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A house surrounded by landscaping that includes a small fountain and a concrete bench
A house surrounded by landscaping that includes a small fountain and a concrete bench
The newly designed front yard features a fountain, concrete benches, an outdoor dining room, and plenty of hardy plants.

In 2017, self-employed entrepreneurs, Drew and Tarah MacAlmon, bought their forever home in Colorado Springs, CO. The yard, however, was anything but forever. “It would be an exaggeration to even call it a ‘yard’, as it was just a nondescript, boring area that we had to look at to get into our home,” says Tarah. 

Tarah had long followed Yardzen and had no doubts she wanted to work with us making her dream yard become a reality. With a background in design, she had a good idea of what she wanted, but craved the reassurance of Yardzen’s expert designers.

A house surrounded by dirt
Before the makeover: a dilapidated retaining wall and nothing but dirt.
A house with gravel landscaping, pavers, and a concrete bench.
After: Ample usable space for the family to congregate and enjoy.

The vision

The yard certainly had potential: Nestled in a ponderosa pine forest up a hill, it has spectacular views. But the site had its challenges too: While they loved the house-in-the-woods vibe, they craved more sunlight and a spot to congregate. While not the most exciting of improvements, they needed help expanding the driveway and parking and dealing with intense slope changes due to the property being built on a hill (including the construction of a 95-foot-long retaining wall!). They also live in a unique climate where winters are harsh, summers are hot, and there is plenty of wildlife that wants to eat the plantings. Because of that, Tarah knew she needed a space that had both form and function. As a plant lover, Tarah wanted to go heavy on the flora. “We wanted something pretty to look at that would be hardy and come back year after year,” she explains.

the side of a house with gravel path and landscaping.
A wide gravel path leads to an outdoor dining room.

The design process

What she loved about working with Yardzen was the ability to use the design as a roadmap for the future. In their case, they went with some cost effective materials, like gravel, forgoing more expensive pavers—for now. Tarah knows that down the road, she can always replace the gravel with pavers should they want. “We can enjoy it for what it is currently and continue to make improvements as we are able,” she says, “And with Yardzen providing such a solid roadmap, we know where we are headed, regardless of how long it takes.” 

A small water feature in a planting bed, surrounded by ornamental grasses and other plants.
A birdbath sits amongst ornamental grasses and hardy perennials.

The build

“We are builders and doers so we were ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work,” says Tarah. They accomplished the work with a mix of contractors and their own labor, iterating as they went. For example, when they couldn’t find a concrete bench they loved, Drew built a mold and had the concrete crew pour some extra concrete when they came to pour the driveway. “It turned out beautifully,” says Tarah, “And our kids stamped their handprints in one of the bench legs, so that’s a fun little hidden gem.”

a small fountain in the foreground with a gravel path in the background.
Having a fountain was a requirement for Tarah MacAlmon’s front yard remodel.

The final results

They couldn’t be more pleased with the how the front yard turned out. “The project came from the place of absolute need,” says Tarah, but it evolved into finding ways to add beauty to functional spaces. They have two nooks—a dining area for family dinners as well as a bench and fountain, all surrounded by hardy, deer-resistant plantings which come back strong each spring.  

While they had to put the majority of the budget into concrete, asphalt, and retaining walls, they’ve found ways to even enjoy those spaces. “We are just a foot or two short of a whole pickleball court, so we bought a net and have spent hours and hours out front, playing.”

patio with outdoor dining table
The family now has a spot to enjoy eating outdoors.


Yardzen’s award-winning online landscaping design is tailored to clients across all fifty states in the U.S., from Colorado to Connecticut. Our design process begins with understanding your space, your aesthetic preferences, and a discussion of your budget and vision to minimize surprises when it comes time to build.

Our top-notch designers then develop a personalized vision for your yard, shared through 3D renderings, 2D plan drawings, and plant and material lists. Your design will capture the look, feel, and function you are hoping for, all while keeping costs within range.

Once your design is complete, we’ll help you connect with a local contractor from our Pro Network of vetted professional landscapers to install your new design.

Ready to level up the landscaping of your front yard, backyard, or other outdoor space? Create your design profile or explore our design packages today!

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