Backyard Makeover Needed


Last week, I managed to snap a few photos of the gorgeous pink trees peeking over our backyard fence. I am glad I did. Their fresh Spring pink has already dulled to a dark, mauve. The tree at the right-hand of that photo burst into fluffy, white blooms a few days ago — and the parade moves on.

I gushed about Spring last year when everything felt new to us up here in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, I thought that maybe this time I’d be less impressed.

However, now we are in a house as opposed to a high-rise apartment. We’re closer to the trees and bushes and flowers then we ever got from our balcony, and it feels more intimate and personal. Even though these are my neighbor’s trees — they feel like mine somehow, too. The view from my second story window looks right onto their huge, pink boughs.

For a few really glorious days, we had a lot of sunshine and wind, and outside, the pink petals drifted by the window like snowflakes.


And that’s about where the fantasy ends. I know. I hate to burst the bubble.

Apparently, we are supposed to mow the lawn and pull weeds and, eh-hem, repair that fence. We try not to make eye contact with the neighbors. Did you notice the boards all askew in that top photo? The other side of the yard is worse — the whole fence up and keeled over.

I try to have a sense of humor about the never-ending list of things to maintain. I am so grateful to have discovered the writings of Gladys Taber last year. I hear her wise words and laughter in my head when I think about the chores and rhythms of the seasons. I look out back, and think — oh, this summer, we’ll build a new fence and landscape those beds and re-paint our deck and, and, and… The reality will be much less productive than that. There will be hot days sitting outside with Popsicles – too warm to think straight let alone do any physical labor.

I was asked to write about waking up your outdoor space with 5 personalized art projects (at P&G Everyday) and that was so much more my style. Let’s just decorate instead. I’ll paint a nice faux rug on that deck, and everyone will forget about the fence.

Right on cue, it has started to rain. I guess we’ll table this discussion for later. We don’t really have to get started yet, do we? What about you — any outdoor projects you’re planning to tackle this year? (Balconies and apartment steps count in my book!)

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