Outdoor spaces where I’ve lived haven’t been all that functional. I blame myself. Once the gardening bug bit me, I viewed every residence before moving in more for garden potential than anything else.
I fell in love with plants and, as I’ve been known to do, went overboard — three times, including in a duplex I rented — cramming each new variety I couldn’t live without anywhere I could find a spot. Other than mowing, checking out all the different kinds of flowers has been pretty much the only thing to do in any yard of mine ever since.
The garden I just abandoned contains more than 600 varieties. Sixteen years ago when I bought the place, I visualized a garden worthy of a spot on the hoity-toity ladies’ garden tour that I never came close to realizing. Deer, drought, fire ants, and Bermuda grass conspired against me. Throw in heat, humidity, budget constraints, and the size of the yard, and I never stood a chance.
Even so, the quantity of flora alone made for an interesting walk just about any time of year, the length of which varied with the season and the heat index. But sitting out in the garden, while doable, wasn’t very enjoyable. The peculiar lot lacked even a sliver of privacy. Landscaping helped, but only so much. The blazing afternoon sun made sitting outside after a day at the office unbearable. Never mind the mosquitos.
Here in my new house, the morning sun streaming through my windows highlights each and every mote of dust on my dark hardwood floors. Every Saturday and Sunday morning after the sun comes up, I have to run the vacuum cleaner before I can relax. My cousin in Atlanta is the same way. We’re convinced it’s genetic, though perhaps, recessive.
My complaining about the morning sun ceased the first afternoon I sat on my shady patio. A double wall of six-foot privacy fencing separates me from the neighbors on either side. Every house in our neighborhood backs up to one of several green spaces, two or three acres in size and covered with mostly pine trees. The covenants require a four foot easement between each house for access — so no shared fencing.
I could walk around my backyard in my birthday suit. Not that I would, because sure as I did, I’d lock myself out of the house or something.
Wearing at least my running shorts, I’ve spent more time sitting on the back patio here than I ever sat outside with all my previous residences, combined. The landscape needs work — I hope to post “before” and “after” pictures sometime in the next month or two when I’m done. Annuals only for the summer.
Come fall, I’m hoping to work with a professional landscape designer to transform the little yard into the paradise I know it can be. Though private, because the yards are small, I can hear what’s going on around me. A big, loud water feature will solve that problem. A year from now, you won’t recognize the place.