When we first moved into this home, the yard had many outdated overgrown plants and bushes. The previous owner LOVED gardening. However, it became too challenging for her as she cared for it alone in her later years. While I also love gardening, I KNEW one thing for sure. I wanted to cut down the tree in front of our living room window though I didn’t know what kind of tree it was at the time (it’s a Dogwood. I know that now). I’m not sure why it bothered me so much, but it really did. I think it was because it was blocking the light coming into the window.
A Lorax Moment
We had already cut down a large double white pine tree that was leaning on our home. On the same day, I told the Lorax (I mean Mr. Sonboul, who is also “shortish” and “oldish”, and approves of this message) of my plans to cut down our
Truffula tree. He said “I speak for the trees!” (Actually, what he said was; “NO WAY! I LOVE THAT TREE”!) I was so surprised that he loved it enough to speak up for it. So I decided to give it a year and then I would decide whether or not to cut it down.
It Just Needed A Little Seasoning
This all took place in June when all I saw on this tree was green leaves. I knew it needed some maintenance so I cut off all the shoots from the lower parts of the trunk. I also trimmed back any branches that were encroaching on the walkway. Then something magical happened.
As the seasons came and went, the leaves turned to a BEAUTIFUL bright red in the Fall. The branches showcased the best icicles because of the low branches during Wintertime. The most gorgeous white flowers bloomed into life in the Spring. By the time summertime came back around, all the trimming I did one year earlier paid off. It allowed our tree to really flourish and create a wonderful canopy of shade on our porch.
After seeing all the seasonal colors, I learned that it was a Dogwood tree. I was really glad that I had given it a chance to show me how much it had to offer.
Time To Make the (Garden) Bed
After seeing how nice our Dogwood tree could be, I realized what bothered me so much about that space. The garden bed itself was just blah. It had no personality and because the dirt was packed full of rocks, I could never plant flowers. Once I knew the garden bed was the issue, I came up with a new plan to make this tree a defining feature of our front yard. We hired in workers to create a small retaining wall around the garden bed. This would allow us to have more dirt to plant in and it would add height to an already flat ranch style home.
It’s all about that Base (of the tree)
When the bricks were finished I headed to my local garden store and THANKFULLY I had a very helpful conversation with the in-house gardening lady there. She informed me that Dogwood trees need their top soil roots showing and if we covered them with too much dirt, the tree would probably die over the next 2 years. Isn’t that something. First I wanted to cut it down and then I almost killed it.
Mr. Sonboul and I immediately made a plan to save our tree. We dug up the dirt around the tree, added in curved bricks, and added a small amount of mulch. This would allow the water to get to the roots so it could thrive properly.
To finish off the look, we surrounded our Dogwood with hostas and a few other colorful flowers (after getting a reluctant approval from the Garden lady. She was very protective of her plants and flowers). They really bring some life to our new garden bed. With time, these hostas will continue to grow and really fill in the space.
Let It Grow…Let It Grow
When we were out working on this tree, a neighbor across the street shared an interesting historical note about our tree. The previous owner found this tree on a walk one day while it was just a tiny little sprig shooting up out of the ground. She dug it up, planted it here in this spot, and watched it grow for the next 40 years.
As much as I love to say I’m always right… I wasn’t! I’m so happy I listened to my better half and waited a year. Thanks Mr. Sonboul. Having this space is such a blessing and seeing all the seasons change right outside my front window is truly the best. Plus, what a sad thing it would have been if I had cut down something that the previous owner loved and had taken care of for over 40 years?! This was a true lesson of patience for me because I would have missed what she and my husband saw.
It’s All Part Of The Plan
Preserving this dogwood tree is just one step in an Extreme Front Yard Makeover to give the front of our home a little more character. So far, we have created a raised garden bed around the tree (as mentioned above). Used part of the garden bed to extend out our patio. Added more flowers and landscaping. Installed a flagpole. As well as added additional patio space and garden beds on the other side of the house.
If you would like to see more of the overall transformation, feel free to check out some of my other posts linked above. I also documented our progress in videos over on one of my YouTube channels, Heidi Sonboul Home. The before and after is something to see. If you are interested, you can go check out the videos below:
Front Yard Makeover Part 1
Front Yard Makeover Part 2
Thanks for stopping by.