06 April 2011

Curb Appeal

The landscapers made the first pass of the front yard today. We have never had a landscaper before. We have never had a house before. But we live in a neighborhood where apparently landscapers not only tend the yards but also put up Christmas lights and mount wire frame reindeer on the tops of each perfect house. There should be a handbook on how to blend in out here in the suburbs. We were completely taken by surprise and have been playing catch up ever since.

The main problem is that our house is not perfect. Nor is the yard. Last summer when we moved in we thought, foolishly, that we would sweat and get callouses on our hands but we would take care of the yard ourselves. It would feel good, to accomplish something so concrete, to smell the earth as we crumbled it through our fingers. And we did sweat. I do have more than a few callouses. Yet the yard remained a mess, overgrown with poison ivy and bracken, littered with pine cones and piles of ground stumps from August's Project Dead Tree Removal otherwise known as Project Don't Have Trees Fall on the Neighbors otherwise known as Watch the Crane Lift the Trees Over the Freaking House.

We did what we could. It was never going to be enough. A decade spent as a rental property ensured that we were very, very far behind. I planted some bulbs, reasoning that I might not notice the chaos if there were some splashes of color to distract the eyes. They are not yet in their full glory, granted, but I strongly suspect it is not going to work.

A friend suggested that we forget the big picture and concentrate on reclaiming one tiny corner of the yard each year, making it into what we want. Unfortunately we don't have that kind of time. There are two houses newly for sale down the street. You can't get to them without driving right by our property, slowing down in front of the twenty yard span of chain link fence that mysteriously begins and ends without clear purpose. You are forced to fully take in the overgrowth and spindly ailing shrubbery cascading down the ledge and threatening the street. Maybe you don't even make the turn. Maybe you skip the open house entirely and move on to the next one.

That's not fair. We may not be the best neighbors, but we should at least try not to suck. Thus the newly launched Project Clean Sweep otherwise known as Project I Hope I Can Stop Lying About Where I Live When I Go Out to Walk the Dog.

What will be left when they are finished? Hopefully something beautiful here and there, even now valiantly simmering just under the surface. I honestly don't care, as long as it's green and warm and not buried beneath snow.

No comments:

Post a Comment