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Yard of the Month

Newton Yard of the Month awarded to James and Brenda Osborne

Make a Yard of the Month nomination!

NEWTON, N.C. – The Newton Appearance Commission presented James and Brenda Osborne with the Yard of the Month honor for the month of June.

The Osbornes’ property in Nottingham Estates slopes gently downward from their home to the intersection of Chelsea Lane and Kensington Circle. The path from the driveway to the front door is adorned by a dwarf Japanese maple, variegated liriope, assorted shrubbery, and vibrant bursts of purple stokesia. A three-tiered fountain babbles beside the house.

Collette Touchette, Appearance Commission chair, said the Osbornes were selected for Yard of the Month not only for the flora in their lawn, but also for of the whimsical decorations—statuary, birdhouses, wind chimes and flags—placed among the flowers and trees.

“They add some fun to the yard, but they’re not too much,” Touchette said.

In 2008 the Osbornes moved to Newton from South Carolina to live closer to their daughter. The couple brought several plants from their South Carolina home to decorate their new yard in Newton, including the Japanese maple at the front door, another Japanese maple at the rear of the home, and bushes that were originally transplanted from her father’s home in Kentucky.

The Osbornes refer to a hand-drawn map of their lawn that indicates the placement of each species in relation to the others in order to keep track of which plants are planted where.

“Placement makes a big difference,” Brenda Osborne said, as she pointed toward one of the many calla lilies that dot her flower beds. Whether you have a sunny yard, a shady yard, or something in between, she said it’s important to check the recommendations before you buy a new plant to make sure it will thrive in the specific conditions of your yard.

James Osborne said he tries to keep the yard as low maintenance as possible. Many of the varieties in the Osbornes’ yard resist drought. Because they have frequent visits from deer, the Osbornes opted for several deer-resistant plant species. The couple planted tomatoes and peppers against the side of their home in lieu of a separate vegetable garden, which helps keep foraging animals at bay. Where steeper parts of the yard make mowing difficult, beds anchored by crepe myrtles and rose bushes to ensure the Osbornes can maintain a beautiful lawn without the hazards of mowing steep inclines.

Photos of the Osbornes’ lawn are available on the city of Newton’s Facebook page.

If you know someone whose yard deserves recognition, the Appearance Commission continues to accept Yard of the Month nominations. Commission members will choose a Yard of the Month each month through August. Selection will be based on landscaping and overall aesthetics.

To nominate a yard, visit There you’ll find the complete rules and entry form in the Recent News and Events section under Yard of the Month.

For more information about Yard of the Month, email Appearance Commission Chair Collette Touchette.

Newton Yard of the MonthNewton Appearance Commission Chair Collette Touchette (left) presents the Newton Yard of the Month honor to James and Brenda Osborne.

The Newton Appearance Commission makes a careful study of the visual problems and needs of the city and the area comprising the extra-territorial jurisdiction of the city. The commission makes plans and carries out any programs that will enhance and improve the visual quality and aesthetic characteristics of the city. Members are appointed by the City Council.