San Bernard Landscaping: The Front Yard

San Bernard Tilson Home

A few weeks ago, I shared that we were tearing up our DIY landscaping and hiring the pros to take over our yard. I called Debbie with Sagebrush Landscaping. She works in the Austin and Hill Country areas, and actually did my parents’ landscaping when they built their home 15 years ago. After two weeks of work (the rain slowed them down or it would have been finished sooner) the last of the sod was laid down the day I went into labor with Caroline. So please excuse the long delay, I’ve been just a bit preoccupied! But today we had some fantastic weather and decent enough light, so I hopped outside to take a few photos of the new front yard.

San Bernard Front Yard

Here’s the view showing the full exterior of the house and our fenced area. We changed up the house plan slightly by taking out the half garage space and moving the doors from facing the interior of the yard so they now face front.



One of the first additions was a walkway from the drive to the front door. It’s so nice! Our garage tends to get full of projects and well, junk, so it’s easy to hop out and walk right to the door. We couldn’t add any plants to this area as we have cows grazing here, but the river rock fills in the space along with a large rock we removed from the foundation area prior to building our home. We have quite a few of these boulders in the yard now.


San Bernard Front Gate


My dad and neighbor built our fence, and the gate is made from some salvaged fencing we found on the property. We just sprayed it with some bronze paint and added a rustic fence post to the top to keep the gate posts straight. Then we hung a couple of old lanterns from the barn for decor.


Tilson San Bernard Landscaping

When we had our consultation with Debbie, I emphasized that we wanted a drought hardy design. I hated the idea of dumping a ton of water into grass. While we still ended up with a lot of grass sod, the front is mainly made up of crushed granite, river rocks, and native plants in mulched beds.



One way to keep from depleting our well water was to have a couple of rain water barrels beneath our gutters. This one barrel serves to water all the plants in the front beds.




To keep the entry pretty, we decided to go with rain chains instead of down spouts. We also hired to have the cedar treated and sealed so it would keep it’s signature reddish tone instead of graying out and cracking over time.



Now the cedar blends in with the front door tones, as well as the copper chains and the rock. Basically we just kept everything in the brown family 😉



To the left of the porch we have a couple of beds, some river rock to prevent wash out, and a crushed granite pathway that leads all the way around to our back patio. I love that they used the leftover rock from our exterior to build the raised beds and a bench. We already spend our mornings out here.


Sagebrush Landscaping on the San Bernard

I had to put my iron stegosaurus in the front bed. He just makes me smile. The built-in bench is the perfect spot to snuggle the baby with a cup of coffee while Charlie throws rocks around.



I was really happy that Debbie was willing to work with some of the plants I already had. These two apple trees in the front survived a brutal summer, and are just now starting to show life again. I’m really looking forward to watching them grow and eating delicious homegrown apples one day!



The biggest transformation has been the play area of the yard. This is where the sod begins. Debbie chose Celebration Sod, which is very drought tolerant and requires little water. Luckily we had quite a bit of rain this October and it’s saved me from having to water the grass so much. It’s already begun to establish and green up. Before, this was just a scraggle of dirt and weeds. Now, it’s a lush expanse of space for our kids to run and play. We had this section fenced off to keep the dogs and chicken away. It’s nice to know we’ll have a spot free of poop, digging, and destruction. And with small kids running around, our dogs can get a bit rough so this will help keep everyone safe.



With a two year old and a newborn, we haven’t gotten started on any large play structures just yet. So far we brought down a small castle from my mom’s house and a wagon that I plan to make into a kid’s garden for Charlie with some succulents. Later I’d like to build a swing set and perhaps a fort or play house.



We also have the tire swing Jacob made for Charlie’s second birthday present. It’s a pretty big hit. Charlie even put the chicken in there. If you look a bit closer you can see the pathway and mulched bed on the side of the house. I like that it helps our cheap little plastic hut that houses our water softener look more intentional and like it belongs. Before it just looked sad and lonely. All the trees keep this area very well shaded, which is so nice in the hot summers. We’ll still be able to come out and play knowing we’ll have some shade and a nice breeze.



And that’s it for the front yard! I know, it’s a lot of photos. But I’m just so over-the-moon about how well it turned out. Debbie did such a fantastic job with the design, and her crew was great. I’m eager to get the back yard cleaned up to take more photos and share them with you!








5 thoughts on “San Bernard Landscaping: The Front Yard

  1. Looks beautiful! Can you tell me what brand/color paint you used? We have red cedar accents also, and the second taupe color might help bring out the shingle accents. Thanks.

  2. Thats awesome, i will build such house if i live in rural are.. however, i still in big city .. so what i need today is compact home or modern apartment.. I promise to build such home in the future for rest of my life 😀

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