Thou Shall Not Covet

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I’m coveting.  My little neighborhood has a civic league which awards the honor of “Best Yard of the Month” to a deserving home.  That yard even gets a sign that proclaims the award to anyone passing by, including those of us losers who have a mediocre front yard.  The people who get this award have worked hard on planning and planting and deserve the recognition.  Our little courtyard in back is quite nice, especially in the spring and early summer when the roses and lilies are in bloom, and the Carolina jasmine is flowering, but, admittedly, other than mowing my postage-stamp-sized yard, I haven’t done anything in the front to deserve notice.

I decided to do something about this recently.  A couple of weeks ago, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law from Florida visited, and we took them to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens  where I was able to get some ideas to make my yard look good enough to get that sign.  It took some work, but I wanted to show you the before and after pictures and get your opinion.

Here is what the front of our house used to look like:

The Before

Here is the after picture:

This is me, admiring my handiwork.

That sign is about to be mine!  Are you buying any of this?

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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37 Responses to Thou Shall Not Covet

  1. You really had me going!! I couldn’t wait to see what you’d done with your yard…I laughed out loud. Thanks!

  2. Wanda says:

    And all it took was a little elbow grease and some imagination! Good job!

  3. Oh forget Best Yard of the Month. How many of those winners would synchronize swim with a mermaid sculpture? And let someone take a picture of it? Unless those gardeners are doing begonia impressions while they weed, you win in my book.

  4. That picture of you and Aunt R is the cutest thing EVER! I’m thinking Dad isn’t going to want to mow that yard though. Just sayin’

  5. You know you had me for a minute. No really I’m kinda slow. Love the new look of it all Susan. Could you please come do my yard? Its in terrible need of a makeover. speaking of makeovers I’d love it if you’d visit my new blog I’d really like your oppinion.

  6. Patti Ross says:

    I love the yards! Not having or even thinking I might want a green thumb, I do not even think about having my own gorgeous yard, but still appreciate a great lawn/garden. Good luck with your grand plans–just remember to have fun. Rather planting flowers–although i would love to have them to cut/trim and bring into the house–I think I would put my time into starting my own awards or just making my own signs: Best Back Yard Ever! or Best Moonlight Dance Space! or Serenity Found Here!

  7. Margie says:

    Amazing how different a house and yard can look when you remove the blue ADT sign!

  8. Judith says:

    Not covet but pure envy. Look at this from Jacquelin Cangro and eat your heart out.
    As always nice post. Thanks.

  9. Isn’t it amazing how a little landscaping can absolutely transform a house?? 😉 Big huge wink here!!
    Seriously, I’m not good in the plants department either, that’s why I leave it all up to my husband. Funny because I’m the one who grew up in the country and he’s the city boy who didn’t even have grass at his house. (No lie – bricked back yard, front door opened to stoop, steps, sidewalk, street.) Go figure.

    • comingeast says:

      Maybe it’s because he grew up without plants, he’s determined to enjoy them now. Just you wait—I’m going to do a great job of landscaping next spring. Okay, maybe just a good job. But I’ll send pictures. There’s got to be a blog post in there somewhere.

      • That’s exactly it! He loves digging in the dirt, planting flowers and vegetables, shrubs, trees, whatever. He even enjoys mowing our 2 1/4 acre yard — on a riding mower tractor of course. Somewhere inside of that city boy was a farmer trying to get out, I think. Or maybe he thinks he’s “playing farmer.” 😉 Either way, I’m letting him enjoy his fun!

      • comingeast says:

        It actually works out perfectly for both of you!

  10. Dor says:

    That is sooooo funny! Plants are my downfall. I even had a plastic plant that died. True. It began losing it’s big leaves, one by one! Your front yard is actually lovely the way it is! Stop coveting.

  11. Shary Hover says:


    My neighborhood doesn’t have a “yard of the month” or I’m sure I’d want to win it, too.

    • comingeast says:

      I wish I actually knew what I was doing when I plant things. I have no plan, no vision, other than, “Hey, that plant is pretty. Think I’ll plop it into the ground.” That could be why I haven’t won yet.

  12. vivinfrance says:

    Thou shalt not covet is an appropriate title for this piece. No, I’m not buying!

  13. hahaha! I must say, you sure know your landscaping! Although the “before” house is quite nice, too. 🙂

    • comingeast says:

      You should see the yards of the winners. My little yard needs so much work. If mypajamadays were here, she’d make it look spectacular. I can’t even get grass to grow under that old crepe myrtle. In my defense, we’ve only owned this place for two years and did most of the work in our courtyard where we spend our time. Next spring I’ll start working on the front.

  14. Ha! Love it. My, what a fine job you did, too. Must have been a lot of back-breaking work. Can I offer you a job up here to work on mine?

  15. No question you earned the sign…. as well as a free ticket to Maine if you can help me transform my house, too! I’m envious of the “best yard of the month award” and we don’t even live in your neighborhood (not that I’d earn it with the weeds on steroids we have right now). p.s. love the cute photo of you & your sister in law at the gardens!!

    • comingeast says:

      The after photo was really taken at Newport. I think that house was the Elms. Next spring I’m going to do something about that front yard of ours and earn that sign for real. What part of Maine do you live in?

  16. gaycarboys says:

    Oh I say aren’t you the handy one. Wasn’t it nice of council to approve to slight increase in land size. I do like a bit of lawn. Here’s a top tip, don’t waste water, wash you car on it! Mind it doesn’t look as if it needs any extra care. The stone cladding has really made a difference LOL

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