What a $40K Landscaping Design and Exterior Remodel Looks Like

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In Renovator’s Notebook, homeowners open up about the nitty-gritty of their remodels: how long it really took, how much it actually cost, what went horribly wrong, and what went wonderfully, serendipitously, it’s-all-worth-it-in-the-end right.

When Meredith Marshall, a principal in renovation company Milkshake Los Angeles, learned about a 1,100-square-foot, Spanish-style home for sale in the West Adams neighborhood of L.A., she was eager to scope it out. But when Marshall pulled up, she discovered there wasn’t a whole lot to look at. “Even when I got up close to the house, I couldn’t truly see it,” she says, recalling two monstrous palm trees, each one around five feet in diameter, crowding the front steps. The only silver lining: The giant plants (mostly) covered up the bad black paint job. 

It took 10 people, one small bulldozer, and a few hours to dig out the stumps (the roots were causing issues

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