Saturday, April 14, 2018

"Big Dreams, Small Spaces" Texas Style

 I am not a fan of most reality TV. But I DO love the "Great British Baking Show," and I have recently discovered another British import that has a similar appeal for me. It's called "Big Dreams, Small Spaces," and it's about a gardening guru, Monte Don, who helps two individuals or families during each episode turn small yards into interesting or beautiful garden spaces. One of the things I love about it is that the participants do most of the work themselves; they don't hire professionals to come in to make the transformation happen. And often they work with a relatively small budget.

I have to admit that I am intrigued. Well, more than intrigued; I am motivated. So over the course of the summer, my plan is to take this small, ugly corner of our yard and transform it into a magical garden for our grandchildren, complete with structures, plantings, and decor. I want to involve them both in designing the space and in working to make it happen.

This really is a small space--only about 15 1/2 feet by 36 feet, but I feel like it has potential, and anything will be an improvement. Right now it is just sort of a graveyard for odds and ends. The only bright spot is the flower bed along the house wall which is just beginning to bloom:

Monte always has the homeowners draw up a plan, so the children and I have plotted out our design. I wish he were here to give us his input, but for now we will go with what we have got:

It may be hard to read, but it includes a narrow flower bed around the giant water tank, a small graveled seating area around an equally small raised fire bowl, a play house w/deck, and a child-size garden bench.

Budget? I'm just having to estimate here, but I'm hoping to pull if all off for under $400. The playhouse plans I have found have a cost of about $250, but I will need to build a deck under it because the ground slopes down to the fence, so that cost will be higher. Add in the cost of the fire feature, the bench, plants, gravel and mulch, and $400 may be too little. But that will be our target.

It's a little (very) scary to post about this as an on-going project because it could turn into a complete disaster. But putting it out there will also encourage me to really make it happen. And along the way I will share what I learn--what works and what doesn't. And if it turns out, maybe it will encourage you to dream big in a small way too.

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