Yard Dreaming

My husband and I approach things very differently. I get a great idea, dive into it, and have about a 50% success rate when it comes to completing or otherwise making something attractive and well-functioning. It’s not that my ideas aren’t good – I think one of my strong points is that I have a really keen eye for beauty and/or functionality.

But the truth is, I am not a details person. At all. I either don’t think through everything or I choose to ignore details in hopes that everything will just fall into place. I’m a terrible planner, and typically I get midway through something and run into a roadblock, or  I get to the end after being somewhat whilly-nilly about the whole thing and feel pretty letdown about the end result.

Which is why I am thankful to have someone like Jason around – he is extremely detailed and careful and some of the best projects we’ve done have been a combination of my inspiration and his ability to plan it out. In the past, I used to fee like his caution and analyzing would squash my creativity and I’d end up getting frustrated about that. I think we’re learning to reach a good balance – he knows that when I get inspired it’s important for me to at least try something, and I know that his careful thinking isn’t an attempt to dissuade my enthusiasm, but can actually make something better in the end. That’s how it played out when we painted the main rooms – I was excited to get some “us” colors on the walls, and he made sure we did everything correctly (scraping, caulking, sanding, priming, etc). The end result is amazing.

I’ve been a bit “fly by the seat of my pants” about the gardens, especially digging up new areas. Jason was doing other projects inside throughout most of the last summer/fall, and a lot of the yard work was done by me. After breaking sod for three new gardens, I’m now starting to realize that I need to have a bigger picture in place if I want a functional AND attractive potager. In addition to food gardens, there are some landscaping things I would like to do around the yard but don’t really know where or how.

Jason had an idea to measure and map out our yard and create a graph that we could lay different designs over. So, in January, even though it was FREEZING cold outside, he enthusiastically (no sarcasm here!) went out with his tape measure and notepad and measured the whole thing – every angle, every tree canopy, every existing garden space. He came back inside with three pages of measurements, which he proceeded to translate into an areal graph of our property. From now on when we want to add something to the yard or do some landscaping, we can draw it out on vellum and lay it over the graph to see how it looks.

He also built a sort of light box out of scrap materials he found in the garage. We lay the original drawing on top of a piece of clear plastic, add a new sheet on top of it, and turn on a portable lamp behind the whole thing. Pretty neat, if you ask me! I especially like that he used materials we had lying around.

That is so awesome and exciting to me – and totally not something I would have done in a hundred years! I’ve been saving photos of designs that I like, and last Saturday we got to sit down together and draw some of them out. We tentatively made plans for:

  • A sitting area in front of the house which is currently just ugly, scrubby bushes. We’ll move our porch swing out there, after replacing the rotted wood and repainting the frame (bye-bye, ugly faded green! Hello firebrick red!). Jason also has plans for a large wooden planter that I’ll likely plant with annuals to attract pollinators. And finally, I will be constructing a trellis or teepee from the birch branches we cut last month, and growing some flowering vines. I’m excited to have a welcoming front yard! Long term, we’d like to build a porch but digging up the ugly bushes and laying down woodchips will be a nice temporary solution
  • A rockin’ firepit and pergola where the existing slab of concrete sits in the backyard. Jason even looked at fire pit ideas on Pinterest. And really, for him to look at anything on Pinterest is unusual. He must be excited!
  • A south-facing garden next to the driveway that will be used for flowering annuals in the summer and a cold frame/winter garden in colder months.
  • Timber and pea gravel steps along the garage, leading to the edible garden area. Currently, it’s a soupy, muddy mess of a slope. There’s a few large pavers laid down but they’re slowly sinking into the mire. That area has TERRIBLE drainage; it’s been a pain to slop through their with the wheelbarrow.

Realistically, we may only be able to do one or two of these projects this year. We’re going to start with the front sitting area and see how that goes. In the meantime, I’ve taken to saving photos of landscape designs that I like, to keep the inspiration flowing.


One Comment to “Yard Dreaming”

  1. Can I borrow your husband for a few days? I’d like him to come and layout my yard as well 🙂

    This is awesome I hope you get a good chunk of it done this year!

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