light I have coming in now. It sort of feels like I have a new house! It is so nice to step out the front door and not be immediately overwhelmed with thousands upon thousands of baby oak trees growing everywhere. It’s so wonderful to walk across the grass and not have my feet slipping and rolling atop billions of acorns and huge roots stretching out across the lawn.

Zeon Sod in Front Yard_wm


The Major “To-Do” List:

There still remains soooo much to be done. Some things on my “To-Do” List really need to be done right away, while others are projects for fall and beyond. Today’s post is as much for me as it is for you because it’s forcing me to put down in writing all the things that still need to be done.

I’ve organized it all by areas. It’s all a bit overwhelming and I’m guessing it will take at least a year, maybe two to get it all done. And you know what? That’s okay. It’s okay if it takes a while.

Let’s start here in the front. The area to the left of the front door needs to be completely redone. If I can find the right spot, I’m going to move the “Waterfall” Japanese Maple to another area of my yard. If I can’t find a great spot, I may just create a Craig’s List ad and offer it to anyone who is willing to come dig it up. It’s a beautiful tree and I’d love to keep it, but the challenge will be in finding the right spot for it.

Foundation Plants for a Traditional House_wm


I don’t have a landscape plan yet for that area but it will involve removing the deciduous shrubs in front of the magnolia and planting back a variety of evergreen shrubs and/or shrubs with interesting colors/textures, maybe even some flowering shrubs. I imagine they’ll be some flowers, too. Fall is the perfect time for planting so I would like to get all that done this fall.

Future Foundation Plantings


Across the walkway is a small area where I used to have an annual bed. I’m thinking of planting lots of pretty perennials, leaving enough space to mix in a few annuals each year, too. I’ve been buying a few things already, just to see what would look good there.

Small Flower Bed


As you continue up the walkway, you come to the large Southern Magnolia, Grandiflora. You can see it in this picture below on the left. I didn’t plant the magnolia in this location, not sure who did since this variety gets absolutely HUGE. Maybe they thought it was one of the smaller magnolias. I love it and don’t ever want to cut it down, but it can be a challenge keeping it from taking over the walkway and the driveway. It took over the home’s original walkway long ago, that’s when I added the brick walkway. It can’t have the brick walkway, too so I prune on it a little each year to keep it in check.

Front Yard Sodded with Zeon Zoysia


On the to-do list is having it professionally pruned, as well as cleaning years and years of leaves out from under it. One of the nice things about not cutting off the lower limbs of a magnolia is the limbs do a pretty good job of hiding the leaves that fall during the year. It’s been many years since that area underneath was cleaned out, so it’s time.

Vinca in the Garden


I’m hoping whoever I bring in to do the pruning (an arborist?) can also help me figure out what to do about all these baby magnolia branches that keep growing up from the lower limbs. The lower limbs have sort of rooted themselves into the ground and now baby magnolias limbs/trees keep growing up from the limbs. I had them all cut off just a few weeks ago and look how fast they are coming back!

Magnolia Shoots


Moving along on the “to do” list, note the area on the far right of the house. I’d like to put a slender, tallish tree there, something to balance the magnolia, but will not cover the windows that are now finally visible and open again.

Zeon Sod in Front Yard_wm


It would be wonderful if it had an upright-growing pattern and produced berries for the birds or for decorating at Christmas. I know I don’t want an Italian Cypress. I’m just not crazy about how those look and the ones I see growing around here almost never look healthy. Whatever goes back there will conveniently hide the AC units from being so visible to the road.  Also, need shrubs for this side.

Tall Tree for Corner


On the other side of the driveway, I have a big perennial bed that needs to be fully reworked.

Perennial Garden


As you can see in this photo from when the sod was being installed, this whole end is empty now. It will be a lot of work to dig it all out and replant it. I think I may enlist some help with all the digging. It will be fun redesigning it all over again.

Sodding around a Perennial Flower Bed 1


There’s another small island on the other end of the yard–not sure what will be happening here. It’s pretty far down the “To-DO” list.

Small Island


There are so many things that could be done in this side yard. For right now I’d like to add back something along the lot line to give a little privacy to that area. Definitely don’t want anything too tall that will kill out the grass again, though.

Side Garden


The small perennial bed in front of the fence needs to be extended out to the  right where the fence parts will eventually come together again. Would love a pretty gate with an arched arbor above like these: Garden Gates. Would be so pretty with a climbing rose!

Extend Garden in Future



Need to have the wooded area cleaned out of ivy and dead limbs, etc…

Backyard with Zeon Sod (2)


Would love to create a brick or paved patio here under the porch and decks. (Way down the list.) Look at all that Georgia red clay! It will dye your clothes and your kids if they play in it long enough. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Under Deck Area


One of the very first things I’ll be doing next is adding a couple of fast-growing trees back to this area in front of the fence.  When the Leland Cypress had to come down, I lost my privacy on that end of the screened porch. Remember how I mentioned I needed to buy more mulch for that area.

Future Trees


That was done this past weekend. That brings my mulch spreading total to 110 bags!  Once the trees are in place, the fence sections will be reinstalled..

Extend Garden in Future


So what do you think? Are you exhausted just hearing about all this? The trees here in the backyard and on the corner of the house are first on the “To-Do” list, followed by the foundation planting in front of the house.

Just for Fun:

A few days ago I posted this beautiful entrance with an amazing Benjamin Moore “Peacock Blue” door.

Door Painted in Benjamin Moore Peacock Blue


I had just had my door freshened up with a new coat of Benjamin Moore, Heritage Red. In that post I mentioned if I ever went with a different color other than my favorite red, the Peacock Blue would be a leading contender.

Front Yard Sodded with Zeon Zoysia


Adam who blogs at J. Thaddeus Ozark’s & Other Larks has some mad Photoshop skills and shared this picture. Looks great with the brick doesn’t it?

Which do you think you like best: Heritage Red or Peacock Blue?

Painting a door Benjamin Moore Peacock Blue


Let’s check out a close up.  This is how it looks now painted in Benjamin Moore, Heritage Red.

Red Door Painted Benjamin Moore Heritage Red


And here’s kind of how it would look in Peacock Blue.  Whatcha think?  Leave me a comment and let me know which you like best: Heritage Red or Peacock Blue?  Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for all my landscaping plans. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed so would love to hear your ideas.

Benjamin Moore Peacock Blue

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  1. The red is lovely, but the peacock blue is swoon worthy!!!

  2. I love seeing the outside of your home and all the changes you’ve done and have on deck for the future!

    How about some hydrangeas somewhere? They are shade lovers, but I don’t know if they grow down there in the heat. Azalea are nice flowering shrubs too. Up here they get HUGE and make such a gorgeous splash in the Spring!!!

    The idea of an arched gate is lovely and something I have in mind for my own side yard here on Lavender Hill… so romantic looking!

    The red door is very nice, but I go for more of the unexpected, so I’ll vote for the teal! Of course, I live in a Lavender House ๐Ÿ˜€ so take it from where it comes!


    • Thanks, Gena! I def want to work some hydrangeas into the picture…love those! I wonder if I could put some under the oak tree on the left. I know they die back and go away come winter so need to think about where they should go. I love those so thanks for the suggestion. Def going on the list of plants to include!

      • You’re right, they are nothing more than ugly wood for the winter, but come spring the green leaves start back on the wood and before you know it you have huge blooms ALL summer! I think they’d be fine either in the back or side yard where you can enjoy their spectacular blossoms from the house.


  3. I think that the peacock blue would be a nice change~

  4. Oh you trickster ๐Ÿ˜‰ I saw the fb post and my eye went straight to that non-red door! I was like… OH, she painted over the red. lol. Well, either is gorgeous. Keep your red for the upcoming holidays, then go Peacock next Spring ๐Ÿ™‚ Or not, whatever you decide, your home is stunning.

    • Sorry about that. ๐Ÿ™‚ Wouldn’t it be nice if we had multiple door stored in our basement and we could just pull out a different one for each season? lol

      • I think you are on to something there…but just two doors. Red one for fall/winter and the peacock blue one for spring/summer. You just may start a new trend!
        Also think the maple looks good where it is. It is low in front of the windows, and shape follows the brick curve. What am I missing?

        • Mia, I LOVE that idea! If they were identical, you could just slide the pins out and change doors. ๐Ÿ™‚ The neighbors would be scratching their heads wondering if I’m seriously repainting the door twice a year. lol Well, about the maple…I don’t like that it’s covering part of the windows. I prefer foundation plants be just at the bottom part of the window. Plus, it’s growing a little bigger each year. It was so small when I planted it 15+ years ago, I actually had shrubs behind it back then. It shaded them out though.

  5. Susan,
    You do have a long and HUGE “To Do” List for your lawn, dear friend!!!
    I adore all your ideas and can see where you are headed.
    Great minds. . .where the fence parts come together.. .I was thinking arbor!!!
    One of my blog friends, Laurie @ Heaven’s Walk has been doing much of the same!
    I couldn’t find the exact post I was searching for to share with you,
    but I am sending you a link to her Garden Gate!
    Keep those updates coming, dear one!!!

    • Pat, I almost missed you wonderful comment. My dumb spam filter stuck it into the spam file just because it had a link in it. Thankfully I saw it before I deleted the spam comments. Makes me wonder how often it does that and I delete comments without realizing it.
      That list is exhausting isn’t it! I love arbors! Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll check out Laurie’s gate!
      Thanks, Pat!

  6. Susan, Mojoยฎ Pittosporum is a great evergreen shrub that would look beautiful at the front of the house. Several hydrangea are sun and heat tolerant and would give you some beautiful color in the front~ here is a list and some information http://irvingparkgardenclub.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/choosing-the-right-hydrangeas-for-your-garden/ Happy Gardening ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Lois from PA says

    Ohhhh, I think the traditional girl in me has to go for the red! the blue is a beautiful shade but I think on a cottage or coastal house it would be awesome but a colonial? I vote for the red!
    as for plantings, how about flowering trees? dogwoods, crab apple, etc. This way you get both beauty and foliage….
    What ever you do I have no doubt it will be beautiful!

    Happy planting!

  8. Hi, Susan!
    I love the red door but if you are tired of it, what about a black door?
    Your exterior shutters are also black…?
    Personally, I would opt for that peacock blue if my home was near to the beach, only…
    Does this sound crazy to you? ๐Ÿ™‚
    (Sorry, Susan, I am always sincere but I swear, I never criticize… plus, I’m pretty sure I’ll invariably love whatever you do! ๐Ÿ™‚ )
    ~Hugs to you~

  9. Oh Susan, I love the red door on your gorgeous traditional house.
    We have several large magnolias and one is right in front just as yours is. We didn’t want all those lower limbs hiding the side of the house so we “limbed up” the magnolia about 4 feet and it looks amazing and takes care of all those little ones sprouting up. It is a messy tree, so as the leaves fall we have them blown around the base which keeps the yard very tidy. Can’t wait to see what you choose for the door!

    • I’ve always tried to avoid limbing it up since it helps hide the leaves but I do not know what to do about those shoots coming up all the time. Thanks, Cindy for your input!

  10. Your yard is so beautiful! It is hard to believe all the trees you had before and how open the area is now! What a difference. I would love to see a before picture with all the trees and the after, being the photo above, to really see how much has been transformed – that is if you can and have time to do it. Your house is truly lovely! As for the color of the door, I have always loved the red family, but, I have to say that Peacock color is gorgeous!
    Thanks again, Susan for taking us on your landscaping journey!

    Pat F.
    Las Vegas

  11. Susan, you always have me amazed at the different projects you tackle and finish! I have a problem with the vision of the finished when I start one. Your landscaping is looking so nice and looks like so much fun in the future. Our homes are so similar in design..wish you were here to give me some of your great idea’s. I can’t decide on the door colors, I love the red for holidays but, the Peacock blue would be a striking and fun color also.
    Have Fun,

  12. Wow.

    That is overwhelming, if your to-do’s are done in phases, it makes it managable.

    Love the peacock blue!!! Would look lovely with contrasting daffodils in th springtime.

  13. Hi, Susan……Well, my husband says “It’s HER house, she can do whatever she wants”!!! I really love that blue color, but on your house, I really prefer the red…..please don’t be mad at me, but it just makes it ‘pop’ with the red. I think the blue worked on the sample house because the brick was painted white & there was such a difference between the two colors, it looked good. You DID ask us what we thought!!! Either way, if YOU like it, that’s all that counts!

  14. BLUE!! Change it up!! ๐Ÿ™‚ franki

  15. Love the blue. I have a red brick house too and first had black door, then white and took a plunge this summer and painted it a purplish gray and love it!

  16. Mary from Virginia says

    I like Vikki’s list and the Lois from PA that mentioned flowering trees. I know what ever you select, I will love it since I love everything you do ๐Ÿ™‚

    As much as I love the red door, I vote for the updated look of the Peacock Blue. ๐Ÿ˜€

  17. Speaking as one who also has a red door, I think the red is fabulous! ๐Ÿ™‚ The peacock blue is a beautiful color, but it really needs to fit the color of the home it accents. Your brick deserves the red door you have!

  18. Cathy Johnson says

    I really do love the blue but seeing them both on your lovely home I have to say I prefer the red!

  19. I vote for the red, and by the way Susan, you have a lovely house. Despite your feeling overwhelmed with the landscape, It think your garden looks great! (Sigh, I wish I could say the same for mine.)

  20. Hi Susan- have you considered painting your exterior shutters AND the front door peacock blue? Would really be striking!

  21. Oh how pretty everything is coming along! I vote Blue!

  22. The Peacock blue is beautiful but for your house, with all the brick, I like the red…I think the blue looks better with the white faรงade.
    I enjoy seeing what all you’re doing in your yard..
    I had to smile at your post of yesterday…all the ‘annuals’ you temporarily planted to fill your yard with color are perennials here and need to be chopped and/or divided here…My vincas have been blooming for 2 entire years and they keep reseeding and filling in.
    By the way, colorful coleus will add lots of color and might survive the winter there.

    • Unfortunately, begonias don’t survive our winter. Most lantanas don’t although there are a few that do. Vincas don’t either. Sometimes they will seed themselves, as will impatiens and you get a few volunteers the following spring. I don’t think Coleus survive either, but mums often do. I’m a little rusty on my gardening memory since I haven’t been doing very much the last few years. Thanks, Sonia!

  23. Susan – It is amazing once we overcome our paranoia how beautifully lightened up the landscape can become. Yours is looking terrific. Once the magnolia is pruned you will be so happy. My vote would be for the red door because I think the red (at least in the pictures) actually pops more than the peacock. Have you considered continuing the existing fence around the air conditioning unit and then plan the to add to the landscape? My last two cents worth is to suggest you look at an “Autumn Brilliance” Serviceberry for the area on the left side of the house. It is not a dense growth tree, gets about 20-25 feet at maturity and has the most beautiful fall foliage. I don’t know whether this is readily available at your nurseries but it will grow in your zone. You should have fun playing with all of the suggestions. Looking forward to your decisions.

    • Thanks, Iris! Love the idea of fencing around the units but I don’t think there’s enough space there without blocking the windows in the basement/terrace level. I do like keeping those open for the light. I’ve heard of Serviceberry and read good things about it…thanks for the suggestion. I know the birds love it, right? I’m not sure how wide it gets…will add that to my list of plants to research. Thanks!

  24. Red Door!!!!!

  25. I vote for red, but then again I have a thing for red doors! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  26. Amazing the changes! What a busy girl you’ve been, your majesty! (As one should address the Queen of Mulch.) But, please don’t change the door! The peacock blue color is wonderful for a party dress, but red, particularly THAT red, is such a wonderful classic! If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Laurel in Stockbridge

  27. Peggy Thal says

    You sure make me tired! Wow lots of big plans. Looks so great. – I have my Magnolia trimmed a few times a year to keep it under control. You might have to clean the bottem , just shape it and top it a little. Ours seems easy to do. I have a circle window above the tree and need to make sure tree is below window. The more you cut the faster it grows! – I vote for the classic red door. The other color is pretty but I would get tired of it. Too me it looks a little like a sore thumb on your traditional home.

    • Peggy, you’re right! Over the years the top has been broken out of the magnolia twice due to ice storms. Each time I think it sees that as a signal to get bigger and fatter!

  28. Marilyn (Ohio) says

    Oh, the blue!! Looks striking…..

  29. My choice is red. But it’s your house and you should go with what you like.
    My back hurts just reading your list of to-do’s. The house will look gorgeous when you get the magnolia tree pruned, as it hides the corner of your beautiful home.

    • HA! I actually realized I’ve left a few things off the list! Maybe I should just move, that would be easier. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I do wish that corner was more visible…good point about the pruning!

  30. Love all the changes…don’t make to many high maintenance flower beds for you to have to keep up (I am in a low maintenance mode it seems…once you prune the magnolia properly those leaves will drive you nuts..we have one next door on the property line and unfortunately it drops all the leaves and it is such a job to keep them up…Your house is lovely with the red door , it goes with the brick beautifully…that area to the left of the front door would look lovely with some sort of seating area, something you leave out and requires no care…sometimes you can have a landscape architect do some drawings for you, pretty inexpensive and you can just have the changes done in phases when ever or if ever you want….You should think about resting a little too…lol..Phyllis

    • That’s one bad thing about a magnolia, the leaves just don’t break down and go away for ages! If I limb it up slightly, at least I could blow them out on occasion. It’s hard to get under there right now. I do have a bench over there but it’s hidden by the tree. Maybe I should paint it. It’s teak so it’s kind of maintenance free. Resting sounds pretty good about right now. ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Hello Susan,
    Keep the red! I like the blue ok, but the red is a knock out. I love your home and you have done an amazing job with your yard. It looks beautiful. I miss living in the Atlanta area. We lived on the south side for 17 yrs. my husband was an air traffic controller in Hampton. We moved in ’03 to TN to be closer to grand babies. Don’t regret being here with my beautiful babies, but I miss my shopping. I can’t wait to see more of the work to the yards. Please keep us posted on the progress.

  32. Susan I love a red door one of my favorites, but I have to say love the peacock blue. Also you have done a ton of work on your yard, it looks great….hope you are enjoying the process as much as we are enjoying the pictures!

  33. The peacock is definitely appealing, but the red is the perfect lipstick for your house! ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. That’s a long, ambitious to do list Susan, but if anyone can pull it off it’s you!

    I think I may have mentioned it in a previous comment, but I can’t speak highly enough of Skip Laurels. They are fairly fast growing (but don’t get huge), evergreen and can tolerate different exposures. I have a picture of them in our former yard on my blog in a post titled ‘shade loving and deer resistant plants’. I don’t want to put the direct link because I don’t want to end up in your spam folder! I picture it hiding your AC unit,. We used one to hide a meter on the side of the house.

    • Thanks, Doreen…will add the Skip Laurels to my list to check into! I try to scan the spam file before I delete it but sometimes there are hundreds of comments in there. I’m sure I miss some and that bothers me because folks may think I just didn’t post it.

  35. Your yard is really shaping up nicely, I like your plans. I’m not a good garden planner, but I love those gates you pinned! A more formal one would go well with your house, although I’m a big cottage-type fan. The red door really doesn’t show up very well against your brick house at the distance that photo is taken from. Of course, I am a blue girl, so I LOVE the peacock blue. Just sayin’. ; )

  36. First of all, you remind me of the EverReady Bunny and are a true inspiration! Regarding your door- I too love the Peacock Blue color, however I’m not so sure I like it with the color of your brick (which reads pink to me). I also think the blue works and looks so well on the other home because of the all-white exterior. I vote for the red color you already have and love the look w/o the bass kick plate!

  37. The blue looks best with your brick!

  38. Both are pretty, but I vote red.

  39. I wasn’t too sure I’d like it with all that brick…but…the peacock is stunning! I’m go for it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  40. Susan,
    I love the red…your home is so traditional and all you have done with the landscaping looks terrific. I love landscaping so I have really enjoyed all your blogs on your yard and what you are planning. It is wonderful to have all the light pouring through your windows. You have accomplished so much in a short amount of time.

  41. Yes, I’m worn out reading your to-do list! However, I can envision your dream, and it will be so beautiful! You already have a lovely piece of property anyway! I’ve always admired your front porch, but that peacock blue door is gorgeous! I live in a new Victorian and our front door is Rookwood Bluegreen, and has been for 18 years. I love it! You know what they say: Paint is cheap! You could always paint it, and if you didn’t like it, well, it could become red again in a flash! Take it slow and easy in the yard and don’t overwork yourself!

  42. I vote for the red, Susan.
    You have brick facade on your house, and red of the door ties in somewhat with the brick color. Blue does not match anything on your house or in your yard unfortunately.


  44. Shelly Powell says

    I vote for the red door. I believe it is the Chinese that believe that a red door brings the homeowner prosperity. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Things are looking lovely by the way.

  45. I say take a rest child-you have worked yourself to the bone!!! Check out Pride of Mobile azaleas-my favorite but they do grow very large. I have one at the right hand corner of my porch-it is fabulous every year-fabulous color and large blooms.

  46. I Love the BLUE!!!! it’s so different & fresh!!

    We have lots of magnolia’s here in so calif.
    My husband , Creig, thins them out each year..or laces them out, as the arborist’s say.
    It keeps the soil around them from getting too soggy,, also letting the light into the rest of the garden. The undergrowth can easily be pruned. If you don’t want a heavy burden of more magnolia’s, you will want to prune them from the ground. Since we live by the ocean…we also clean the trees from the bottom up..so that we can walk under them and they don’t get too heavy. This also allows the view of the beautiful magnolia flowers at the top of the tree.
    I fell upon your beautiful blog recently and this is the first time I have ever responded..Love your work!!

    • Thanks, Kate! This one has never been pruned except a little by me each year so I’m sure it could use a professional pruning/thinning out. Thanks for all this good advice. I think that will be my project for tomorrow…finding someone I can trust to take care of that for me. XO

  47. CAROLYN ROACH says

    Red it is. The blue falls flat in comparison.

  48. CAROLYN ROACH says

    Red it is. The blue falls fat in comparison.

  49. LOVE watching your progress and reading about your landscape plans for tomorrow, next month, next year…..
    If you are considering azaleas, Susan, you may want to check out ‘Watchet’. It’s a beautiful Robin Hill repeat bloomer that doesn’t grow very tall. My absolute favorite! Here in Louisiana, it is still covered with blooms at Christmas! It combines beautifully with hydrangeas, hostas, agapanthus.
    Your home is so lovely with that red door. The blue is nice too….but love the red!

  50. I like both colors for the door, although right now I’m in a blue mood! As far as a tree to balance the other side of the house, Savannah Holly is a great tree, pretty shape and red berries for the birds and for Christmas decorating! It will get really tall too and will look very southern with your home! Happy Landscaping!

    • Jessica, it’s so funny you mention a Savannah Holly because I’ve always admired them when I’ve seen them other places. I thought about it for the corner but wasn’t sure if it would work. I’ll definitely check more into that. When I’ve seen them out and about, they were covered in beautiful red berries. Thanks!

  51. I vote for the red! I’ve enjoyed following along on your landscaping project. My husband has taught me, through the years and various houses, the value of having a maintenance budget for trees. And, sometimes maintenance means removal and replacement. You’ve made great decisions and I’m so happy you are happy with the results!

  52. Definitely red!

  53. Susan, I love both colors, but that blue would be dynamite! Red Georgia clay, chipmunks, rabbits, deer, we have to share our yard with a lot of creatures in this area, don’t we? We also live in a subdivision, but our house is next to 250 wooded acres, no houses, so we are never surprised by what appears in our yard and to top that we have a stream across the front of our property. You have made so much progress and your hard work has certainly paid off to a beautiful yard and house. Just please share with us, where oh where do you get so much energy???

    • We certainly do! Wow, how wonderful it would be to live near all the land. I’d love to have a house that backs up to a natural preserved/protected area. You know, it’s a funny thing…the more I do, the more energy I have, but the more I sit, the less I have. I can feel the old stronger me returning the more I work in the yard. I used to think nothing of digging holes, transplanting shrubs, big shrubs even. I’m gradually getting stronger again, getting my old gardening muscles back. ๐Ÿ™‚

  54. Blue is my favorite colour but I vote for the red….it looks tres chic, n’est ce pas? What hugh projects you take and do a masterful job of each of them. I would love to see some dogwoods around your house, the smaller ones in pink and white that we had in Virginia…they were always so lovely and stay small. Add lots of white hydrangeas around them and voila less work for you and lots of colour and beauty besides. You can dry the hydrangeas and use them inside in the fall and winter and they make great wreaths.

    • Awww, thanks Sylvia…you are so nice to say that! I planted a pink dogwood at my previous home. I still drive by every so often to see it. Last time I drove by it was gorgeous! I love decorating with dried hydrangeas– definitely need to plant some of those in the yard! ๐Ÿ™‚

  55. I love the Red!!..Blue is also pretty but I think the red looks more stately…Either would be lovely!

  56. I’m casting a vote for the red door. I’ve never had a red door and always wanted one. Wouldn’t work on my house now so guess I’ll have to buy a second home to get one! Your landscaping plan is so ambitious and very well-conceived. You have inspired me to get out in my yard and get going. If you can tackle all of that, there’s no excuse for me, with my Phoenix yard — tiny by your standards. Thank you! I’m always thrilled to see your posts in my inbox!

  57. Pam Manley says

    I love the blue, but also think the red suits your style of home. Have you considered a Savannah Holly for the right side. The birds love them and the red berries are nice for the holidays. Also, I think it would look nice to extend the mulched area at the corner ( horseshoe shape) and plant your maple with the taller tree you choose.

    • Pam, I’ve always admired Savannah Hollies when I’ve seen them while out and about. I’ve never had a place to use one so now’s my chance. I think that would be perfect…plus birds love the berries! I hope I can find a big one. I read online they grow quickly so that’s good, too!

  58. Pam Manley says

    I love the blue, but also think the red suits your style of home. Have you considered a Savannah Holly for the right side. The birds love them and the red berries are nice for the holidays. Also, I think it would look nice to extend the mulched area at the corner ( horseshoe shape) and plant your maple with the taller tree you choose.

  59. Not even close….RED! My door is red and it just pops. Blue is fine, but you must go with red!!

  60. Susan, what a lot of work and it’s all beautiful. I had thought that on the right side maybe some evergreens would do well. But I am from the north and I don’t know if spruce, fir, or pine do well in the south? But some of those trees are lovely and get full and bushy when they get lots of sun. Oh, and I vote red.

  61. I absolutely love the Peacock Blue. That said don’t trust me, I love everything blue…any shade.
    I know what a big job you still have ahead of you. I know it will be fun and you will enjoy it and a couple of Tylenol.

  62. Marilyn in Mt. Vernon, VA says

    I’d go for the blue. It’s lovely, fresh, looks so gorgeous w/brass hardware, and, you can always repaint it red again later. I am forever changing things out, so if I were you I’d give it a whirl. Life’s short.

  63. Susan love how your landscaping and house look. I love the blue but when you look at the house from far back the red door just looks right and fits in with the brick . We have so many oak trees that have come up in the back of our property and are huge since we built the house almost 40 years ago. They are protected in So. Calif.
    and you can’t just cut them down nor trim them except certain size of branches. We recently had the City come out and approve what we wanted to have trimmed. It was expensive but makes our yard a lot less shaded so my plants can grow better. You have such good taste in design whatever you do will look great.

  64. Wow, it all looks so wonderful!!! You’ve accomplished so much in a short space of time!!! I’d like just a small portion of your energy and enthusiasm, its good to share!!!

    On the door…….I have always felt that the door color should reflect the dรฉcor in the home. For the life of me, can’t picture your living room or dining room…..oh wait, I remember the wonderful crystal chandy!!! Any who either color looks good with the brick, I also like a plum color.

    On the tree……..I have a Red Spire in my front yard (flowering pear), it has white blossoms in the spring and wonderful red and russet color in the fall. It grows pretty fast I think, and the false pears are like berries and the birds do feast on them. I also love a holly tree with the red berries. Hydrangeas are my favorite plant, they come in all colors, are easy to care for and the flowers dry very nicely………an Oak Leaf Hydrangea if very attractive!!! What ever you do will turn out to be smashing, you have such good taste!!! Get some rest…….

  65. I love, love, love the Peacock Blue! A color you don’t see everyday. Also, not sure if anyone has mentioned Bamboo, but it is also great for privacy.

  66. Rosie Moreno says

    Hi, Susan,
    I have always loved red doors on brick homes, but I’ve got to say the peacock blue just screams “new beginnings” which seems fitting after the year you have had. Of course, after all the expense and effort to refresh your red door I think I know what your decision will be. I don’t think any of your followers will find a problem with your choice: you make decorating decisions all seem so easy and so right all at once!

  67. Susan, wow – I found myself exhausted just reading your to-do lists here! All good stuff, all in good time.

    My advice on trees is considering the Bradford Pear (Callery Pear.) It is an ornamental fruit tree that has lovely white blossoms in early spring, dark small leaves in summer and in the fall has wonderful reds – and the fruit is tiny and comes in fall – the birds LOVE them – at least in Ohio!

    It grows super fast and is pear shaped, not wide but thinner – a good tree I would think, for that space. One may keep it pruned to establish more up growth versus wide growth.

    Ours have gotten huge – only maybe around 10 years old – and is planted close to the back deck and not at all encroaching on it – just provides wonderful dappled shade from that west facing HOT sunny side of the house.

    As for the door? I wouldnt go blue. Your red is just awesome and works so nicely all year – blue isn’t great for fall and certainly would wreck your awesome Christmas curb appeal that you have MASTERED.

  68. Susan,
    Cindy was suggesting what I was thinking about the magnolia – limb it up. That way you will see the trunk and more structure of the tree, and it won’t look like a big gumdrop in your yard. I also don’t see what the problem is with the maple to the left of the door. I think it looks lovely, and when the arborist comes to prune the magnolia, (s)he can maybe give that a trim, if needed – just to shape it more attractively? I vote for the red door. If you follow feng shui principles, I believe a red front door is very auspicious. Otherwise, I’d vote for black, as Cecilia suggested (also an auspicious color). Watching the transformation of your yard is so much fun, and you are such an inspiration for all things “welcome home”!

  69. I cast my vote for the RED, please. I think it looks best with your beautiful Georgian brick home.

  70. Hi Susan – Look forward to your posts. I am inspired to continue my endless (but enjoyable) yard redo. I am concerned about the exposed roots in my yard after tree removal. Did you have exposed roots and did you have them removed when the stumps were removed or chemically treated? I live northeast Ohio and have lots yard work to complete in the next couple of months. Again thanks for inspiring all us gardners. Ruth

    • Hi Ruth, The stump guy ground out a lot of those, but not all of them. What he missed, the landscaper who installed the sod got those out while grading the yard for the sod. The River Birch roots were the biggest problem. The stump guy wasn’t overly happy about grinding them out since the dirt isn’t good for the blade on the machine, but he did get them out for the most part.

  71. Susan, I love the blue door with the red brick! And, if you can, grow a Polka climbing rose. It doesn’t get overly large, and has always been so dependable for the Midwest (not sure about the south), always has the prettiest green shiny leave and the blooms are the size of a salad plate in the prettiest apricot color! Plant it if you can! ๐Ÿ™‚ Rosie

  72. The pop of red is just beautiful. I love the peacock for a seasonal color but for the long haul it’s red all the way.

  73. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    “It can’t have the brick walkway too.” Lol. I love your brick walkway and should have realized that was something you added!

    Susan, I love light. I often say I could live in a glass house. I am so glad you’re having more light and ‘happiness’ in your house now. And I’ll see if I can come up with some landscaping ideas for you a little later (though I don’t think you really need any – you’ve done a beautiful job.)

    As for the door, both colors are fantastic. I don’t like the way the peacock blue looks with the color of your brick as much as I like the heritage red. I do think the peacock blue is a fantastic color though. I just don’t like it was well when the whole picture is taken into consideration. But it does seem to be one of those things that is ‘haunting’ you so maybe you could give it a try and see what you think. Worst case scenario, you don’t like it and have to repaint the door with the heritage red. Not so bad, really. ๐Ÿ˜€

  74. Susan, I have always thought a red door was a must, but after seeing the teal door with your red brick I have changed my mind. I LOVE the deal door and it’s a good change with all the other changes you have made. If after a few years you get tired of it you can always paint it again. I say…”Go For It”

  75. The peacock Blue looks amazing!

  76. Thanks for the wonderful post – I think I will do a little “photoshop shopping” for my own front door,which is still white…I believe you always need three choices to choose from, so I am throwing out another. I love the red btw – it provides a gorgeous pop of color, but I think the peacock neither blends/matches nor is a good contrast with the trees and green all around the house and front lawn. So if you are leaning toward a blue, why not a cobalt or dark navy?

  77. In this summer heat it is sometimes overwhelming to me to water and keep my small collection of plants alive that I have sitting outside the front of my apartment. So all the things on your list were way too overwhelming to me – and seemed like way too much work. Reading your post made me become certain I’d never want to live with that size of yard and all the work and expense to decorate it and make it pretty. I’d rather travel to antique and flea market festivals and shop! Reading your post made me realize I’m not into landscaping at all… so thank for that insight into my soul!

    As for the door… WOW on the Peacock Blue!!… it accentuates your house so much more. Your “house” stands out more, and you see the house, not just the door. And the blue goes better with all the landscaping and trees as well. It brings it all together and gives a peaceful look to your home. It says “welcome” in a very calming, warm way. And I’m a strong lover of red, so it’s nothing against that color at all. It just all really ‘looks’ better with the blue!

  78. Hi Susan,
    Wow what a to do list! I see the door colors seem to be running neck and neck!
    Thanks for the mention, I have had more hits in one day than I’ve had in the last three months!
    I’ve also gained a follower!! How great is that! In my opinion both doors work really well. Growing up
    we lived in a red brick colonial ranch house with black shutters, white columns, a black porch swing, and a black front door… Oh how I longed for a bright red door, but Dad wasn’t a fan of red, so black it stayed. He even built my
    bedroom furniture with a bicentennial theme, only he painted everything white and blue…no red!!! At least the American flag decals had red in the stripes. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Thanks again!

    • Thanks again, Adam for Photoshopping the door so I could see it in peacock blue! That was nice of you to take time to do that. I need to learn how. We need a tutorial! ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s too funny about your Dad not liking red. I wonder why some folks love certain colors and dislike others. I personally do not like orange…have no idea why.

      • Often we instinctively dislike colors that don’t look good on us. Curious, is orange a strong color in your wardrobe?

  79. I think sometimes we like to change things up just to have something different. I really like your door painted red but if you wanted to change to the blue color, I think that would be fine too but would need something else blue out front to balance it. Maybe you could paint the bench, that you mentioned, that same color & place it where it can be seen from the street. You have done an amazing amount of work to the yard & it has sure made your house stand out so pretty. I keep thinking how nice your Christmas porch decorations will show up now. I have also thought that it would be nice if the magnolia tree was trimmed back some & I think you will like that after that is marked off of your list. You have a beautiful home!

  80. I have always wanted a red door. So, I vote for red but the peacock blue is wonderful.

    I was wondering, why are you buying your mulch by the bag when you can get it delivered by the cubic yard?


    • Hi Cindi, Well, I didn’t want to have to shovel or wheelbarrow it to the islands and couldn’t really push a loaded down wheelbarrow on the new sod anyway. Would not have been good for it. Initially, I had no idea it would take so much mulch, but even now knowing how much it did take, I still would not have wanted to have shovel/wheelbarrow it to all the islands. The mulch I used is supposed to retain it’s color for a full year so hopefully I won’t need any more mulch for a while. By the time I do need to freshen up the islands again, I should have the trees in place in the back, the tree on the corner in place and lots of shrubs in place, so it shouldn’t take as much as it did this time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  81. Linda C in Seattle says

    Dear Susan,
    Walter Reeves Georgia’s Gardner has a plethora of information.
    Landscape Plants for Georgia
    a great source of information on the size, form and habitat for trees, shrubs and ornamental grasses

    Native Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines

    Flowering Annuals for Georgia Gardens

    Flowering Perennials for Georgia Gardens

    Flowering Bulbs for Georgia Gardens


    Roses for Georgia Gardens

    Gardening for Pollinators

    If these donโ€™t help, you may find what you need at the University of Georgia Extension Service Horticulture site:

  82. Susan, my vote is definitely for the red door. I agree with those that suggested the blue for a white house or a house near water. In my opinion, the blue would be a bold change, but that you would tire of it much sooner than the red. I think of the scarf or handbag that one purchases in this year’s popular color to update a wardrobe, and it looks trendy and stunning, but often by the next year the color already looks dated and tired. A red door just seems to be a timeless classic. As to your plantings, our climate is considerably cooler, but the rebound azaleas that bloom both in Spring and Fall are just lovely. I also love the idea of a holly with red berries, and who doesn’t love dogwoods? Whatever you pick will be lovely, the results to date are wonderful. MM

  83. Okay, I can’t believe I am saying this. I hate red. I won’t even take the free toothbrush from the dentist if it is red – I ask for any other color. But, I really like your red door. It just goes with the house. But, I am sure whatever you do will be lovely. I just think you should not do anything until after Christmas because now with the trees gone everyone will be able to view your lovely decor during the holidays. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Madonna, you feel about red about the way I feel about orange. lol I was thinking, even I did change the color, def can’t do it until after Christmas. The red is great for Christmas decor.

  84. I love the blue door!! It looks fresh, and contrasts with the brick. You’re yard is really coming together! Tip: buy your mulch by the truck load. It’s so much cheaper.

  85. Decisions, decisions, Susan, you have more than enough to make!! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Regarding the door, no on the Teal, I think that looks well on a white house, but the red blends in perfectly with your brickwork…unless you want to add yet another “to-do” to your list and paint your brickwork white!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Just kidding!!

  86. Barbara Ann says

    Susan, you should go ahead and paint the door blue. You’ll always wonder whether you should have, so you might as well go ahead and DO it. It’s not permanent, it is only paint. After living with it for a year, you can always repaint it red.

  87. Shelley Humpal says

    Hi Susan: We finally called our yard project done yesterday. The last thing was having the house painted. Our new bed in the front yard where we had to have a Spruce tree removed due to Spruce Beetle is done except for a new tree. We planted some boxwoods and shrubs roses and left some of the perennials that were in the bed. The infamous tree a Silver Leaf Lilac that I want to plant will have to wait until next spring. The cost was double to try to get one into Omaha at this time of year. Ouch! But I too am o.k. with a work in progress. The neighbors may not quite understand but you know what, it’s still the prettiest house on the block. There is no place like home.

    By the way we also did bag mulch for the same reason. We didn’t do new sod, but it was easier for my husband to lug bags then to fill a wheel barrel, push it, dump it etc. Whatever works right? 82 bags later.

    Red door, but of course you should do what inspires you. It’s just a quart of paint. My door is pumpkin and I love it. This coming from a red door traditionalist.

    • Shelley, your yard sounds beautiful! I’ve never seen a Silver Leaf Lilac…will have to look that up. It’s sounds so pretty! Yeah, I’d rather lug bags any day than shovel mulch and push a loaded down wheel barrow. Plus, my sod just shouldn’t have a heavy wheel barrow pushed over it right now. Sounds like you deserve a nice winter’s rest! ๐Ÿ™‚

  88. lynn etling says

    They are both great colors Susan. And it is only paint – if you want you can always repaint. But you asked for an opinion – so mine is the red. Partially because it is more traditional – but mostly because any wreaths you hang on the door with greenery are going to blend right into that blue color from a distance. I like my wreaths to pop and give the feeling of the seasons to my doorway. I am betting you feel the same.

    My other opinion is you should finish that living room – I am dying to see that red camelback and those shell niche cupboards. Pretty free with your money and time aren’t I?

    As always – so appreciate your blog. It is truly a gift.

  89. You are off to a good start with your To Do list….keep up the good work! I like the red front door the best!
    I enjoy your blog. Please come on over and check out my new blog at http://gigipinkglitter.blogspot.com


  90. Susan, Your home is breath takeningly beatiful. I think the red door is very welcoming and classy. Mine is painted burgundy to match my shutters. Nice and rich. I can hardly wait ti see how you’ll improve on perfection. Enjou the rest of your summer. Doug in Virginia

  91. I love the Heritage Red front door! It is absolutely beautiful with your brick color and traditional home. I like it so much, I think I’ll run out and purchase some BM Heritage Red and paint my front door and shutters!

    • Tina, call a couple of Benjamin Moores before you go. For some reason, not all the BM’s have it. I think it has to be mixed up in their Aura line of paint, so you’ll need to go to a Benjamin Moore that stocks that line, at least that’s what I had to do recently when I refreshed my door with a new coat of Heritage Red.

  92. Catching up ๐Ÿ™‚ My favorite spot, I think, is your covered future patio under the deck. I vote to move that to the top of your list! I can just imagine it. It will be a wonderful spot and nice to look out at from inside. I also love the gate with arbor idea in front too. Oh, with climbing roses would be nice! We have an arbor where our driveway and walk to the house meet. We have purple star flower growing over. It is really pretty but not cold hardy at all! We put old fashioned Christmas lights in it during the winter to help keep it warm and we wrap it for freezes. Well you have gotten your share of advice on door color! I haven’t made it through being updated on your newest posts .. yet, so I don’t know the outcome. And not that you need another opinion ๐Ÿ™‚ .. but .. I like your red door. And I am wondering what a lighter shade of that beautiful color would look like!?! I love color! It is always a process to decide color around here! I am planning to paint our front door, which is stained mahogany matching our garage doors. I don’t want to paint the garage doors, just the front door. My husband isn’t so sure. I, right now, want to paint the front door a Tiffany box blueish color. Our house is white with black shutters and needs a splash of color! OK, hope you don’t get tired of hearing from me, I will hopefully be reading more of your posts tonight to catch up!

    • Nancy, thanks for all your suggestions…they are wonderful. And I never, ever get tired of hearing from you! ๐Ÿ™‚ Always look forward to your sweet, thoughtful comments! XO

  93. Hi, Susan,
    Just read your landscaping post. Yard work is hard. I have been pruning my “jungle” for several weeks now.
    I don’t know what the others have voted, but I vote for the red door. I think it looks better with the color of your shutters.
    Quick question: How did you add “Other Posts You Might Like” . Is it a widget? I couldn’t find it if it is. Thanks.

    • Thanks, Donna for the red vote. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, it added it back. It’s down at the very bottom of each post. If you’re looking at a post that’s a Met Monday or Tablescape Tuesday post, just scroll past all the MM or TT links and you’ll see the words “You Might Also Like” there at the bottom.

  94. Susan, your yard inspires me! Mine has been beautiful in the past, but needs much reworking and pruning now. One question for now – what kind of mulch do you use? All 110 bags! I want some that keeps its color all summer and doesn’t start looking faded out. Yards are such work, but provide such joy, too!

    • lol That year I used a hardwood bark mulch that I found in Home Depot. I think it was hardwood and not pine, but I may be remembering wrong since that was three years ago.
      I can’t remember the name now but I remember it’s BIG feature was that it lasted and held it’s color for a full year. It was guaranteed to not fade out or rot away for a full year. You can see how it looked after I put it out in this previous post:https://betweennapsontheporch.net/adding-some-color-and-whimsy-to-the-garden/
      So if you go to the garden section of Home Depot and ask them for the wood mulch or bark mulch that is guaranteed to hold its color for a full year, they should be able to find that for you, unless they no longer carry it.
      The past couple of years I’ve used pine straw which is plentiful here. I love the look of pine straw but it doesn’t last very long. The bark mulch lasted a full year and looked great. The pine straw only looks good for about 3-6 months, so it needs to be done again now. Ugh!

      • Thank you so much! This will be my next spring’s mulch. I’m tired of my beds looking like they have dirt around the plants instead of the mulch I paid a good bit for!

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