Backyard Buddies

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Where to start? I loved our old backyard. There, I said it.

Yes, it was filled with old plants and there was a big mound of mossy, grassy stuff around the tree in the middle that needed some work. But it was lovely. Very natural, with a circular flow of beds around the perimeter, ample shade, and a mature citrus tree which bore edible tangerines.

You may be thinking, why in the world would you disrupt that backyard? Or, did your husband make you do it? Well, let me tell you, it was me. As Zoe began to toddle around, we watched her try to navigate that lovely-to-look-at backyard, with its pokey old grass and uneven spots (even a sinkhole of sorts in one corner). And I decided we should have a backyard she could play in.

Let’s say the backyard we have today was a compromise. My husband wanted astroturf (call it what you want, “artificial grass” or whatever, but it’s astroturf). He went so far as to get samples of lovely “look how real it looks” astroturf, which he made the mistake of leaving out in the sun… Let me tell you how hot plastic gets in 90-degree weather. Not to worry, said the salesman, just hose it down before you go on it. HA.

I wanted GRASS. Fluffy-under-your-feet grass, just right for toddling and running and playing badminton (omg, I just realized how “bad-mitten” is spelled). Anyway, I got my grass – or as I like to look at it, Zoe got hers.

We selected a contractor to do the work for us, but my husband scoped out our new angular backyard, with NO right angles (and no circles…), surrounded by “DG” (decomposed granite, for backyard dummies like me). As it turned out, Bart’s wonderful parents and brother Greg did A LOT of the work, removing plants, installing lighting and a steel edging, transplanting the plants we were keeping (sometimes more than once), and keeping our contractor in line. It was a major undertaking which took weeks, many of which we stared at a flat dirt plot of land.

I lost a citrus tree… In fairness, it’s roots were exposed and it would have gone sooner or later, and an avocado tree (who knew they’d grow 60-80 feet high?) but still. In exchange, Zoe and I got a vegetable garden where we planted tomatoes, zucchini, an artichoke, melons, a pumpkin, and some herbs. Well, Zoe helped with the first three then decided she’d had enough gardening.

Instead of the lush, “green stuff flowing everywhere” backyard we had, our backyard looks a lot more “groomed”, but I’ll take it. I’ve never had a new backyard, so I didn’t realize how everything would look as it “grows out” like a new haircut. But last night, as Zoe chased me giggling around the yard on our flat, even, fluffy grass, I know we made the right choice.

Here’s to many many many days and nights enjoying our new backyard! (yes, honey, I left out the “our contractor can’t seem to fix the leak” story and the fact we haven’t seen our first water bill yet, but I think I hit the high points) And if you’re in the neighborhood, please stop by!

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