Fixed Income Living-Do It Myself Landscaping

For me, the two greatest advantages of retirement are time and flexibility. As I said in this post , most of the time these two trump money-up to a certain point.  The combination of flexibility and time afford a great deal of freedom. They allow me to shop when others are working. I can jump in the car and travel as the mood strikes (and take advantage of off season prices). I get to schedule my days as I see fit.  This means that at any day I can sew, read, work, cook, relax, or any combination thereof. I can meet someone for brunch or lunch just because I feel like it. I can (and generally do) read until after midnight and arise between eight and nine.

There are always two sides to every coin, and the flip side of having more time than money is obvious.  I have to expend energy doing more on my own-on the “do it yourself front”-if you will.  Most of the time the additional effort is minimal.  Cleaning my own house, coloring my own hair, cooking gourmet meals, making Christmas gifts.  Some of these endeavours are creative, others are mildly tedious but need to be done in order to continue my life style. Most fit seamlessly into my routine and become a habit.

Sometimes however, doing it yourself requires expending more physical effort and time, as well as leaning new skills.  This is especially true of homeowners. So it is with me today.  Since I have decided to remain in my home, it is time to do some improvements-both for the house and for me.  I have a very simple back yard.  Along the fence are some trees and bushes, and a large empty jungle where a willow once lived.  The grass lives, but has yellowed in our 106 degree heat.

I spend a great deal of time on the covered patio.  Not only that, but my family room windows are uncovered with a clear view of the yard.  After lots of research, I have decided to landscape the back yard myself. 

I expect that the steps I have taken to get to this point are similar to the steps one takes when beginning any new project.  First, after much thought, I had a general idea of the kind of end result I wanted.  Then between the library and the Internet I researched all of the alternatives available and how they would come about. I wanted a plan that would meet my expectation-my mental image if you will. However, it also needed to be something that I could implement myself-in terms of skill, strength and finances.

I am now ready (with the help of a little live in slave labor) to proceed on this adventure. As motivation for myself, I’ve posted “before pictures”. Hopefully they will also serve as a record as we slowly make progress through the fall.  My first steps will be to clear out the brush and all the rocks and bricks aside, and then till and extend my my garden beds three feet (think I’ll concede the tiller to the young).

I hope that the end result will be three to four feet of garden beds planted with low water plants and mulch, a walking path, a gazebo, new fruit trees and maybe, perhaps, a small fountain.  My goal is to do this with no paid labor, have it done before the winter freeze (in November), and spend as little on supplies as plants as possible. Life is a work in progress. Always.

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