A Front Yard Makeover With Boxwood Shrubs, Benches & Copper-Roof Dovecote

Welcome to the 384th Metamorphosis Monday!

A while back I started a big makeover for my front yard landscape. Bushes were removed and transplanted to the back yard and a Japanese Waterfall Maple was transplanted to another area of the yard.

The tree is doing well in its new home, as are the shrubs that were transplanted to the backyard.

Waterfall Japanese Maple


It’s taken me a while to add shrubs back. I had a local nursery create a landscape plan for this area, but I delayed in implementing it. I’m not exactly sure why, for some reason I just couldn’t get excited about the plan. So I did nothing and waited until something felt right, until there was a plan or idea I could get excited about.

Before Photo, Landscaping with Boxwood Shrubs


Recently I realized the look I really most love isn’t a mix of shrubs but really just a simple landscape filled with beautiful boxwood shrubs. I love the simplicity and classic look of boxwood.

The one thing I did buy for this area that was in the original plan, was a tree-form, Limelight Hydrangea, also known as a Standard.

Tree Form Limelight Hydrangea


The plan called for planting the hydrangea just on the other side of this large magnolia tree here in the front yard.

Lantern Decorated for Christmas


I wasn’t really sure I wanted it there, so last fall I placed the hydrangea in a large planter and just kept it watered. It grew a lot over the winter and was a bit bigger this spring.

Before Adding Boxwood Shrubs


This spring I purchased 10 Green Beauty Boxwood shrubs, 4 Baby Gem Boxwood shrubs and 2 Green Tower Boxwood shrubs. Ideally you want to plant shrubs, trees, etc… in the fall, but sometimes you have to buy them when you find them.

Ball & Burlap Green Beauty Boxwoods


Before beginning, here’s how the left side of the porch looked–a blank slate.

Before Adding Boxwood Shrubs


Here’s how the right side looked, more blank slate.

Before Boxwood Shrubs Added to Front Yard Landscape


I also purchased two benches for the front porch. (Read more about the benches here: Benches for the Front Porch)

Luciana Bench, Grandinroad


After getting quotes for planting the boxwood shrubs from the nursery where I purchased them, I decided to plant them myself. The nursery wanted $1,000 to plant just the 10 Green Beauty Boxwood. Can’t imagine what it would have been for all 16 shrubs! I decided I’d much rather spend that money on future travel than shrub planting. Besides, I sit way too much. It was time to get some exercise!

Before Photo, Landscaping with Boxwood Shrubs



Though not completely finished, the front landscape is looking much better.

Dovecote and Boxwood for the Garden


The four Savannah Holly trees I planted last fall are all doing great. You can see one of them on the right in the photo below. I moved the Limelight Hydrangea I purchased last year to a much larger planter as seen on the right in front of the windows.

You’ll notice the Limelight Hydrangea I just purchased this year on the left, is already blooming.

Landscape with Boxwood Shrubs, A Timeless, Classic Design


The hydrangeas should be on the same blooming schedule next year since I think they’ll get a similar amount of light here in front of the house.

Limelight Hydrangea, Tree Form


Boxwood Shrubs, Traditional Landscape


A couple of years ago I added two Green Mountain Boxwood topiaries to the planters here in front of the porch.



Look how much they’ve grown since the photo above was taken! They’ll need to get trimmed back a bit in late winter next year. I want to keep them in a topiary “Christmas tree” shape.

Boxwood Shrubs for Traditional Landscape


Remember the Dovecote I purchased a few months ago? When I purchased it, I had planned to put it in another area of the front yard where I once had a birdhouse that wasn’t well-made and fell apart. I changed my mind this past weekend and decided to place it here near the porch, instead.

Boxwood for a Traditional, Classic Landscape


I got out my old post-hole diggers and got to work digging a hole. The diggers worked great and I had the hole dug in about 15 minutes time.

Digging hole for pole for a Lazy Hill Bird House


A few weeks ago I purchased an 8 ft, pressure-treated 4 x 4 post in anticipation of putting up the birdhouse.

4 x 4 Pressure Treated Pole for Lazy Hill Bird House


I have another dovecote in my perennial garden and I really like how it looks, so I decided to place the new dovecote at around the same height.

Perennial Garden with Dovecote Bird House


Using my circular saw, I cut approximately a foot off the post. If I had thought about it when I first purchased the post, I could have asked the hardware store to do that. They are happy to do that when needed.

Installing Lazy Hill Farm Bird House


The directions that came with the birdhouse explained how to mount the house to a post. It was super easy to do.

Lazy Hill Farm Dovecote Birdhouse Before Painting Post


Still hadn’t painted the post at this point.

Lazy Hill Farm Dovecote Bird House with Copper Roof


And here’s how the post looked primed and painted. (Dovecote is available for purchase here: Copper Roof Dovecote)

Copper Roof Dovecote by Lazy Hill Farm


I really like how the new bird house looks in the garden. Initially, I had a hard time figuring out exactly where I wanted it since I may add some additional plants in the fall. I finally decided on this spot because it’s far enough away from the magnolia that it should be safe for nesting birds, yet close enough to the brick walkway to be a pretty focal point for those passing by.

Lazy Hill Dovecote with Copper Spun Roof


I’ve really enjoyed sitting on the benches whenever I’ve needed a little rest from all the planting. I’m not sure how I ever lived without them now that they are here.  They got rained on for the first time and I was happy to see they dried without any spots left over from the rain.

Porch view of Birdhouse


It seems there are always lovely surprises to be discovered in any DIY project. One surprise in this project has been the new view I now have from inside. I had forgotten that new landscaping doesn’t just improve the view on the outside, it also gives you a much better view from inside, too. Love that!

View of Garden Through Window


This area isn’t quite finished, but I think this is a nice start. Looking forward to watching everything grow in and fill out.

Boxwood Shrubs, Traditional Landscape


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  1. You did a wonderful job! It’s just beautiful. I love, love, love the addition of the benches. Enjoy!

  2. Susan, I have been anticipating this reveal, and it looks amazing, really. Your hard work has paid off, and now you can enjoy your summer yard. You’re right, that view from inside (and the front porch) is amazing, looking out at the dovecote! Thanks for sharing, and for hosting us. Have a great week!

  3. Susan, Your benches look so handsome on your porch and I love the addition of your dovecote in front! Pretty hydrangeas trained as a standard too!

    • Thanks, Mary! I love the hydrangeas done this way. You guys have been working hard on your yard this spring and it looks great!

  4. Everything looks so lovely,Susan. I especially love the bird house. I’ve always wanted one, but my power tool ability is not the greatest. Maybe some day!

    • Nancie, they sell posts to use with these houses, they are just a bit more than I wanted to spend. If you decide to add one to your landscape, HomeDepot and Lowe’s will both cut the post to the length you want. Just make sure you buy a pressured treated post if you live where you have termites like we have here in GA.

  5. Your yard is beautiful, Susan! I love the new dovecote and the benches…perfect finishing touches! Thanks for hosting! Hugs…Debbie

  6. You are officially a dynamo! That was a big job and you did a fantastic job. I like the addition of the bird house. I know how much work this was and I tip my hat to you!

  7. How in the world do you have that much energy ? It looks very pretty .
    I know you are enjoying it . Have a great day .

  8. Thanks so much for hosting!!


  9. Susan, your front landscaping project is gorgeous. I am so impressed that you have done all the work, and that is hard work! The landscaping is perfect for your beautiful and traditional home! Blessings, Pam @ Everyday Living
    Oops, I was so caught up in your update I forgot to thank you for hosting’

  10. You are my inspiration!! The yard looks beautiful. And you did it yourself – even putting up the birdhouse pole. You have a beautiful home.

  11. It’s just gorgeous Susan, and I love the new black benches! Very Southern, very classic. Thanks for the party today!

  12. I love it! This is what I am thinking of doing with my front garden. It looks beautiful.

  13. Wow. Such a difference. And there is no waiting until something fills in. It looks fantastic now. Using boxwoods kept with the traditional look of your house, but different sizes added so much interest; that was a great choice. The dovecote placement is my favorite, as it stands out in all that green, but complements it at the same time. Sweet shot from indoors too. Nice job all around. Great job–gold star for you!

    • Thanks, Mia! I’m looking forward to the bushes getting a little bigger but so thankful to have found some good size ones for planting. I love the dovecote, too. Those houses a bit pricey but once I saw it in the place, I just kept thinking that it added so much to the landscape, it’s definitely worth it.

  14. Susan,

    It all looks so beautiful!!!

  15. Susan,
    Your landscaping looks wonderful with the benches and the bird dovecote. Lots of hard work but very attractive and satisfying.

  16. You are one handy lady, and your yard is truly benefiting from that… beautiful! The new shrubs look wonderful. And the bird dovecote and new benches are such pretty additions to the landscape! …Thanks for hosting Met Monday! 🙂 ~Rhonda

  17. Wow, there is so much curb appeal after your updates, Susan! It looks beautiful! Thanks for hosting the party again this week 🙂

  18. Looks fantastic! You really work hard!!

  19. Hey Susan, it looks great! I just wanted to let you know your post a few weeks back about redoing your porch floor inspired me… thus my post today on the ceiling and floor of our 2nd story porch. 😉 thanks!! Liz

  20. Susan,
    Your landscaping is beautiful. You did a wonderful job, and such hard work. The benches add so much to the front porch and the dovecote is the finishing touch. Lovely, classic and Southern in every way.
    Love the look of pine straw. I use to use it in my landscaping. I use black mulch now, but I may switch back to pine straw. I wonder if there are in pros and cons to either?

    • I always have that debate with myself too, switching between pine straw and pine bark over the years. A few years ago I purchased a pine bark (in bags) that was supposed to a last a full year, and it pretty much did, but it always kinda messy in my islands. Pine straw tends to only last about 6 months before it needs refreshing so you pretty much have to added it twice a year. I prefer the look of the pine straw over pine bark. I’ve found the “long-leaf” or long-needle pine straw holds up better than slash, although it is more expensive.

  21. Linda Page says

    You did an amazing job on your front beds and new birdhouse. Wow! What a difference. Each element (shrubs, hydrangeas, birdhouse, benches, etc) adds it’s own special touch. Hopefully, those sore fingers are worth the results. Looks lovely.

  22. Very impressive! I just loved the change and I can see why you are so happy with it. Thanks for all of the DIY tips. I appreciate them all!

  23. Susan, You do such nice work rather it’s on the porch or outside. I dug up the chives and lemon balm in my garden last week. It was taking over and I decided I would rather have some flowers in the area. Also, I am putting in some of the plastic fence and that turned into more work than I thought, but it looks so nice. At my age it gets harder to do, but I keep working at it and the results make me feel it’s worth it.

    The closing of Atchison Nell Hills is no surprise to those of us near Atchison. I haven’t been to Briarcliff even though I sometimes drive that way on the way home. Will be a blow to the Atchison economy and small towns are suffering so much.

    • Thanks, Carol! Oh no, I hadn’t realized a location was closing. 🙁 I would still love to visit Nell Hill’s one day. Is there just one location now?

  24. You have a beautiful home, Susan and the new landscaping looks fabulous! I sit on the front stoop all the time, a bench would be lovely. Unfortunately, I don’t have the space. You are a lucky girl! Enjoy your view! 🙂

  25. Good morning. Your front landscaping looks lovely. Very in keeping with your home. I did not read through the other posts this morning, so I hope I am not making you repeat yourself. I am fascinated by your mulch. We live in the central eastern part of the state. Not too far from Philadelphia. Our mulch does not look anything like yours. It is more shredded tree bark and comes in different colors. I don’t care for the mulch that is dyed, so I tend to stay with the natural dark mulch which is almost black. What is your mulch made from? It looks like hay (maybe) but not straw as I know it. I would love to hear about it. Thanks.

    • Thanks, Mary Anne! I hasn’t think about how mulch can be regional, have always taken our pine straw for granted. We have a gazillion pine trees here in Georgia as Ray Charles so beautifully sang about in his song, Georgia. 🙂 So pine straw is available here in abundance.
      I purchased 10 bales this year from Lowe’s and it’s was excellent, some of the nicest I’ve ever purchased. I noticed the name on the truck said M & H Pine Straw, Rhine, Georgia. http://www.mandhpinestraw.com/ The long-leaf or long needle is the best, it normally looks the nicest and stays fresh the longest. I try to stay away from slash which is bits and pieces and tends to deteriorate quickly. Pine straw normally needs to be refreshed a couple of times a years, usually pine straw only lasts about six months, so spring and fall are ideal times to put it out. We have a lot of azaleas here in the south and they love acidic soil so they love pine straw mulch, too.

  26. Your house is looking beautiful, as always, Susan. Love the dovecote. We just moved into a new house and I have a lot of landscaping to do, among other things. 😉 Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Thanks, Kristi! Fall is a great time to do it, it’s getting a little hot now. I think I’m going to hold off on doing anything else until fall…good planting time.

  27. Susan,
    Congratulations on completing both amazing projects – the reveals are wonderful! the benches, bushes, wood floor, bird house… I’m exhausted just seeing the photos – so much work. I hope you are patting yourself on the back. So excited for you and your new grandbaby too! Hope the little custom made moccasins fit soon and keep the little bundle warm.

    • lol It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks around here! Teresa, it’s so funny that you mentioned those because I just came across them again today where I had stashed them once I returned home. I need to get them in the mail pronto. So glad you spotted those when we were in Holland. Do you remember what town we bought those in…I can’t remember right this moment. I think it was the one with that man flying off the roof top. lol

  28. Dear Susan,
    Your hard work has paid off as your front landscape looks beautiful. The last thing I’m sure you need is another piece of machinery to care for, however, I saw this on Facebook and you definitely can use one of these. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hA6Kq0YEO_g Vikki in VA.

    • Too funny! Perfect little round balls. That would be a boring job to have wouldn’t it. I’d have to have an Audible book playing to do that job. 🙂

  29. I love the look of boxwoods and want to do my front as well. Very old yews and honeysuckle will need to be pulled. Yours looks just wonderful! Of course the trailing brick walk is a visual pleasure. Thanks for sharing the details.

  30. You have done an amazing job, Susan! It looks terrific and it must give you great satisfaction to have achieved this look relying on yourself. Did you do a victorious Rocky run around the yard with your fists pumped up to the sky?! I would have if I had done all that:)

    • lol No, but I definitely felt like it! I should have! lol That was one happy moment when I finished planting that last boxwood!

  31. Wow….you have been working hard and everything looks so lovely. Love the addition of the dovecote birdhouse in front….adds so much interest, as do your cute benches. Hope you can now get a massage! You surely need it!

    • Thanks, Toni! Oh, that sounds good! I tell ya one thing, I haven’t had any trouble falling asleep at night the last week or two. lol I barely remember crawling into bed each night.

  32. Susan, the landscaping is looking nice. It’s perfect for the front of your house. Thank you for sharing and thanks for hosting! Happy week to you. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  33. Susan it looks wonderful! I alike you. If I get a crazy quote I just rather do it myself. That is how our stair reno was. Three steps were going to cost almost $1,000 and done not even in the design we ended up doing. No thank you. Love your Hydrangea! Oh, my swing will be here tomorrow!:)

    • Wow, that was a crazy quote! Good job saving all those $$$. Oh, I can’t wait to see your swing, Pamela! I love that swing! We got rain yesterday evening and this morning and I was so happy to see that when it dried off the benches, it didn’t leave any spots. They took it very well.

  34. Suzannetsy Beavis says

    Looks beautiful!

  35. Renee Cook says

    It’s beautiful, Susan! I like the simplicity of the boxwoods. I heard you say you got some rain! I’m so glad for you, because it has missed us every single time. I even put out weed and feed earlier last week thinking we were bound to get showers at least one of the forecasted days, but it hasn’t happened. I really want to whine, but instead, I’ll go turn on my sprinkler!

    • I was surprised we got some, I wasn’t expecting. I noticed the forecast is showing 50% chance for more today. Seems whenever I water, THAT’S when we get rain. Never fails! Hope you get some this time, Renee.

  36. OH, Susan. How you do amaze me, let me count the ways! It is all so pretty. What this country needs is more folks with a work ethic like yours.

  37. Your front looks wonderful Susan! I have been in the process of re-landscaping my front so I know first hand how much work you did. Those limelight hydrangea trees are going to get more and more gorgeous as they grow and that dovecote looks awesome! It makes me want to find a spot for one in my front now too :). Such a beautiful and classy landscape plan you came up and executed! Have a wonderful week and take care, Tara

    • Oh, that is so good to hear, Tara! I fall in love with them more and more each day. I just love the color and I love how they look at night, like a moonlit garden.
      If you google and read about them, you will definitely want one. I was reading online today about them and they are just the most amazing hydrangea. The guy who first created a Limelight has received all kind of awards for it because it doesn’t have so many of the issues other hydrangeas have. I read that it does well in both shade and full sun and the flower heads don’t droop over like they apparently do on a lot of hydrangeas. The article I read described it as the perfect hydrangea…just raved about it.
      Thanks, Tara…I was going for an elegant, simple look so appreciate those sweet words!

  38. Susan – your house and yard look spectacular! I admire your many talents (and strength) that allow you to do so much of the work yourself. That is no small task planting those boxwoods! I love the benches and I think the black ones were the perfect choice. It’s funny – having recently moved to Jacksonville, FL from Augusta, GA, I miss the pine straw mulch. I can’t begin to think how many bales of pine straw I have put down over the years! It’s so pretty and so natural looking. I always enjoy reading about your plans for the yard and the house. I miss having a yard most of the time but not so much this time of year in Florida!

    • I have a feeling I will miss it if I ever move from GA, too. The house I lived in for 7 years when we first moved to Marietta, had a grouping of around 5-6 pine trees in an island in front. Those trees provided me with all the straw I needed and I kinda took them for granted until I moved here and had to start buying it twice a year. Normally, we don’t want pine trees in our yard since they are famously none for being the first trees to break or get uprooted during a bad storm or high winds, but we do love the straw for landscaping.

  39. Holy Smokes! That looks amazing! How long did that take you? How many Ibuprofen and hot Epsom salt baths? And dare we ask what’s next??

    • Thanks, Terri! lol I averaged planting 3-4 shrubs each day, but I took a couple of days off during that time to let my planting muscles recover. I think I did a million squats planting all those boxwood. My legs are a longer stronger now! lol You know what I discovered, I normally can’t take regular Advil, gives me tummy issues. I tried the liquid gel caps after a BNOTP reader mentioned them and they didn’t bother me. So I ended up taking one dose of those on two different days. Not sure why they didn’t bother me, but glad to have discovered that.
      Ummm, what’s next? Well, right now I’m trying to put a potting table together. lol Next, I need to save my pennies for a bathroom renovation…actually 3 bathroom renovations!

  40. What a facelift for the front of your home! It looks so beautiful and the benches are perfect. I can’t believe you dug all of those holes! That makes me tires just to think about it!

    • Thanks, Pat! I set a goal of planting two shrubs each day, but most days I was able to plant 3, sometimes 4. Usually if I planted 4, the next day I had to take a break. I’ve found if you just tell yourself that you’re only going to plant twp per day, it’s not so intimidating. You know that old saying about, How do you eat an elephant? 🙂

  41. Marlene Stephenson says

    Your yard looks wonderful! Sometimes sore muscles and tiredness is a great feeling when what you achieve is awesome. How many times have you look outside to admire your work and smiled !!?

    • That’s so true, Marlene…worth all those tired muscles. I sure have been sleeping soundly each night! lol I’ve been enjoying it a little each day. I love to sit on the benches and open up the day’s mail…gives me an excuse to be out there a little longer. 🙂

  42. Gail Bell says

    This new look to your beautiful home is both classic and inviting. I LOVE it!! And the new benches are the perfect touch. While your muscles may ache now, you can take pride in a job well done for years.

    Now put your feet up and enjoy a beverage of your choice;–)

  43. Susan, you did a fabulous job. I know you are going to enjoy this new landscape each time you approach your beautiful home. I love the hydrangea as a standard. I’ve never seen them here, but then hydrangea don’t easily grow here.

  44. Linda S. in NE says

    Beautiful job, Susan. You certainly have my applause on all the planning, as well as the physical work!! And,…congratulations on your new grandson. Did I miss you telling us his name? I am very happy for you and his family.

  45. ~Susan~
    You did a super job, so go ahead and pat yourself on the back for me !! Well done for sure 🙂 I love boxwoods that is definitely my top pick for a English garden. My daughter and I were in Ga. a few weeks ago, and I wanted to go to Lowes to bring home the pine needles for mulching, but she thought I was silly !
    ps love your new benches too

    • I’ve never bought pine straw there before but oh my gosh, they have some good straw this year. I hope they continue getting it from the same place they got it this year!
      Thanks, Paula!

  46. Susan, with all your projects you put the Energizer Bunny to shame … ☺. Beautiful job! Be proud! Hugs, hugs -Brenda-

  47. Susan, everything looks great!! You are amazing with your strength and endurance. After I’ve done a yard-a-thon I feel like I need to be on an Alleve “drip.” My last yard-a-thon took 3days of Alleve to finally quit aching! Question about the Dove Coat post – did you anchor it in cement? And, how far deep did you place it? Thank you!

    • lol about the Alleve drip…that is too funny. I felt that way, too for a couple of days. I would take a day off and my muscles would barely begin to recover, then I’d go right back to it. I could tell I was getting stronger and stronger though, despite being so tired some days. I need to exercise like that everyday…keeps ya young!

      No, I didn’t use cement for the other dovecote I put up years ago and it has done fine for 15+ years. So, I didn’t use it for this one either. Once I had to pull up the other dovecote when a tree was being removed that had fallen near it, so I really prefer to not put them in cement. You never know when you might need to pull the post out of the ground.

      The directions said to dig the hole 30 inches!!! No way I was doing that. I didn’t do that with the other one. I dug the hole around 18 inches deep and it feels very stable. I don’t think it will come out unless a tornado comes over and pulls it out of the ground. If that happens, something tells me the least of my worries will be the birdhouse! 😉

  48. Every thing looks beautiful, Susan.

  49. Ann Butler says

    Beautiful front yard. I am always is Awe how handy you are at doing things. I really admire you for that. Thank you for sharing your makeover with us.

  50. Love, love it!!! You are one hard working lady! Love the evergreen shrubs and the straw and the bird house and absolutely adore the benches. I would have preferred not to have broken the lines of the house with the hydrangeas, but they are beautiful. You should be proud of yourself!!!

  51. Kathleen says

    What a job! You are amazing Susan. Everything looks like it’s right out of a magazine!! Well done! Sit back in those beautiful benches and enjoy a tall glass of sweet tea for me!

  52. Cyndi Raines says

    Great job Susan! It is all so very “picture perfect”! I know your son must be very proud of his mom and all the work you do. I can’t wait to see how you will decorate for Christmas. I love our boxwoods in front of our house and at Christmas we use the fishnet lights to drape over the boxwoods and they just sparkle! I REALLY Love the Dovecote! Will have to save for that! Our 25th Anniversary is coming up, maybe I can drop a few good hints! ha. The benches are especially pretty in black. A++

    • I love that idea with the fishnet lights…bet it looks beautiful for Christmas! Cyndi, it took me a long, long time to save for the one I put in the perennial garden and I have never regretted it. You will love it because it makes such an impact in the garden…truly a show-stopper as they say.

  53. I have to say thank you for your wonderful blog. I found your front porch post when searching ideas for my portico a year ago. It helped a lot.After the portico project I painted my door the same red as yours. Now you settled my wonder about the front yard landscaping. I have to agree simple boxwood is classic, low maintenance and no fuzzy way to dress up an traditional colonial home. I will follow you again. Hope you all the best and looking forward all new beautiful ideas. I also love love your blogs about those movie houses!!!!

    • Thanks so much, Nancy! Yeah, I don’t think you can ever go wrong with boxwood. I’m still really glad I went with those. They create such a calming, peaceful landscape and you can always add some annuals or perennials for color later if you find you need some. I need to get back out there this spring and add a few more plants, maybe something around the base of the birdhouse and the area over near the bench. 🙂

  54. I just stumbled on your site and have FINALLY found the perfect portico for my home. THANK YOU so very much. The front of my home is identical to yours. I appreciate you taking the time to give us all the info. such as the size of the porch, the columns etc. I intend to follow you and all your projects.

  55. Hi Susan,
    I am researching dovecotes, and came upon your posts :).
    Did the copper roof of your Lazy Hill Farms dovecote stay copper colored or did it turn green like verdigris? I agree that I wish they still had the cedar roof option, instead of the redwood, but since they don’t, it looks like copper and a blue-green verdigris options are available. Wondering how they will change in color?
    Thank you for the inspiration!

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