So today is really actually a pretty nice day. Aside from the fact that this December could not have been less Christmassy, the weather has been basically awesome and has reminded me why I can never leave California and why we live here. I do love sunshine.
Normally it starts raining in November and it doesn’t stop till March or April or like last year, July. (Shudder). This is terrible because we’re trapped in our house and it’s wet and muddy and depressing but one benefit of that rainy and gross weather is that we can ignore what our backyard looks like for six or seven months even when when what it looks like is horrible.
And this year it’s been so nice and every time I come out into the backyard in the sunshine it puts me in a really really bad mood. It just looks SO DAMN TERRIBLE.
Now, make no mistake, the back yard got pimped a while back and damn, did it look AMAZING. For five minutes.
And then my children and my dog and my husband did their thing, and now most of the time how it look s is “stressful.” Stressfully awful. It needs SO MUCH WORK all the time and I just don’t have the time or the inclination to add another giant pile of work to my life. I have to spend every waking minute of my life cleaning my house and doing laundry. The last thing on earth that I need is something else to clean.
What I want most from my backyard is to be able to sit around in it and read a book while I drink a tall diet coke and my children play, so this year my number one most important goal in life is to make this backyard work for us so that it is not a giant source of stress in my life. It really needs to function as a playroom and another living room for us and when it’s screaming “I am a mess” at me it really negatively affects my quality of life. So here’s what I am planning to do as soon as spring starts springing and as soon as my bank account has recovered from Christmas 2012.
All that stupid black mulch has got to go. Black mulch plus a light colored patio is just a recipe for disaster. I spent weeks carting bags of mulch into the yard last year, and it was so much work and then it all washed away and got tracked all over the patio and I still haven’t figured out what you’re supposed to do when leaves fall all over black mulch. Do you…rake them up? It makes no sense. Anyway, the black mulch is all going goodbye and we’ll put a bunch more grass back in and I know this is not eco friendly and I do not care. Grass just makes way more sense for us.
Last year I tried to make a nice flower border but it was so much work and most of the time it looked awful. This year if I find a low maintenance bush or tree or one of those nice flowering shrubs that they always have at Home Depot that says something about low maintenance and low water (I think most of them are from Australia) I am going to grab it and plop it in the yard. We will still have a vegetable garden, but I am not going to worry about a flower border. Plants that make my life easier? Yes please. Fussy annuals? No thank you.
I am also wondering if I might experiment with garden boxes in the cement driveway. I have a big space where I could put these, but I am not sure how plants grow when the boxes are placed on top of cement (rather than over dirt). Does anyone have any experience with this?
I want to get a big giant piece of plywood and paint it with chalkboard paint and hang it on the fence that runs on one side of the driveway. If I hang it on hooks I can move it into the garage when it starts to rain, and I think my kids could get some serious entertainment from this. Something like this, but on hooks so I can move it in the winter.
We have a neighborhood happy hour almost every Friday in the summer. I want to DIY something like this table from West Elm so that I can just drop it into my front yard at 4:45. I love the way the one from West Elm looks but I think I can make it for way cheaper than that.
Finally, I am going to outfit the backyard in every piece of furniture I think we need. We made some progress on furniture for the past two years, but we still need more sitting stuff. (Remember, I need to do some serious sitting around in this backyard.) So I think we need two more adirondack chairs, at least one lounger, two more dining chairs, a dining bench, some furniture for the side yard that we can also use at Happy Hour, and a set of lounge furniture (like outdoor living room furniture instead of outdoor dining room furniture.) So Cost Plus for the adirondacks, IKEA for the dining stuff, and I found a set of OSH stuff last year that hopefully I can find again this year, for the lounge stuff.
At least lately I have found myself asking “Does this make my life easier” most of the time, whether it’s about furniture or pre addressed Christmas cards and hopefully all these ideas will work because I am really tired of being stressed out every time I walk outside. If anyone else has any tips for me regarding things you have done to make yard work or backyard maintenance less work, I would really appreciate it.
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