My Secret Shame

Guys, I have to unburden myself.  I did something that will get me kicked out of the DIY homesteader club for sure.

I paid someone else to do a project for me.

Pretty bad, right? Borderline unforgivable.  Here’s how it happened:  The Fella and I were starting to really dislike the shambly, junk-yard appearance of our house. Years of collecting weird, possibly-useful-someday objects and a serious lack of storage options resulted in the space under the deck and around the garden looking pretty trashy.  On top of that mess, a large section of the yard had never really been landscaped or given a purpose, which gave it a tendency to always look messy and unfinished. It was lumpy, sloped, shady, and scrubby. And it was unusable space inside the garden fence, which, when you live in an area where deer are the enemies of any cultivated space, is a crime in and of itself.

So, in addition to all the usual chicken-goat-horse projects and the ongoing forest-clearing project that we have spent every weekend working on for the last few months, the Fella and I made time to clear out and either throw away or relocate all the clutter that was under the deck. Some very honest conversations about cracked flower pots and used lawnmower wheels ensued, and we managed to get it done.

But we didn’t want to stop there. We decided it was time to come up with a landscaping plan that would hopefully make the unused space useable, and make our use of the rest of the yard more efficient and more aesthetically pleasing.  After all, it is much nicer to cultivate and weed and tend a garden that is pleasant to behold than one that is messy and disorganized.

Here is a broad list of goals for the yard/garden, going forward:

  1. Be easy to keep tidy, with storage for tools and gardening supplies that makes sense
  2. Have a useable greenhouse, that is not simply the storage space for tools and gardening supplies
  3. Use the space in the vegetable garden more efficiently
  4. Have pathways and distinct borders that are well-marked and maintained
  5. Have a cut flower garden
  6. Include many more bee-friendly perennials
  7. Build a rainwater collection and storage system under the deck
  8. Have an area for 2 potted citrus trees
  9. Have a sitting area for enjoying the view!

Once we determined what our goals are, we had to come up with a plan to make it happen.  We knew that anything that involved hardscaping the yard needed to be done in early spring, while the ground is still soft and before the short window we have to plant the garden closes. In other words, right now.

Please understand that the Fella and I haven’t taken a vacation or done anything purely recreational with a weekend for a long, long time. Working on the property is our fun and our responsibility and we’re good with that. But there’s only so much that two people with full-time jobs can get done in the space of weekend. So we did it. We hired someone, a great guy who does work for lots of people we know, to build the retaining wall we needed to help define and provide structure to the space.

Yes, hiring someone to do your projects is guaranteed to earn the scorn of true homesteaders, and we will accept the consequences. Call us lazy or entitled.  Call us phonies.  But let me tell you, being freed up to start all the other work we wanted to get done is so incredibly exciting. We spent the entire weekend working in the yard, building rock borders, transplanting, setting up our berry patches, clearing space for the new raised beds, weeding and weed-eating, raking out dead leaves, and mulching and fertilizing the perennials.  We got so much done! And we were able to do all of it because we weren’t stuck building the dang retaining wall. Of course it’s still very much a work in progress, but now, the operative word is progress.  So, without further ado: behold, the before and afters.


Dome before

And after:

Dome after

See this space for lots more improvements and beautification in the next few weeks! Turns out I didn’t take enough pictures of our work this weekend so there actually a whole lot that’s already been done.


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