Spring cleanup, who has time for that?

I bought my home in Bangor a few years ago, in the late fall. In that first spring before all the snow was even gone I was out raking the esplanade. I felt pride in the fact that my front yard was the first on the street to be raked. By mid April I had the entire yard cleaned up and already mowed, a few bushes ripped up, new trees planted and the driveway widened. There was no slowing me down.

roses, lilies, geraniums and tulips now surround the house which was formally surrounded by overgrown (and ugly) shrubs

My neighbors marveled at how much I was up to and thanked me for sprucing up the house I had bought thereby removing it as the eyesore on the street and increasing everyone’s property value.

I spent the last several years working on the landscaping around my house. This includes, but is not limited to: a deck, rock patio, stone fireplace, new shrubs, a raised flower bed, vegetable gardens, planting trees, seeing grass, raising the soil level, reshaping the driveway, adding parking, fixing fencing and putting in horseshoe pits.

The original deck looked more like some sort of pirate ship feature. I replaced it with a large composite deck with 2 staircases making my backyard a place where I could grill and hang out with company.

To say that the addition of a little guy running around has slowed this progress would be an understatement. Last summer (before he could walk) it was all I could do to keep the grass mowed. With the exception of my tomatoes, the gardens were overrun by weeds. The blackberries spread out and took over the entire back yard. The rose bushes went un-pruned and vines crept in and choked out many of my other plants. Grass grew up in the driveway and through the hardscape in the back yard rendering my once pristine lawn into a congested jungle fit for neither man nor beast.

the old backyard was a swampy disaster. By raising the soil level and adding hardscape I enjoy it a lot more now.

This summer is shaping up to follow the same path. I didn’t get my Christmas decorations fully down until early April (much to the displeasure of me neighbors). At this rate. I should plan on putting them back out Labor Day weekend just to make sure they are up in time for Santa to squeeze his fat behind down my chimney. It took me two weeks to get the backyard raked and cleaned up. It will take a few more to get the front and side done. I might as well just wait for the leaves to change color and fall at that point.

Plus beyond the regular maintenance there are all sorts of new projects. Safety issues like putting up a gate in the garage and making sure all the tools and equipment in the shop are out of reach (I have been known to leave skill saws lying around). I will need to put rails up on my deck. It’s something I knew that someday I would always have to do but it will have to happen soon to keep my son from diving head first off the deck to the ground 3 feet below. Staying out of the emergency room on sunny summer days is always a priority.

The boy enjoying his slide in the backyard on an early spring day

Finally, as a token of goodwill, I will be taking up my horseshoe pits. The pits were one of the first projects I did after buying the house. There is just something to be said for spending an afternoon with friends barbecuing meat, drinking beer and throwing pieces of metal through the air. That iconic image, a staple of a carefree summer day.

The pits will be replaced with a sandbox playhouse for my son and one of those tractors that he can sit on and use to dig in the dirt.

The change is not a complaint though. In fact, I think the removal of the horseshoe pits is a symbol of growth. A recognition on my part that the backyard is not just mine, but a place for my family to enjoy as well. And who knows, once that tractor is in I may not get much else done this spring as I imagine I will end up playing with it more than my son.





Pat Lemieux

About Pat Lemieux

Pat has it all, family, big old house, dogs, a young son and a quarter-life crisis. He blogs about trying to be who he has always been and be who he now needs to be. He enjoys 90's grunge metal, tasty local brews and the outdoors.