Saturday, 15 June 2013

Our New Front Garden

The way the house looks today.

    When we first saw our house 11 years ago we were sold as soon as we drove up to it.  We knew that it was the house for us.  There was something about that called out to us, begged us to make it ours.  That poor house had lived for a while with some neglect.  The previous owners had loved that house, but times had been hard for them.  When we came into possession of the house we made a long list of things that needed to be changed.  We were realistic knowing that it would be a long process to tick everything off of the list.  Before we could make cosmetic changes we needed to make important investments.  The house needed new windows, doors, a new roof, new furnace it needed some intensive TLC.

The house when we first bought it.
    Out front there were railway tie gardens with evergreen scrubs... I hated them.  I took the shrubs out that first spring.  The railway ties were more work, or so I told myself and so I hated them, but let them stay.  Three years ago I took the bull by the horns and took the farthest garden out.  It was hard work, but I did it with a smile on my face.  I replaced it with a Black Lace Elderberry scrub, roses and a stone bench (the stones came from the ground in front of the house when they dug up the yard to put in the new natural gas lines).

The house with the railway ties.

    I had one part of the front of the house looking the way that I wanted it to, but that front railway garden still was a thorn in my side.  I just ignored it until I could do it the way that I wanted.  Like everything in the house it was a slow process and an investment.

    Last summer Christopher found some stones that were from an abandoned rock wall (oh don't worry he got permission before he took them).  I literally danced for joy, they were perfect!  They were exactly what I saw in my head for that space.  I planned it and Christopher laid them for me.  I was delighted with the way that they looked.  The only plant that I could afford to put in last year was a white hydrangea bush.  It sat their lonely for the season.

    Finally the front of the house is beginning to look the way I imagined it when I first saw our little house.  My plan is to create a peony hedge that goes across the whole front of the yard, I add one or two a year.  This year my investment paid off and my four year old peony are gorgeous.  They are just alive with huge pink blooms.   I planted roses and hosta in the rock walled bed.  I like the way it looks, but it will be beautiful in another year or two when they have matured.  My gardens are an investment, both in time and in patience.  I would love to have the available time and funds to have them perfect.  There is something wonderful however in seeing them transform and change (not unlike my children).  
    When I think about the house it feels like we really have not made too many changes.  Then I think about everything that we have done.  We put a new 40 year roof on, new windows; new doors, new furnace; new air conditioner; completely replaced the upstairs bathroom; took up the ugly shag carpet and refinished the amazing hardwood floor that was hidden beneath the ugliness; water-proofed the basement; put in a gas fireplace.  We still have a lot to do to make our home our dream home, but we are on our way.  It's nice to look back at the journey, and to look forward to the future.
    When I think about the future of our home, I am not thinking about resale value.  This is my house.  I LOVE my house.  It's too small, it still needs a lot of work, but it's ours.  This is the first house that we ever owned.  We worked hard to get it.  It's full of our family's memories.  I remember Gabe running excitedly through the house amazed that it was "ours".  His excitement matched our own.  We carried a baby Grace into this house.  We brought Riley, Rowan and Elly home from the hospital to this house.  This is the home that Christopher and I will grow old together in, and it will be as beautiful as our life has been when we are done.

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