Transformation: After

IMG_6799My last post featured “before” photos of our stalled backyard landscape project. With too many things on my plate and not enough hours in the day, I had all but given up hope of ever completing the renovation. Then my friend Penny suggested gathering a couple of friends for a weekend work party. Excited by the prospect of finishing the job I had started months earlier, I accepted her generous offer and ordered materials.


Two weeks later me, Penny, and her friend Thomas spent a Saturday digging, shoveling, chopping, building, and hauling our way to my dream yard.

Like a butterfly unfolding from its cocoon, the space shook off the vestiges of its former look and emerged with a fresh, updated appearance.  As we surveyed our job with pride at the end of that long day, I felt a deep sense of satisfaction and gratitude. It’s truly amazing the difference a day (and helpful friends) can make!


The thirsty grass is gone–replaced by a water conserving layer of pea gravel that’s much more dog friendly.


IMG_6861Our new planter boxes are brimming with summer squash and heirloom tomatoes that produce a bountiful harvest for our table. The garden will highlight seasonal veggies and herbs, and the ritual of tending it soothes my soul when I step outside.  finished yard

The area where the trampoline once stood between our turkey fig and ornamental plum trees has become a cozy seating area around a small fire pit. Solar Japanese lanterns in different sizes and colors sway from the tree branches–their muted glow creating a magical ambiance after sunset. It’s a place where friends sit and sip their beverage of choice on weekend afternoons, sharing stories and a plate of local cheeses. It’s also a haven for evening star-gazing and toasting marshmallows over the fire pit with our kids. IMG_7314


But the true test of our yard’s new “coolness” came a few weeks ago when our seventeen year old daughter invited friends over for an end-of-summer Hawaiian themed party. Twenty-six teens danced, limboed, and made so-mores around the fire pit, laughing and having a ball. As I watched their revelry from a distance, I felt deeply happy.


Transformation is a part of life–the inevitable evolution from one stage to the next.  In closing one chapter of our lives with this landscape facelift, we make space for a new phase to begin. I can hardly wait to see what it holds in store!

Categories: Organic Gardening, UncategorizedTags: , , , , , ,


  1. The transformation is gorgeous Karen! Congratulations

  2. Well that was certainly worth the wait. Turned out beautifully. Now, I bet, you love going out into the yard. I especially like the planter boxes and new seating arrangement. Enjoy!

  3. FANTASTIC Karen!!

  4. Beautifully done, love the vegetable gardens, the ease of maintenance, the beautiful lanterns and the warmth of the fire pit. The happy faces top it all!

  5. Fantastic! You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing. Time to pull out my shovels!

  6. Love it! In Haiti a work party was called a Konbit, and was the usual way houses were constructed, structures built! Then a huge feast to celebrate the work and the community! May your garden grow green, your roots dig deep and your branched reach to the stars! Blessed be!

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