We had my daughter's birthday party EARLY in the season for springtime, even with our temperate so-called "winters". March 9th.
However, we NEEDED color and for the yard to look cared-for if her party was to be actually PRETTY.
Here's what we did and on a VERY limited budget:
Bombed the front flowerbed.
I have a love/hate relationship with this flowerbed. It is 8 feet deep from the sidewalk to the wall, and measures about 20 feet long from the driveway to the turn in the front walk. It also has the worst soil ever for trying to grow anything, since it is "fill dirt" as part of the foundation we raised for the house. It has been through at least three major overhauls since we moved in here 7 years ago. The only thing that grows well here is weeds!
We weeded--hoe, hands, rake. The weeds were strong from much neglect. Our weeding was helped by the second part:
Dug a small fish pond. I had been thinking a water feature would be a good space filler as well as a point of interest here for quite some time. We opted to keep it simple. Pond liner. Pump. Flagstone edging and "waterfall". Goldfish. The pond is likely not technically deep enough to be "right" by any professional standards, but we are pleased with it so far.
Container plantings. Two small galvanized tubs at $12 each filled with blooming annuals and perennials just added a couple small bursts of color to the edge of the walk. They will last all season and likely some of the plants will overwinter if we are careful. The tubs themselves will last probably 5 years in the weather. Pretty good investment, and since we have galvanized containers elsewhere, they fit in well.
The new fence has a sweet gate: antique iron panels we had welded for hanging. I love the little hearts!
We shopped the house and yard to accessorize the newly-mulched flowerbed areas.
Small rickety garden bench, pots for herbs by the driveway(western exposure--rosemary and thyme will love that!). Chipped teapot and inexpensive cup/saucer serve as sweet planters and fit our theme to a "tea"!
Bought a tent.
This may seem extravagant, but if you think about our prone-to-inclemency weather, coupled with the number of girls in the family AND the number of birthday parties we do here, chances are good that the tent will be re-used many times. It wasn't that expensive, and setup was surprisingly easy. It even did well with the blustery March winds we had the day of her party!
The tent served several purposes: Provided shelter in case of rain(we had very overcast skies that day, but no rain, as it thankfully turned out!). Provided sun shelter--all these fair-skinned young ladies don't want to be freckled! Provided a place to hang pretties overhead for the party decorations.
It also lent a bit of protection from the wind and screened the more "unimproved" side of the yard from view for the party!
Everything turned out well, and I am pleased to say that the pots of plants have filled out beautifully. The pond needs a cleaning after the pollen invasion from our oaks and pines, and we've lost a couple of goldfish to newly-established-feature water quality issues, but the water lilies are filling in, and the roses are blooming. It's beautiful!
Hope you enjoyed my little tour of our front yard. Come again!