And whether its on the job or unwinding over the weekend, when people hear what I do for a living I can almost see them salivating. “Your yard must be gorgeous!!”
“Ahh, well, ummm, you see …” I’m sure they just think I’m being humble.
But no. Really, it’s a mess. The shoemaker’s son has no shoes. Or in this case, the hardscaper’s sons have no hardscaping. At least not that is fully completed.
And its not that I wouldn’t WANT some of the features that we install. To the contrary, I would absolutely LOVE some of the features that we install.
It’s really more of a time thing. Anybody who works in the outdoor trades will tell you that we have a somewhat limited season. Once you cross out the Holiday break and the winter break, we’re left with about nine, maybe even ten if we’re lucky, months to earn our keep.
And with a decent patio project taking roughly 2 to 3 weeks to complete, that’s about seven percent of our season.
OK, so it’s not a huge portion, but its sizeable enough to put a decent dent in our income.
People hire us because they know we know what we’re doing and we do a good job. But they also hire us because they have their own lives and are just too busy to do it themselves. Well guess what. We’re a little busy too. And if you think I’m going to pay somebody else to install my yard??? … Yeah, right.
As a result my yard is a hodge-podge of assorted projects in various states of completion.
The front yard has gotten better. (That whole curb appeal thing – gotta keep the neighbors happy). The original brick walkway was a mess and a constant source of irritation everytime I stepped foot on it. It had to go. But for reasons I won’t get into here in full detail, there was a small garden wall that needed to be built first. And a front patio that needed to get installed in conjunction with the path. (If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, then a lot of knowledge and skill is downright AK-47 lethal). As a result, a simple project turned into a bigger one.
Even with the increased project scope in the front yard, had we been doing this for a client we probably would have knocked it all out in about 2 weeks. At my house, start to finish? About 4 years.
And the backyard? Well this is where it gets really funny. First of all the back end of my driveway has become a staging area for materials. I have two pallets that were placed there “temporarily” in about ’07. Strictly flagstone. I’ll pull off a few pieces here and there and just when one’s just about clear – boom! A bunch of leftover pieces from a project get dumped back on to it. I have a similar situation with paver stones in my garage.
But the pavers, ahh yes, the pavers. This is my grandiose plan.
Because pavers come in a wide range of colors and styles and sizes, it’s nearly impossible to ever have enough leftovers of just one type for a client project. So I rarely draw from these piles like I do with the flagstones.
So I thought it would be kind of cool to put this potpourri of pavers to use. I’m never opposed to a little funk in my life – keeps things interesting.
So as a result in my backyard I currently have a patio that’s about a third of the way completed. I’ve been doing it in small segments, so the section connecting the back door with the gate is done in its entirety, but the section furthest from the door is just an excavated hole in the ground. Mud and all. My wife loves me for that one. But my five-year-old REALLY loves for me that one. I mean what five-year-old wouldn’t want their own mudpit?
I was going to post a picture of my patio in its current state of un-finished-ocity. But I thought better of it when I decided that potential clients didn’t really need to see my mess of a yard. Not exactly sales material.
But once I’m done, probably in about ’14 or ’15 at its current pace, I’ll be sure to post the pics. It will be nice. But not yet. And with the spring slam in full effect right now, I can say quite confidently that nothing will be happening in my yard until at least summer, if then.
So anyway, that’s my personal landscaping status. Not quite the award-winning specimen you had in mind, eh?
But as my wife says, it’s a good thing the projects aren’t completed because it means I’m busy. Busy doing projects the proper way of course. It's the clients who get the REALLY nice yards.