If your one of my five loyal readers, you already know that I have been doing some serious landscaping planning this year. I consulted with five different landscapers to get their thoughts on how to address the dirty shaded chunk of yard I’ve been looking at since I bought the house.
After on-site consults, each sent me vague ideas on what they’d do and attached to their email a high price tag (likely a perfectly respectable one for the work being proposed but I’m still trying to wrap my brain around how much things cost when you’re a grown up and no longer using Monopoly money). My favorite company had the most extensive idea; till the area below the tree so the soil is usable and the roots aren’t impinging on new growth, add new soil, make some rock-like retaining walls, add rhodies and hosta and ground cover. All for the bargain price of OH MY GOD ARE YOU KIDDING ME I COULD BUY A CAR WITH THAT!?
Forget all of you I’ll do it myself. Wait, no, that’s a terrible idea.
I stressed about the project and weighed the pros and cons, and would always end up back at That part of the yard looks like garbage and how long are you going to live with that? and I knew that however I did the project, it would be a good investment.
Mr Architect (my dad) volunteered to draw up plans for the raised beds because nothing says love like carefully plotting out a landscaping project for your daughter and then having every inch questioned by her because SHE’S BEEN OBSESSING ABOUT THIS FOR WEEKS AND SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE’S TALKING ABOUT (except not entirely) AND WHAT SHE WANTS (this is a fact).
Here’s my thing. I am very wary of working for and with family and friends. It’s just a thing. I’ve had situations in the past where I have hired friends to do stuff and it didn’t go so well. The last thing I want is to not like something Dad draws up and then hurt his feelings/drive him batshit (my term, not his) because I’m a very particular person and a somewhat pain in the ass. I get thinking about a flaw, real or imagined, and I completely obsess about the flaw and feel that it must be fixed immediately for something awful (small pox outbreak? I have no idea) may happen. And then I remember he raised me and likely knows this about me. So I told him to go ahead with drawing something up.
My plan for my yard was to have subtle tiers/raised beds running along the fence so I could plant some stuff and stop the yard from looking like a scene from Mad Max whenever Harlow runs through it. I thought they should come out about 6 feet from the fence. Then this is what Dad sent (“post” in this sketch refers to the fence posts, to help you get your bearings).
It is thoughtful. It is dramatic. It is way more than my fear-of-change, anxious-in-the-face-of-a-commitment heart could handle. I was very honest “I don’t want to hurt your feelings but I also don’t want to be cursing you later when I’m trying to keep all that land looking good with my poisonous thumb.” (this was a paraphrase, really, but you get the idea).
I listed a few other concerns, but the big one was the massive maple tree which drops so many leaves in the fall. Getting those leaves out of such a wide area – an area that can’t be raked – will make me cranky to say the least.
It was decided that each bed would come out about eight feet from the fence. Later in the evening, the drawing would pass through my consciousness and the more daring part of me would think, actually, it could be really amazing the way Dad drew it up, oh wait the leaves I forgot the leaves nevermind.
Dad came by to mark out the yard for Fabiano, and I helped while asking annoying questions to try to understand and visualize how this would look in the end. I didn’t have to work hard to keep in tune to my particular ways – when we marked the distance from the fence to the first “wall” (or really, massive plank of wood) which runs parallel to the fence, I crinkled my nose. There was about six to eight inches of space between the plank and the fence which Dad said would be filled with all the crazy rock that was dug up during the tilling process. To cut to the chase I made a stink and asked him to move the markers four inches closer so the gap of stone would be smaller.
I can hear what a nuisance I am, but I can’t seem to control it. But now, I LOVE that space between the fence and the wood planks!