This past week three or four people in my office had a long discussion regarding lawn maintenance. Their discussion revolved around what kind of weed killer worked well, what type of grass was the best in this area and various frustrations about a variety of pests and bugs that had taken up residence in their yards. I started listening intently. But after about 10 minutes I realized this wasn’t my world anymore.
It was the first time I had thought about how the Tiny House had simplified my outdoor living. The whole realization that I no longer have to care for a yard was incredibly exciting and liberating.
I don’t have to worry about weeds any more. I don’t have to mow grass. I don’t have to worry about which outdoor project I am going to tackle next. Because I live in an RV park right now, my “yard” maintenance is almost non-existent. In fact, the only maintenance I have is blowing leaves and pine needles off my patio from time to time.
It’s not that I didn’t love my old yard, I did, but it took an inordinate amount of time and money to keep “looking good.” I was constantly trying to get my yard in “Better Homes and Gardens” shape, which left me never feeling quite content.
In the past, I spent hours in my yard fighting weeds and trying to keep bushes and hedges trimmed. I spent thousands and thousands of dollars on sod, curbing, new plants and a patio. I bought lawn furniture and patio furniture I had to maintain. But I rarely stopped to think about why.
I viewed my yard as an extension of my home, and I wanted it to “look” perfect. Sure, I wanted it to fit my lifestyle and be functional, but if I am brutally honest, I just wanted other people to say, “you have a great yard.”
I did spend some time outside in my yard, but most of the time I spent outside was spent “fixing it” or “keeping up with it” rather than enjoying it. I took pride in the work I had done, but when I stop to think about the amount of time and effort it took vs. the amount of enjoyment I got, I don’t think it was a good trade off.
In fact, my yard was a constant point of frustration for me. I wanted it to be nicer, but I was stressed about the money I was spending to fix it up. I always noticed the stuff I was missing, the new batch of weeds in the flower bed or the tree that needed trimmed, rather than slowing down and being thankful for the space. I also felt guilty about not spending more time outside enjoying it since I was spending all this time and money on it. It was a frustrating cycle.
Now I have a few planters on my porch that I use to showcase awesome plants and flowers. I have lots of trees around, which make my view quite enjoyable. I spend more time outside, but it is usually walking on the trails where I live. I am more engaged in the outdoors, but I’m saving money and I am a lot less stressed!
I still take pride in my outdoor space, but now instead of “maintaining” it, I use it. I love reading outside in the afternoon on my comfy chair and I have big plans for a new grill this summer so I can have friends over. But instead of having to weed or mow, or worry about my landscaping. . .I’ll just enjoy the outdoors.
Do you love your yard? Are you maximizing the enjoyment and minimizing the time and money it takes to maintain? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.