Before & After: Our $200 Exterior Entryway Makeover

After many morning runs around the neighborhood and seeing our neighbors’ landscaping, we knew we needed to step up our game. And with Halloween and the holidays right around the corner, we wanted our home to be a little more presentable. We’ve been talking about it since we moved in May, but now that things have slowed down a bit after the wedding, we finally brought the vision to life.

This was what the entryway looked like when we bought it, during renovations, and post move-in. Not cute.

Our budget was $150. I wanted to keep it modern and low maintenance: a container garden with lush, low-light plants in black pots and white gravel (in anticipation that we’ll be eventually painting the exterior of the house gray).

Pinterest gave me a couple ideas [source 1, source 2 unknown]

Our first haul from Home Depot cost $160. This included 9 bags of white marble chips, 7 low-light plants, 1 large bag of potting soil, and 5 containers.

Plants purchased included a snake plant, ivy, and croton petra, to name a few.

We started by shoveling the layers of dust and debris into the garbage can. And let me tell you, it was dusty. We had to wear goggles and face masks. In the process, we unearthed nails, glass, and seashells — remnants of the previous owners’ attempt at landscaping.

Then we leveled the dirt with a rake and Alex power washed the dusty sides of the house and walkways. After it dried, he placed a layer of cardboard over the dirt to keep the dust a little more controlled. And then he poured all nine bags of gravel over it. It only covered half of the entryway area so it was time for another Home Depot run! This second trip cost about $60 (9 more bags of gravel, another bag of potting soil, and 4 more plant containers). So in total, we spent just a little over $200 and 3 hours.


About a third of the plants were ones we already owned and propagated, like the succulents and Queen of the Night leaves that my dad gave me in July. We still need more gravel for a tiny bit of the walkway and the curb area, but we’re so happy with the improvement!

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