Sunday, May 13, 2012

Between the grass and sky

Finally, Michigan has crossed into planting season.  If you are not a Michigander, you may not realize it, but only a fool plants in Michigan before Mother's Day.  It doesn't matter if it was ninety degrees in April, Michigan weather is a wacky prankster.  We don't tempt her.
Although I usually go running amok at the local nurseries this time of year, I am proceeding with an admirable degree of self restraint.  Over the past few years we've been slowly (did I mention sloooooowly) doing some gentle changes to the yard in pursuit of permanent always been there looking improvements, our goal being very little in the annual family and focusing on perennials that will get better with age.  Last year we made the biggest leap when the Mr. and Mac put in our backyard patio.  My grampa put our back porch on years ago, which is actually a deck but doesn't back porch sound nicer?  Yes it does.
Beyond the back porch had always been a little square of lawn with not much to say for itself.  So we gave it a little thought for a few years, living in it and letting it tell us what it wanted to be.  If you don't understand the concept of a house or yard telling you what it wants to be, well, I don't know what to say.
Anyway, finally we decided upon a patio.  We also decided upon a privacy fence because this half of the yard has that fishbowl feeling many suburban homes have.  Really, we wanted a privacy fence just across the back (west) fence.  Well, our city, Dearborn doesn't allow privacy fencing taller than four feet.  Although we are not tall people, four feet didn't quite provide the privacy we were hoping for.
I'll tell you a little secret, we spent a good bit of time considering just putting up that six foot fence anyway.  We drove around and pointed out people with six foot fences in their yards.  We told one another that if a neighbor put up a six foot fence on the property line, we would be grateful.  We talked to lots of people who told us to go ahead and do it.  We decided to do it.  Then we decided not to do it.  Then I decided to write a very long story about it that would leave you wondering what makes you read this blog instead of doing something exciting like watching paint dry.
This is why we don't make impulsive decisions, we then impulsively change our minds.
So here's what we came up with.  Hello?  Are you still there?
We decided on a largish patio and behind it a berm.  A berm is an actual landscaping type term.  How do ya like that?  So the Mr. took the displaced dirt from the patio and built a berm, which looked like someone had buried Goliath in our back yard.  So then I made fun of the berm and Donny laid on it to warm his belly and Mac stomped it down and said, "Oh dad!"
Finally it was brought under control and the Mr. and Mac built a retaining wall around it and we all rested and said, "It is good."  And it was.
That was last summer and now it's time for the next phase and the stunning reveal of our final privacy fence decision.
We are indeed putting in a six foot privacy fence but we are moving it up a few feet away from the fence so as not to violate the city's code.  The fence will be the back drop directly behind the berm leaving a hidden walk way behind it and also, a place for Donny to run in pursuit of squirrels and so that the neighbors can still reach over the fence to give him cookies.
When the fence is done (in the next few weeks,) we'll start landscaping the berm.  I imagine that other than a few annual flowers that will be the extent of our yard budget this year.  We had planned on putting in a small water feature but that will probably be rescheduled to the 2013 plan. 
This weekend we did some cleaning up of the space.  The Mr. put in the fence posts.  Donny dropped several balls into the holes and may have lost a few when the Mr. set the poles in cement.  Consider it a time capsule.
We may be in year four, but every spring I'm so happy with the next phase of our plan.  On Saturday evening when our list of chores was finally done, the clouds blew aside on gentle winds and the sun was warm and bright and it was just exactly the way I remember the yard feeling when my grampa used to tend it.  Do you ever have those sentimental moments?  It made the work and the plans and the patience required a little sweeter because it made me think about another bunch of grandchildren running around this yard and sitting at a picnic table snapping green beans.  I can picture it, generations upon generations seeing the same sky. 

Starting the day, fire pit and chairs have been in use for a while.

Sitting on the back porch, look can see the berm and the fence posts!

Looking at side of garage from picnic table. 

Old water pump the Mr. got me at the antique store Up North.  Ceramic chickens that used to be on The Farm.

Bird feeder at the corner of the patio.

Bird bath

I like it.


Debra said...

Love your patio so much! (Thanks--now I have patio envy.) :) But I can see why you'd like more privacy and I think your fence idea is a great one. Loved this whole post, too--thanks for the smiles this morning! Blessings, Debra

Jada's Gigi said...

Oh I love that old pump!!

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