Small Drawing, Big Changes

I've been a homeowner for seven years now. In that time, I've had numerous failed attempts at creating my dream backyard. I have this vision in my head of a hybrid Japanese zen garden and small scale English garden. I envisioned a multi-level garden with large Japanese maples, huge hostas, and a wide variety of shade and sun flowers sprinkling along the ground up to the concrete patio. I wanted hiding spots for the neighborhood wildlife, and sweet smelling plants to attract birds and butterflies. However, in all the years of trial and error, I've learned that there are some things in this world I cannot do. Gardening and maintaining my backyard... being one of them.

Earlier this year, we (meaning my husband and I) discussed what we really wanted in a backyard. We decided that in order to get to where we wanted, we needed to bring in the professionals. So, after months of calling around, we hired a landscaper. The first thing they do, is come out and get a feel for the yard, what it looks like; they listen to what you say and what you envision it becoming. And I learned, that if you have images of plants or even a rough mock up of what you want... you can help them come up with ideas that fit your budget.

Before the landscaper arrived, I roughly sketched out one version of the backyard as I saw it in my mind. The drawing came complete with images of trees, flowers, bushes, rock and path-stone. On the first visit with the landscaper, I explained the issues with the soil and light and then showed him my drawing and spoke about my concept. He smiled and said that we could do whatever I wanted. So I asked him to take what I drew and come up with a few ideas of his own. Two days later, he had improved on my ideas (and diagram) and came up with a nice design for our backyard that didn't seem too overwhelming. It even left room for my own personal touches. Which was exactly what I wanted. I wanted them to do the initial design and most of the hard work (like removing the grass) so that I could spend more time enjoying the yard rather than cursing at it.

They finished the job yesterday. It took them a total of three days. And I'm loving the change. When I walk on the patio, there's no grass to make me itch or sneeze. We're already talking about what we want to do next (build a pergola, plant some wisteria and plant a second Japanese maple bush). However, it IS going to take some getting used to. For example, I've already sprained my wrist. Yesterday, I was attending to the flower beds that I didn't have 'scaped. I guess pulling weeds for 3 hours wasn't my best idea.

Which is why I'm not writing the article on what I originally planned to write this week. But fear not, I have a juicy review of a great book to add to your summer reading program in the works for next week! But if you'll excuse me, I need to ice my wrist and wrap it up again.

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