We have observed the house at 2218 Brooktree since late 2007 when the house went into foreclosure. At that time the house and the landscape was a disaster. The front sidewalk was gone and the indention where it used to be was filled with dead sod. Whatever plants were there were overgrown or dead.
Less than three years after Vonda and Sean Bonte bought the run down property in December 2007, the house has been completely remodeled with new siding, new roof, new windows, new carport, a new wrought iron gate across the driveway, new gameroom/entertainment area in the back yard and a new salt water swimming pool, new outdoor kitchen, three pallets St. Augustine sod and new landscaping. The house was not habitable when they bought the house but they started the remodeling process and moved into the house on July 1, 2008. The Bonte’s have two sons, Kenneth age 14 and Mitchell age 12. The two boys do the lawn maintenance. Sean who is an electrician did a lot of the remodeling work himself. Vonda grew up in Lazybrook. Her parents live on Watercrest.
Today this home stands out in Lazybrook as a prime example of what updating can do to a 1960’s Lazybrook house. The new landscape was designed and planted by the homeowners. They purchased all the plants in the neighborhood at Lowes, Home Depot and Garden World. When Vonda and Sean went looking for plants, they wanted plants native to the area and plants that were maintenance free. They chose five Italian Cypress trees about four feet tall and spaced them across the front of the house. They created curved beds and in the beds they planted a variety of plants including Dwarf Indian Hawthorne, Variegated Pittosporum, Mexican Heather and Foxtail Fern. At the left end of the bed they planted a tall Callistemon or Bottlebrush and at the right end of the bed near the driveway they planted a Sago Palm. Across the front of the beds, they planted clumps of Aztec Grass which is a variety of Giant Liriope with very distinctive green and white striped foliage. Their St. Augustine grass is greener than any other yard on Brooktree and when asked about how they kept it so green, Vonda an Sean said they watered a lot but they do not fertilize the St. Augustine. The sidewalk in the front yard is new and connects the driveway with the front door. As the concrete curves toward the door the sidewalk gradually gets wider until it forms a welcoming entrance to the home.
The driveway has been widened by adding about a foot of white gravel on each side of the existing driveway. Sean has started gathering the pine straw which falls from the large pine trees in the front yard. He is wisely using the straw as mulch in the flower beds. This is a mulch which is free, attractive and very effective in controlling weeds.