Last fall, I envisioned a patio that would create a level, garden-lined seating area nestled under the maple, between the grape arbor and the sidewalk. I pondered and sketched, thumbed through books and magazines, and wandered the lumber yard aisles at Menards, calculating. A plan emerged. I shared it with my family, rolled up my sleeves, and started work. By the time the snow flew, I had built a block retaining wall and hauled in several yards of sand and fill to settle over the winter.
As the snow covered these accomplishments, I imagined spring arriving in March, early and lovely, as it had in 2012. My dream was that I would work at it steadily between March and the end of May, so that it would be ready for use at a family party we would host in late May 2013. Fast forward to 2013: spring was no where to be seen in these parts in March! Snowfalls came and added feet upon feet of lovely white snow. Lovely, but not helpful to my plan! I let go of expectation and resigned to the fact that I could only wait until the time was right. Perhaps it would be ready by May 26th, and perhaps it would not.
Finally, around May 5th, a spate of rainy weather took the snow to the ground and I could begin again. With the help of family, I piled many pavers in the driveway, and my partner and a friend built a wooden retaining wall against the woods along the back side of the alleged future patio. And then, rain or shine, I hauled fill, leveled it, and began the process of laying the blocks for a ramp and patio, at the same time outlining the garden beds that would come next. Once the pavers were in place, I hauled and laid blocks for a raised flowerbed in the center (promised to one of my offspring) and edgers for flowerbeds along the sidewalks that border the block retaining wall.
This weekend, with the bones of the space finally in place, we planted flowers in the lingering cold. It was heartwarming to notice the happiness of a child allowed to create a beautiful flower garden. If the forecast for frost holds, we’ll haul tarps to cover our creation the next few nights, but oh, what a lovely space this will be! How satisfying to the mind to bring a concept to fruition.