February 16, 2010

Do Projects Give You Panic Attacks?

You know that stage in a big project when you've torn everything apart and nothing is coming together yet? Do you ever get a sick feeling, deep in the pit of your stomach, thinking that maybe it never will come together? I've felt that occasionally in the past month as we've been working on our front yard. Here's a picture of what it looked like last weekend. We've got the sod out of the new and repositioned beds, so we're ready to have the concrete pad poured for the enlarged steps.

In addition to sod removal, last weekend my husband agreed to haul six cubic yards of premium garden soil that was dumped into our driveway. I took this picture after he was about halfway done with wheel-barrowing (I think I just made that verb up) the soil into beds around our yard.

Here you can see what remains of the lawn. The curves didn't come out exactly as I had imagined them, but the shapes remind me of a bend in a river. I like our little river of lawn. It occurs to me that lawn is rather unattractive during the six months that it's dormant each year in Spokane. That's yet another reason to have less of it, I guess.

Now I still have a long list of projects to coordinate before we're done, including:
removing the old concrete and pouring the enlarged concrete pad,
building the steps,
finishing the top part of the stone column,
removing the cream gingerbread siding and replacing it with siding to match the rest of the house,
getting the sprinklers adjusted to fit the new bed shapes,
having the boulders brought in and positioned,
making flagstone paths across the new beds/on the west side of the house/to the faucet/to the garbage can,
getting the rest of the old curbing out and the new curbing poured,
selecting and hanging shutters,
selecting and installing different exterior sconces,
possibly selecting and installing headers above the windows and garage,
selecting and installing a new front door,
transplanting a few trees,
buying and planting new shrubs, perennials and one new tree.

You see why I'm having little panic attacks? Hopefully we'll be mostly finished by the time the iris start blooming.

And by the time the roses bloom, things should look really nice. Either that or it will be a Big Mess Forever, but I'm trying not to think like that. Deep breaths. I'm completely sure I can do this . . . well, at least mostly sure.


  1. my back still aches from moving all that dirt. your plan to dump it all infront of my garage door really motivated me to get it out of the way fast so I could park in the garage again. don't panic, it'll all come together beautifully!

  2. I've never done such a large landscaping project so cannot really comment...

    I do know though why you may be panicking about it though, because I think I would feel the same way! It's only thing planning a new border and a whole other doing serious work!

    Good luck and I'm sure it will all work out, things like this always do :)

  3. Definitely! (the panic attacks). I'd kind of forgotten the dormant lawns in the winter there, you are so smart to get rid of some of it! Also I wanted to mention how brave (and smart) you are to tackle this project now, I know February isn't the time of the year most gardeners start projects in Spokane!

  4. You know, one thing at a time. Sometimes it's better to just keep completing and ticking off the list than dwelling on the whole picture.

    You'll get there. I liked the stone facing in the previous post by the way.

  5. No reason for you to panic, it is looking great!! Curves in a garden bed are much more forgiving that straight lines!!

  6. It sure looks different from the plain lawns in the distance. The bend in the river looks very nice.

    We overseed our dormant lawns with winter ryegrass. Does it not grow well there?

  7. VW girl .. take a deep slow breath .. you are going to be OK ! .. I can talk because when we had our old shed and deck torn out I just about had kittens every day as time marched on and the permits were held up and the inspector was a nasty nit picking so and so and when the company actually broke drill bits because our house was constructed on bed rock and cement rubble .. believe me .. I know how you feel .. and it will get better , I promise !
    Now I have to contact a number of landscaping companies for the stone work and bricking of the beds and pathways .. I'm a bit tense about getting my ideas across and how much it is going to add up to .. but by god ! It will be done and I will have my little Eden back in my hand and just have to fuss and worry over plants .. I am hunting on the side for that illusive Korean Maple tree still .. keeps my wits sharpened ? LOL
    Your house and gardens are going to look spectacular .. now go take a nap !! LOL
    Joy : )
    PS .. this is the voice of experience talking to you girl ! ;-)

  8. It sounds like you are really organized and know exactly what you need to be doing. When we re-did our front yard after first moving in we really rushed it (which is sort of typical for me) and now I wish we would've taken more time and planned things out better like you have.
    I love how your river of grass looks, such a nice curve to it. It's going to look just great when it's done.

  9. Oh, VW girl, I love the shape of your new beds. They just flow.Wonderful idea. I bet the tires on that wheel borrow was smoking by the time it was all finished. LOL!

  10. Baby Steps, Baby Steps. In other words, take it one step at a time! I so panic when I dont see an end to a project in sight but such is life at times. I am pretty organized and the thought of having my life uprooted until a project is finished freaks me out! As my Saint says, I want instant gratification when I do projects. lol. I am finding myself easing up in my older age. Not sure it is age of the lack of energy but either way, much better on my nerves. We are talking about renovating the kitchen and bathroom by taking out walls. Oh, that so scares me as I know these things take time and patients and I will want it done in less then a week! We found some flat land we like and the thought of building a house the way we want it crossed our minds but that scares me even more so then doing a major home renovation! Yikes…

    Anyway, your house and yard are looking great! And yes, I can see the grass river! Just take it one day at a time. I love the colors of your Amaryllis and Lilies below. Cant wait to see the lilies up against the new stones this summer. Hang in there, baby steps, baby steps….

  11. This looks great!! Your ideas are wonderful. Don't panic. (Are you sure you didn't find someone from Yard Crashers at the home and garden center?) ;-) Keep us "Posted!"

  12. I think it is totally normal and somewhat like having our house remodeled. It will all be worth it when it is finished and I can't wait to see the finished project :^)

  13. yes I do...especially when the place is torn apart and you wonder if it will come together. I like the shape of the beds....it's going to come together beautifully! gail

  14. I love before and after photos and can't wait to see your "after." Haven't had a big pile of dirt in the driveway for at least, hmmm, two years, but big piles of gravel delivered once or twice a year are pretty common for me. The wheelbarrow and I are old adversaries...I'm contantly trying to convince the hubby to get a bigger/better one but the old one is still hanging in there, drat! Your yard is certainly the yard of a gardener as opposed to all those plain lawns in the distance. I hope you infect them with the gardening bug. Alas, none of my neighbors have been infected yet.

    As for the anxiety/second guessing, I think it happens to the best of us and you just have to work through it. Keep crossing off things on your to-do list and soon you'll have an amazing sense of accomplishment of a job well done.

    Good luck!

    Christine in Alaska

  15. Hi VW,
    I love the shapes of your beds and grass! Some of those things on your list don't have to have solid deadlines, so I'd tackle the ones that need to be done in certain kind of weather first. Maybe you've thought of that already. I was identifying with your panic, though, as the guy whose company is going to remodel our kitchen the third week of March is not answering the questions in my last emails, even though he was answering them at first, and keeps forgetting to give us a copy of the contract we signed without reading all the details. He'd said he was going to leave us a copy, then took it with him. I think he's OK, but just today, I started to wonder whether all of this was really going to happen. My husband told me not to worry about it, either.

    Oh, I thought the comment from your husband was sweet.

    Thanks for your encouragement about growing agapanthus.

  16. You have accomplished so much and it will all come together...but even if it isn't exactly on the schedule you want it won't be far off. There will always be just 'one more thing' to do, or to add...Isn't it nice to have a hubby to help w/the larger things...I know I've been thankful for mine;-)

  17. Wow VW~~ You've bitten off quite a mouthful here. Like I always tell my kids, you can't scale the mountain in one step, just take the step in front of you.

    I know what you mean though. For me it happens when I've got my trusty hand saw embedded halfway through a heavy branch. I'm sweating. The branch is getting heavier by the second and I'm thinking I can't hold it up much longer but if I let go, it will crack and ruin the tree and give me a concussion before it hits the ground with a thud that I won't hear because I'll be next to it, unconscious. WCSS Worst case scenario syndrome. :)

    It will all be okay.

  18. I was fine until I got to your laundry list--then I got a panic attack! You have a lot of design decisions ahead of you. I love your river of lawn and all your other changes--and your garden was pretty to begin with. Trust your gut design intuitions--you have good taste. And the exterior lights can go in any old time.


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