My wife, three kids and myself have just moved into a new home: a four-bedroom, two-storey house located in the outskirts of the city. It’s a lovely place, simply but practically furnished, and I am in charge of developing an outdoor space at the family backyard to sort of put the finishing touches on this new domestic life. Planning can be a pain, so I am working on a few ideas and considering a good number of online deals to make this project less stressful and more affordable.
Using my architectural skills, I created a design of something that would serve as a place for play and barbecue. Play because my kids are easily bored indoors – video games don’t cut it for them, which is good – and because it’s healthy to be able to have outdoor fun, be it in a swimming pool, on a mini-playground on the grass, or a makeshift backyard camp with tent. Barbecue because – well, because it would be nice to meet our neighbors, introduce ourselves, and start new friendships in a relaxed, casual, albeit smoky and slight alcoholic atmosphere. (Yes, I am bringing beers, folks!)
Thus I am assessing the condition of lights and soils and shade and trees and plants; I am taking pictures, rendering new designs, reading magazines, listening to suggestions, and consulting relatives and colleagues. I am thinking of ways on how to provide for shade: a sun-resistant parasol? A sail shade? I am also talking to my kids about what they want: Do they want a place where they can nurse pets? Would they like a playhouse complete with a sandbox and swing set?
I have also looked up the Smith & Hawken website to find out which garden structures would be appropriate for my needs. They have plenty of affordable online deals – be it for garden structures (I love their trellises and English-style arches), window boxes, plant stands, terrariums, plaques, stepping stones, fountains, and other such materials for landscaping a backyard paradise. What’s nice about most of the stuff that they have on sale is that these are being offered to be shipped for free.
Of course, while designing and building, I am keeping in mind outdoor safety. It’s a must in households with children: such as mine. That’s why I am looking to build a small storage area – by refurbishing an unused gazebo located in an area near the garden – so that my power tools and equipment are out of my playful children’s reach. Oh, I’ve seen enough TV reality shows and documentaries to exercise precaution in the backyard.
My wife, meanwhile, is the one in charge of all things flora and fauna. She loves the job; I believe that she herself has been looking for online deals for sweet-smelling, double-flowering, butterfly-attracting stocks. Like lilacs, Susans, daylilies and campanulas. She is also researching on elegant but affordable planters, pots, urns, cast-iron trivets and caddies. I am very confident that with her work (and her wisely calculated budget), our garden will bloom – as does our love, marriage, and family life.