I am a get-shit-done kind of person. I generally make big goals and get very frustrated when my assumptions about how much I can get done, or how much something will cost, are incorrect. I also hate when my ignorance about how to do something is clearly evident in the final product.

Unfortunately, this backyard revamp is riddled with road blocks and I’m realizing that the final product–despite the countless hours and significant amount of money I will spend–is going to have the tell tale signs of “I didn’t actually know what I was doing” written all over it.

Today was actually an amazing day because my daughter was home and I still managed to get 3+ hours of yard work done. Isa played happily with her water table and all the myriad toys we brought down for over two hours and then spent the last hour making a mud castle for me over by where I was digging. In the meantime I got another 10 sq feet of rocks dug up. I was making decent progress until I can across this monstrosity.


It’s about 2-3 ft across and over a foot deep. And yes, those are metal foundation poles sticking out of it.

After an hour I realized I was not getting it out of the ground today. In fact, I may never be getting it out of the ground, in which case I have to change my whole plan for the back space, because I can’t plant a bush when there is a giant rock/concrete/ceramic island chilling just one foot below the surface.

Haha! I actually went down to take a picture of the monstrosity after I wrote that paragraph and I started working on it again. I have to stand on it because the hole is getting too deep to maneuver otherwise. As I dug deeper and deeper around the behemoth a massive piece broke away! Now it looks like this!


The part that is still in there is obviously the rement of some long ago foundation and it’s clearly not going anywhere. The good news is that I can plant what I wanted in front of that thing and so I feel like I won this battle with my backyard.

The thing is, I don’t know how many more battles there might be. I still have half of the back span to dig up, de-rock and amend. What if another monstrosity awaits? Sometimes the whole thing feels too daunting. I can’t decide whether I should be stoked that I got the majority of that huge thing out of the ground (after 2+ hours of hard labor) or if I should be scared something just as bad is waiting for me under the next mound of dirt.

Right now I feel equal both conflicting emotions equally.

Blerg. Like most things in life, this is so much harder than I thought it would be.

And yet I will keep going, because honestly I don’t know how to quit. I was thinking that as I tried to dig up the monstrosity, wondering how I’d walk away from it when it was still in the ground. Thank goodness my daughter needed to use the bathroom (and refused to go in the grass like I was asking her to) or we may never have made it inside for lunch.

There are other road blocks as well. Some of the plants are not doing to well. And some that I don’t want to be back there are sprouting despite my efforts. I came home to this.


I guess it’s good that something is thriving in my newly amended, well watered soil, I just wish it were the stuff I planted and not what I tried to dig up.

Tomorrow I’m getting mulch, which I’ll spread over the soil in between the ground cover and other bushes I planted. Hopefully that will help keep in moisture and smother all these little invaders who are trying to take over. (If anyone has a better idea PLEASE SHARE IT. Again, I’m clueless about this stuff.)

It’s clear that I have A LOT more work to do on this project this summer. I’m going to write a new list of bi-monthly goals to keep me focused and on track so that hopefully I will have the whole thing done by the end of the summer. Sadly, that is a short six weeks away (I think, I’m too scared to actually check the calendar to make sure) and Isa is home the whole last week, plus she’s only at school 3 days a week for the month of July. I don’t have as much time back there as I originally thought.

I really hope I get it done. It would mean a lot to me to be able to do this by the one year anniversary of us buying this house. The timing would be perfect…

How do you deal with roadblocks in life? Do you plough through them? Work around them? Or just stop in front of them? Do you find it difficult to quit something once you’ve started?

2 responses

  1. I feel like this too- that everything I set out to do is always so much harder than I first expect it’s going to be. I guess the last few years have taught me that flexibility is important, but it’s also important to have the wisdom to know which roadblocks to plough through, which to work around, and which ones just to quit in front of. Keep at it- I think this project is worth it- regardless of how closely the final product resembles your original plan

  2. Before you put the mulch down you can put either landscape fabric (cut out holes for the plants) or you can put 3-4 sheets of newspaper down to keep the weeds out. Depending on what kind of fabric you buy (can be 5 year, 10 year, etc.) it will protect against most weeds for a long time. The cheaper route is obviously newspaper.

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