It’s been ten years, almost to the day, I took possession of my current home. As I look out to the back yard and see the star magnolia reaching across the garden to meet the walnut tree on the other side of the yard, I warm with feelings of pride, satisfaction and accomplishment.
It was a scary thing to do, ten years ago, taking on a 1930’s house and yard by myself. Year three as a single mom, I was ready for more permanence than renting could offer; I wanted to really settle.
I could swing it, I could make it work…and I had taken the plunge. I started with a month of renovations to re-do the kitchen and bathroom, modestly. They were in pretty rough shape. I kept my rental, just around the corner, a bit longer – giving me a month’s overlap. Because this process was not unfamiliar to me as a designer, I had done my planning and come up with drawings and had sorted out my intended materials and their lead times and availability. So, with the help of a good contractor we leapt into action early that August and got things done in time for me to move in September.
My father came out for a visit. We weren’t extremely close and my son and I hadn’t seen him for several years, but he came and stayed with us and helped. He had a truck and was able to transport things I couldn’t. He bought me a proper step ladder, and my first wheelbarrow, and took numerous trips to the garbage dump and recycling stations. That was our day job. At night, he’d sit on my 10 year old son’s bed and they’d talk and get to know each other. It was a lovely opportunity for all of us to be together.
When I had initially viewed the property in the spring, I had fallen in love with the flowering plum tree and star magnolia that were arching over the backyard space. The rest of the yard was a dreary expanse of moss, stretching all the way up to the rough and unfinished garage.
Over the years I’ve crafted a garden with rock walls and a stepping stone path, built a structure for hammocks to hang from, renovated that old garage for a 400 sq. ft. office and seen trees mature and grow tall, along with my son, now 20.
We’ve all grown. Work has blossomed for me: to another wonderful level. The garden is filling out, a significant relationship has come and gone, and my son is heading to another continent to travel for an extended period. It’s been an amazing ten years, and I feel so connected to this sweet little home that has housed us, protected us, allowed us to live in comfort, entertain friends and family, pursue our hobbies, and have a wonderful life….growing all the while.