Summer of Yard Improvement 2017

As I write this, a chipper young woman is about eight feet from me, painting the exterior trim on my window. I would be watching tv on my laptop, except she can see what I’m doing through the window, and that makes me feel like a bourgeois a-hole, whereas if I’m typing I could be “working.” Right? Right! Like one of those amazing moms who works from home while somehow also looking after a kid!

This is the summer I hire people to do the work I can’t do myself. There are so many projects that I’ve never gotten around to, and after eight years in my house (and with a seven-month old), it’s time to admit defeat. So I hired painters, and landscapers, and next up is arborists to clear out the disastrous weedy Manitoba Maples in the back 40 and hopefully create a usable space back there. At first I felt guilty and discouraged about all of this, because I had to admit that I’m not the DIY-capable pioneer woman type I imagine myself as. But then several twenty-two year olds showed up and fixed my entire front yard in two days and now it makes me smile every time I walk past it or look out the window. So never mind the guilt, shall we?


Here’s the before picture I sent to the landscaping companies I talked to. (It’s a little wobbly and weird because I took it with the panorama feature on my phone.) About three years ago, we had our sewer line from the house to the front street replaced. It’s on the other side of the yard (on the right of the sidewalk in this picture), but they took everything that was on that side and piled it up on this side. Including a cedar tree they had to take down. It was never that nice to begin with, but at least it looked like our house was inhabited, instead of like it was one of those foreclosed houses in a swamp from a documentary about the mortgage crisis. The day I came home from work and saw the pile of rocks, dirt, cedar branches and junk all piled up I started to cry. It was sad, Internet. It looked like a bomb had gone off. And the bomb was made of branches and dirt. And failure.

So then a couple years went by and I didn’t have the time and energy to tackle this project all at once, the way it needed to be tackled. I would weed and then a few days later it would look like nothing had been done. I had the great idea of taking one empty Burnco bag and putting it INSIDE another empty Burnco bag (thus reducing the number of unsightly Burnco bags in our front yard by 50%!) which, I still maintain, was a great idea. And then I got pregnant and spent a whole summer with nausea and viral laryngitis. And then I had a baby and realized I was never going to get anything done ever again, except maybe when he does to university, IF he goes somewhere away from home. So then I hired a landscaping company.



Are my phone’s advanced camera features making you dizzy yet? I KNOW! EXCITING, ISN’T IT?

The right-hand side was mostly done, but the landscapers planted new goji berries in the stock trough on the far right, and cleaned up the weeds around the existing rocks and mulch to make it look real tidy, like a yard in a glossy magazine called Fancy Tiny Yards.


And on the left-hand side, they completely fixed everything. They took away the garbage. They dug up the old, weedy grass. They dug up two new beds between the hedge and the sidewalk that I showed in a previous post. They put down a tiny area of grass where next year my toddler will be able to toddle. They took the weeping caragana tree that was falling over (the people who fixed the sewer line bumped into it with the stock trough) and straightened it back up and this year it bloomed. Basically, they made everything look beautiful, the way the yard of a person with a fancy cameraphone should look. And thus began my summer of Paying People To Do Things I Am Never Going To Get Around To. Feel free to celebrate along with me, Internet. It’s a very freeing feeling, in two senses: first, it will free you from your guilt; second, it will free you from your money, which is probably not making you a better person anyway, right?

20170616_092527Room to toddle.

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