We knew the front and backyards would need some, uh, "cleanup work" when we bought the house, and we've been slowly getting things taken care of.
The first "lawn guy" we hired took TWENTY SEVEN bags of dead leaves, sticks, twigs, weeds, dead plants, branches, and assorted "other" detritus out of the backyard, and another 10~12 bags out of the front.
The backyard looked like the soil level dropped six inches, it was so clean! The previous owners, anxious as they were to get out from under this place, hadn't properly cleaned up either the front or back yards, but rather took some really shoddy shortcuts. Example: When they tore out the juniper bushes in front, they replaced them with some garish, orange colored bark. To fill the holes? Whatever they could find, including rocks, stones, and the cheapest "dirt" they could buy. And guess what they used for an underlayment for the bark? Why, the bags it came in, what else!
It was a mess, but looked kinda-sorta "OK". This is one of the listing pix.
One of the first things we did was have the rest of the junipers in the front removed, and the holes filled in with Real Dirt. My Dad had a couple of very similar evergreens back in Illinois. They didn't get berries like these do, and he called them Japanese Yews, but except for the berries, they looked identical. Even had the same penchant for having big spider webs in them during warm weather.
We still have the "red" bark to remove, along with most of that vegetation. We thought the stuff coming up that looks like tall grass were some kind of bulb, but when we dug one up, it had several small "bulbs", more like baby onions than any flowering bulb, which are usually much bigger.
And were still not sure what we'll do on the North side of the house. Mulch or something for now.
It's always shaded there, except for a very few hours in the morning as the sun comes up. The first "lawn guy" suggested ferns, but my wife hates them. And that solid fence panel? Yup...gonna get a good, sturdy gate installed there so you don't have to cut through the house, or go around the front of the house and garage to the other gate. This will give us much more convenient access to the back yard. Yes, the gate will be padlocked when not required to be opened.
And we're going to install some pavers down to the sidewalk from our front porch to make it easier to lug a very curious 15-month old little boy, and all his support equipment, up to the house from the street. We're shopping around now for some nice "wrought iron" railings for around the porch and down the first four concrete steps. Us old folks might need something handy to hang on to as we go down possibly icy steps in the winter.
And we're having some metal edging installed to delineate the bare earth from established grass. The "bare earth" section will get mulch (we're using shredded cedar) and hardy, pretty plants to fill in the empty spaces.
And you betcha the rest of that red bark is going bye-bye!
So, we've made some nice progress with the front since we bought the house, and these pix are a couple of weeks stale. I'll take some fresh ones tomorrow and show you where we're currently at....