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February 07, 2003: Virtual green

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We finished our bike ride yesterday and had just reached the exit to take off the freeway to get home when the phone rang. A friend we've been trying to meet with for a week or two now was on the other end. Her mom is one of those marvelous people who not only loves to garden, but is so talented at it she can figure out landscaping plans and design lovely things for yards. We had her mom and one of her gardening friends out to see our sad swamp of a backyard a few weeks ago, and shortly thereafter, our plans were ready. However, schedules and other issues conspired to delay the delivery of those plans for long enough to make all of us impatient. Until this phone call yesterday, when we knew the plans would finally be ours.

We turned the car around after a brief detour at a gas station (where we dashed into the mini mart to find something to eat since we were both extremely hungry after our bike ride) and headed back to Sacramento to meet up with our friend. We congregated in the parking lot of the Sacramento office of Benthic Creatures, hugged, chatted, pet her car-ride-loving cat, and then she unveiled the long-awaited plans for the back yard.

It's amazing. I am still in awe at how anyone can look at an ugly patch of weed-infested yard and somehow envision what it could look like when properly laid out. Richard and I have browsed through I don't know how many books on landscape design and gardening and found a few things we though were interesting, but a pretty picture in a book is one thing; trying to duplicate that picture in an actual yard was completely beyond us. But now we have plans - plans that have all the trees and bushes and flowers and ground cover all neatly labeled with an accompanying list of names and descriptions and information about water needs. The plans include all the elements we've been toying with, and even a few extra that somehow fit Richard and I perfectly (if you guessed dragon statuary in the yard, you'd be right!).

We finally have plans. The biggest hurdle in transforming our weed-infested yard into something lovely has been surpassed. We realize that this is going to be a long-term project (we're thinking years). Some of it we can do ourselves (heck, after all, we both know how to lay bricks, so how hard could it be to build a raised flower bed? Um. Don't answer that). The rest will have to be a combination of either hiring someone to do it for us (like designing and installing the irrigation system for the whole thing), or dragging over less garden-impaired friends to help us figure out some of the rest in exchange for pizza or copious batches of cookies.

Richard and I both go back on the road next week. And neither of us will be home for more than weekends or a few random days in between until the end of March. It is frustrating to be finally holding these plans and realize that we can do very little with them for months. This hasn't stopped us from starting the process of playing phone tag with our regular gardener. If we can, at the very least, get the sprinkler system started, and the two patches of sod put in, it's enough of a start.

Finally. We're finally going to have a back yard.

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