We created the yard out front mostly for special occasions. It is large enough for us to have a full size show ring. We've used it for practice and actual AKC Sanctioned Matches. It also provided an area where the dogs can run free.
The gate above right was custom made for us. The silhouette is of our Joy, CCh. Ch. Woebgon's Kickapoo Joy Juice, ROM.
The piece of property we bought included a massive area out in front of the house. It sloped toward the street and wasn't very useful for the dogs or us.
After talking with our landscape contractor we designed an area out front that was big enough to hold small dog shows and would be a great area for the dogs to run around. He had his crew do some minor grading to make a flat place and planted grass seed. Later we added a short vinyl ranch style fence with wire mesh to keep the dogs in and it helps keep bunnies out.
The resulting yard with the added short fence has become a great place for the dogs. We've had several practice sessions out there, hosted several fun matches and both the Basset Hound Club of Southern California, Inc. and the Greater San Diego Basset Hound Club have held AKC Sanctioned B Matches out there as well.
We've been able keep our front lawn going in the current California drought. When we had it put in our landscaper used the latest in water saving sprinkler technology and we only water it at night. The lawn and fence really add some curb appeal to the property too.
Looking at our front yard today it's hard to remember what it was like when we bought the property. Back then it took a lot of vision to get where we are today. At this point in time we both wondered and dreamed about what could come.
Getting to what we have today also took a lot of money and work. The picture above just shows the initial clearing of the land and installing some drainage. Grading for our lawn area, irrigation and planting came later.
After the initial grading our first step to creating a front yard space was to fence in the whole front of our property. Due to the high cost for iron fencing we limited it to along our driveway and used black chainlink for the rest. We lived with the dirt lot out front for quite a while after we moved in. We finally found a landscaper to work with and then he had to schedule the job.
I didn't take any pictures during the regrading and instillation of the front yard area. We were very busy at the time with dog shows and other projects.
Our contractor installed some drainage for the property and graded the front space to get rid of the weeds. As seen here it was just a dirt lot when he finished.
These are views of the finished lawn space after the grass grew and before we had the inner white fence installed. Due to the high cost of sod we had the lawn installed by hydro-seeding the space. It turned out to be an excellent decision. The mixture of grass that was put in has proved to be a great choice for the space and the dogs.
Eventually we had a short vinyl fence added to surround the grass area. Inside they added a screen mesh that keeps the dogs from squeezing out under or between the rails. We've noticed that it also seems to limit the number of bunnies that munch on the lawn each night.
Over close to the driveway we had a double gate built into the fence. This allows access for our gardeners and people with their dogs when we have events out front. The gate is wide enough for us to have a vehicle out on the grass if that ever was needed.
On the side away from the driveway we added another gate for access to the two storage bins we placed out front. Thes bins store all the things we need if we have a dog match out front or want to practice with our dogs between shows.
Another gate just like this was placed at the farthest point in the fence away from the walkway down from the house. It's come in handy when we've had matches out front. And, the fourth gate is the custom one shown above that is at the end of the walk leading to the house to the lawn.
Shortly after the lawn was in and had become hardy enough for the dogs we used it for some practice with our puppies from Joy's second litter. They were the first litter that we had in this house.
When they were older we invited several other breeders to bring their litters over for a fun match. As you can see this was before we added the white fence around the lawn. It turned out to be a fun day and showed us that we could hold dog events out there with very little effort.
About a year later both of the Southern California basset hound clubs held AKC sanctioned matches on our front lawn. One club held their match in the morning. We took a lunch break up at the house and then the other club held their match.
When Caicos came out from Florida we decided to have another fun match while his breeder, Jeffie, was still here. It gave us a chance to see how he could do and also gave some of our friends a chance to do the same with their litters.
Jeffie was trying to get Caicos to stack for her on the ramp.
Pam got a great picture of Caicos going around the ring.
Several times during the day we let all the dogs run our dog yards. A few times we've let them out in the front. Because of the fencing we don't need to worry about where they go or what they get into. It also prevents some possible issues when our neighbor next door let her dogs out in her yard. The dogs have a great time. Yes, that's Heidi leading the way in a game of chase. Several times she had all the bassets chasing after her. It was a lot of fun to watch.
This is how the front lawn area looked a few years ago. The trees we planted next to the it were starting to provide some shade. We're able to keep all this alive even with our water restrictions because of good planning by our landscaper when the irrigation was installed. More recently we've even had to thin out some of the trees because they got too big.