Little by Little… backyard dreaming

Aside from having children, one of the biggest financial decisions my husband and I have made so far is buying our first home. It’s amazing how much that process made us really look at so many variables in life and express what some of our priorities were.

For instance, location: do we stay super close to one part of our support system? Do we move far away to one of the outskirts of town so we can afford more square footage? Do we stay central? What makes a location one we love?

Outside our home… with little man holding the keys…

That was just one of MANY factors we discussed as we were looking at house descriptions and locations. We realized it was important to us to end up paying roughly the same amount we were when renting (with the knowledge that we’d also need to save up for repairs, upgrades, etc. on top of that…), to have a location that kept us central to various friends, family, and opportunities (especially helpful since my husband ended up switching jobs twice since we bought our house!) and we both wanted a space to let our very active son run around and enjoy being a kid.
When we first saw the house we ended up buying, we loved how big the backyard was, but it was going to need some work. It was all dirt aside from some very newly planted trees along the back wall. We asked that the sellers put in a watering system and start some grass before we closed, but we knew we were going to have to put a lot of effort and upkeep into making the yard a place where a toddler can just run around and be crazy. Still, we saw that blank slate of a backyard and dreamed together about what it could be.
By the time my birthday rolled around last year, we had the start of some lovely green grass and my husband had put up beautiful lights around our porch and it just felt like a little piece of our dreams coming true.
Now, we’re getting ready to take our backyard dreaming a step further. I have been thinking about starting a garden for YEARS. In graduate school, one of my friends had space outside his little house that was shared with a few of his neighbors. They turned it into a garden and we had the most wonderful parties there tending plants, or if gardening wasn’t your skill then cooking the produce the garden yielded, or if cooking wasn’t your skill either you could bring a beverage to share in appreciation of the work the others did. It was such a wonderful place of gathering and community. Both of my parents have gardens in their respective backyards, I remember a garden growing in my childhood home, and now I am antsy to start a garden of my own. (And speaking of little by little progress… while looking for photos for this post I discovered that apparently my childhood home didn’t always have gull green grass covering the backyard either. I vividly remember that swing set though!)

I am also, of course, running on very little sleep at the moment and have found month after month a reason to put off starting this venture. LARGELY due to the fact that I will probably have some setbacks and failures as I learn what the heck I’m doing in this new venture! But then, looking at my Powersheets from the Cultivate What Matters Shop and refreshing my goals for the year, I really felt like it was time to start planning to actually take this next step to turn our house into a home. And as if I needed another push from the universe, the lovely creator of those Powersheets happened to do a blog series this month on Gardening 101! And THEN my mom brought us a sweet little rosebush as a gift for

Hoping both my mother and my daughter forgive me if anything happens to this rosebush! I promise I have the best intentions and the highest hopes but sometimes I swear the green thumb skipped a generation…
Progress not perfection, right?

my daughter’s baptism. I’m even more nervous to plant this and hope the summer doesn’t completely scorch it, but I know it won’t thrive inside in its tiny original container for very long so… OK Lord, I hear you. stop procrastinating and start growing!
We’re going to start with that rosebush and probably some small container gardening. I want to grow some flowers and herbs. Eventually I’d like to grow some vegetables too, but we’re nearing the end of the planting window for most of those so I may wait until the fall when things cool off again because I want to grow little by little and have the motivation to keep going instead of trying to do it all at once, burning out, and giving up. I’m hoping that as the plants grow I can teach my kids through our experiences gardening together. This is something I didn’t think about before reading Lara’s blog series and I’m so excited about it. Teaching daily habits of watering the plants, showing the life cycle and change as we watch things grow are just a few ways I think any sized garden will be great. And hopefully sharing in the joys of the times where you need to get dirty! Because I think too often it’s easy to feel stressed when my little guy wants to play in the dirt and mud and I want to let him know there are times where mom needs to just get messy with him and that beautiful things can come out of that mess!

So this weekend, hopefully, we will be taking the first step for our little backyard garden. And I’m writing this not only because one of the themes of this year is dreaming, but also because with SO MUCH to do and catch up on, I want a little extra accountability to just get started. (Isn’t getting started one of the hardest parts?!) So THANK YOU for reading and helping me with that 🙂

I know some of my readers have or have had gardens. I’d love to hear about any tips for starting small? Growing in very hot climates? or even just your favorite flowers/herbs/veggies you’ve grown in your backyard (or balcony, or windowsill, etc.)

I hope you all get to take a few steps towards one of your dreams this weekend! (and if goal planning overwhelms you, I’d love to chat with you about that because goal setting outside of school and syllabuses was a really challenge for me at first… and I’m just finding things that are working for me…)


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