Category: Curb Appeal

Custom Porch Project: Before and After

We are excited to share this custom front porch project we recently completed for Agnes Meyers. The back deck had already been renovated, but the front entryway was in need of some updates to match the current style. The existing front entrance did not meet the aesthetic of her contemporary home, and she chose to work with Second Nature after hearing about our exceptional landscaping and  custom design work in the Lee’s Summit area. Our custom design team worked with Agnes to create a front entry and porch that was both welcoming and a timeless design.

Before Second Nature stepped in with a new design, Agnes’s front entryway suffered from a worn down wooden railing and wood post design that didn’t align with her contemporary back deck.

before photo of a front porch

before photo of a front porch and stairs

After Our Design Team Completed the Job

Our design team worked with Agnes to create an entryway that complemented her existing landscaping and created a flow from the front yard to the back deck by utilizing a similar style for the railing. Now her front entrance has a beautiful stone retaining wall and a railing that opens up the front  of her home, creating a more inviting atmosphere.

after a project was completed on a front porch redesign

By using flat stones, we were able to create a secure place to mount the base of the handrail, without sacrificing the overall design.

stone work from a front porch design outer view of stone work from a front porch design

Now the handrail on the front porch mirrors the design of the back deck, creating a flow that is felt as you enter and exit the home.

front porch view

Black hand rail on back porch

Add To Your Home’s Curb Appeal

If your entryway is in need of an update or you simply want to find a design that meets your personal style, meet with the design team at Second Nature. We are excited to discuss your local landscaping and custom design plans in Lee’s Summit, MO!

Custom Landscaping Project: Before & After

Today we have some awesome backyard landscaping pictures to share with you! We want to highlight a recent landscape design we completed for Scott and Lisa. They have a beautiful home that was not being showcased due to the overgrown beds in the front of the house. They also were not fully utilizing the beautiful setting they had in their backyard with a wonderful lake just a few steps out their back door. They had a number of landscaping ideas, but were unsure of how to execute them, which led them to Second Nature, one of your premier local landscaping companies in the Lee’s Summit area. Our team of designers worked with them to create a custom landscaping plan with one of the best backyard desks we have seen in a while!

Before, the front of the house had visually been taken over by the out of control bed.


After, the bed will complement, not compete, with the house. We also added a new retaining wall.


Before, the back deck area was overgrown and almost unusable. It was a dark and uninviting area that was mostly used for storage.



After, we implemented some of our best deck design ideas to create an amazing space for Scott and Lisa to relax, enjoy their hot tub, or entertain friends! With their outdoor living area they now have an outdoor kitchen, seating area, and fireplace. With the area around the patio and deck cleared out, they now can enjoy the serenity of the lake while they are relaxing outside.

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Before, the back of the house was completely obscured by the overgrowth surrounding the deck.


Now you can see the house, the deck, their amazing outdoor living area, and the expanded deck we built, which were all key components of the backyard landscape design we created for Scott and Lisa.


Before, the beds along the house were overgrown and undefined.


After, now Scott and Lisa have beautiful beds along their home along with a new and defined walkway that gives them easy access to the backyard!


Here are some additional photos of the final result of Scott and Lisa’s deck landscaping project.12



If you are ready to make some changes to your home’s landscaping call us at Second Nature, your local landscapers in Lee’s Summit, MO! We would love to discuss all your backyard ideas and help you create deck landscaping or landscape design ideas and plans!

Entryway Landscaping Ideas

Tips for Enhancing your Front Yard Landscape Design

The entryway of your home plays a key part its overall design. Most of the time the entryway is visible from the street, so enhancing your entryway will also enhance and improve your overall curb appeal. An appealing entryway is also a great way to welcome guests into your home. Looking for some easy ways to update your front yard landscape design entryway? Keep reading..

Garden Ideas For Your Entryway

When you’re considering landscaping ideas for your front garden beds make sure you are planning to use plants that are appropriate for the soil type, light conditions, and climate. Even if a plant has the exact design element to complete your landscape plan it will not work if it requires full sun and your entryway is shaded for the majority of the day. If the plants are not in their ideal conditions they will not thrive, which means they won’t look their best! It is also a good idea to consider plants that match your lifestyle. If you have a busy lifestyle and find it hard to devote time to upkeep you may want to look for plants that are low maintenance.

Match The Design Elements

When considering your front yard landscape design you want to make sure that the design elements of the front garden design match that of the design of your home. If you house is modern with clean lines you may not want to fill your garden beds with romantic wildflowers. You also need to ensure that the plants within the beds complement each other and share design aspects.

Accent Your Front Door

Painting your door a unique color that complements the design of your house is a great way to enhance the look of your entryway. Flanking the doorway with flowered plants and planters that coordinate with this color is a great way to update the entry of your home and enhance your front yard landscape design.

Add An Arbor Or Trellis

Adding an arbor or trellis is a landscaping idea that can complement your entryway to invite your guests to your home. An arbor or a trellis is a great way to add a vertical component to your front yard landscape design. A trellis covered with vines can add interest to a boring wall provide the perfect space to display hanging plants.

Small Patio

If you have an area near your entry that isn’t well suited for plants or grass you can easily turn that into a small patio. With the patio you can add landscaping ideas such as a potted plants, a small seating area, or other decorative touches.

If you are looking for further direction on how to cultivate a more inviting and welcoming entryway please contact our design experts at Second Nature!


Landscaping (82)

Landscaping Design Mistakes to Avoid

Gardening is an extremely rewarding endeavor. In many cases homeowners have great ideas about the various elements of a landscape design, but aren’t sure how to implement them. Planning a landscape for optimum use and ease of maintenance is a specialized skill. Hiring a pro to design your landscape can save you time and money in the long run. We’ll go over a few avoidable mistakes in landscape design to help you get the best out of your home landscape.

  1. Going Completely DIY at the Design Stage
    Use of a professional landscape designer in the planning stages can enhance your enjoyment of your home landscape, even if you intend to do seasonal the maintenance yourself.Landscape design is a profession employing skills in long term visual planning, horticultural knowledge of appropriate and long lasting plants, and the ability to look at the big picture. A living, growing landscape involves thinking about how things are going to look in all seasons, not just during the glorious spring and early summer peak flush. Training and vision is required to see how the landscape plan is going to look in five years, ten years and longer.

    Professional landscape designers have expertise on tap to make your yard maintenance tasks easier, year after year. They will know how to choose the right plants, soil amendments and materials for your climate and site, and provide a cohesive design with functionality, focal points, and low maintenance. Professional landscape design is a worthwhile investment in your home’s value and curb appeal and will pay for itself over the years by saving you the expense and labor of replanting if things don’t work out.

  1. Choosing Great Plants—for the Wrong Area or the Wrong Use
    Every gardener knows how easy it is to go overboard at the garden center when picking out plants. However, just because that plant looks gorgeous under the TLC of the nursery staff doesn’t mean it’s going to work well in your garden. You’ll want to take into consideration factors such as the amount of light or shade, the amount of time—and desire—you have for their care, what type of soil you have and whether you have kids or pets. With the latter, you will of course want to stay away from poisonous plants, but you may also want to steer clear of those rare, exquisite (and expensive) prize plants that could cause family issues if trampled on or kicked up. Your yard is not just a static view—it’s a place to be used by you and your family, a place to grow memories as well as plants. Don’t make those memories be about the time the dog dug up your rare miniature Hosta collection. Save your passion for Oleander bushes until after the kids are grown and you’ll rest easier.Challenging conditions can usually be ameliorated: soils can be amended, and trees can be pruned to open up the light at ground level. Drip irrigation can be added if you are the type of person who forgets to water the garden—or you could bypass that whole issue by choosing drought tolerant landscape varieties. These are all things to think about during the early planning stages of landscape design, and a professional landscape designer can help you make the right choices for your yard, taste, intended use, and lifestyle.
  2. Going to the Extremes
    Overuse of commonly available plants is something to avoid, as is the other extreme of going with too many hard-to-care-for exotics. First though, do your research, both online and at the garden center. Look for plants that thrive in your climate zone. Refer to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for precise information about average winter temperatures. This map is the standard by which gardeners can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at their location. The Kansas City metro area is zone 6a, but just north of Kansas City has a 5b rating (a bit colder). These temperature ratings will affect what will grow best in your area.It’s great fun to think about growing exotics like citrus trees or other tropical plants in your home garden, but any landscape professional will tell you that these plants are not going to overwinter here. Happily, there are many native plants that can be unusual and interesting.

    Garden centers sell a lot of impatiens, geraniums and marigolds, but not necessarily because they are the best choice for the landscape. Often it’s because they are an easy choice for the grower, with quick propagation, reliable shipping and “shelf life” in small flats. Do use these easy-to-flower annuals for the summer splash of color, but look beyond them at native perennials for that touch of the unusual.

  3. Not Considering Edibles in your Landscape Design
    It’s tremendously satisfying growing your own fresh, delicious food, and it’s easier than you might think. Consider dwarf and semi dwarf fruit trees such as apples and pears, and nuts such as hardy almond and filbert. Evaluate other edibles that can work in a permanent landscape plan, such as grape vines and berries. These can be highly ornamental as well as functional.You can see some interesting tropical fruit trees in garden centers every spring, but think back to that USDA Zone Map. You’ll need to bring these plants indoors during the winter months or they will die off after the first year. Containerized small trees are an option, but think about how much room you have inside for them 5 months out of the year—and whether you have the ideal conditions that they need (humidity and direct sunlight are musts).

    If you plan to grow edibles here, you won’t be limited to a plain-Jane apple tree. There are a large number of heirloom apple trees, and new varieties such as Honeycrisp apples and Asian pears are now available. Cherries, pecans, almonds and filberts will also grow well in our area. Concord grapes, berries of many varieties, and strawberries can be integrated into a landscape design with lovely results. The Chicago Hardy fig tree is productive and easy to grow, and bears fruit on new growth, which means that a bitter winter die-back won’t affect yield so thankfully there are many options here in the greater Kansas City area.

    Make sure that your fruit trees are self-pollinating, or choose several varieties to pollinate your edible landscape.

A well-designed landscape will give your home beauty and increase your property value. Careful preliminary planning will ensure visual integration of your home and yard as a whole. Before you get out the shovel and trowel this spring, consider calling the landscape design professionals at Second Nature Outdoor Living and Landscaping. We will give you a free quote for landscape design, landscape maintenance, and the mundane yard chores that keep you from having the time to enjoy your yard, such as mowing, trimming, fertilizing and pruning. We know you have limited time, so why spend it mowing the grass?

Our goal is to provide you with long-term enjoyment of your home landscape. We have hundreds of happy customers in the greater Kansas City metro area who will confirm the effectiveness of that claim!

Increase Curb Appeal With Front Yard Landscaping

Curb appeal makes a big difference when it comes to the first impression of your house. Not only will it wow the neighborhood and people who come to visit, but it also increases the value of your home. There are many things you can do take your curb appeal, and therefore home value, to the next level. Start your transformation affordably with front yard landscaping.

front yard landscaping

Start With an Interesting Walkway

Everyone has the standard driveway-to-front-door walkway in the area. Homes that have something a little more varied grabs attention and creates a simple wow-factor. You can use pavers or natural stone to create a gradual walkway from your driveway into your house. Short, elevated steps that wind to the front door adds dimension to the front of your house. You can border this walkway with flowers and short shrubs to fill in the space between the house and the walkway.

The important thing to remember when adding a walkway is to make it logical. You don’t want a meandering walkway through your entire front yard to your front door. People will skip your walkway and trudge through your landscaping to your front door. Try to make the walkway at least 36 inches wide, but aim for 54 inches so two people can walk comfortably to the front door. Here is tip: try to make the start of the walkway wider than the rest to make it appear larger.

Add Plants for Texture

You want to add plants around your porch, walkways, driveway, and peppered throughout your front yard to add texture. This is especially important if the front of your house is fairly flat with little detail. Here are some ideas:

  • Use flowers to fill in gaps between bushes, shrubs, and grass plants. While flowers take some care, they add a beautiful element to your front yard landscaping.
  • Try adding potted plants for differentiation in your front yard landscaping.
  • Avoid planting tall plants and bushes in front of windows. Check how tall plants will grow and vary the plant height.
  • Keep shorter plants around doorways and walkways so they don’t rub against people.

Use Trees for Accents

Besides the plants around your home, you also want to break up your front yard with accent trees. You can use traditional Midwest trees or try to go for some more expensive, exotic trees that will thrive in the area. To cut down on the front yard mowing space, you can create islands around your trees. Use a combination of paver stones and mulch or small shade plants around your trees to add definition.

Remember Borders for Porches and Walkways

You can add more detail to your front yard landscaping with well-planned borders around your porch, walkway, and driveway. If you want to use plants for your border, be sure they are low to the ground so they don’t disrupt people who are carrying bags or other hanging items. A good idea is to use pavers and natural stone accents as well as outdoor lighting solutions for borders.

Consider Themes for Front Yard Landscaping

If your house has a certain theme (ie: colonial), you can structure your front yard landscaping around that theme. There are many bushes and flowers that will fit into a home’s design theme. Check out the landscaping theme ideas from HGTV on how to incorporate your home’s theme into your front yard landscaping.