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For The Garden

Front-Yard Update

Author: Debra Kline
Issue: August, 2013, Page 127
Photo by Garrett Cook

Simple Updates Transform the Front of a 1950s Phoenix Ranch Home Into One With Modern Appeal

When landscape architect Todd Briggs purchased his Phoenix home in September 2010, its facade was dated and its landscape unattractive. The front yard was typical of older homes in the area, consisting  primarily of grass and a few flowering plants and shrubs. Its sole tree was a messy and unappealing sumac.

The homeowner’s main priority was to install a low-maintenance landscape that reflected the integrity of the historic neighborhood. To do so, Briggs brought in native grasses, penstemons, yuccas, plus Anacacho orchid trees and low-water-use Southern oaks for shade. “The maturation of the newly introduced native-desert vegetation has resulted in a lush yet responsible landscape that fits cohesively with the neighborhood,” the homeowner explains.

Another aspect of the home that he wanted to change was the lack of a sidewalk from the porch to the street. Briggs solved this problem by laying various recycled concrete slab pieces pulled up from an unused backyard patio to create a meandering and inviting pathway.

The final touch was a change in the exterior color scheme. The home’s original yellow and green were covered with paint in deeper earth tones, accented with white trim for contrast. The result is an updated exterior, coupled with an eco-friendly landscape that fits comfortably in both the historic neighborhood and the 21st century.

Biggest Challenge: The landscape. Creating an eco-friendly front lawn while maintaining the integrity of the local neighborhood took some forethought, says the homeowner.

Biggest Surprise­: Low cost. “I was able to keep most changes, such as paint and landscape, easy and simple.”

Biggest Splurge: Landscape installation. Briggs hired a crew to install the new vegetation.
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