Maryam in Marrakech has a story of frustration and landscaping in her beautiful today. She calls her post, Marrakesh: Peacock Pavilions and a tale of botanical woes.
I found myself commenting feverishly on her post, and then realized after 1200 words or so that I too had a story that wanted to be told.
Oh I feel your pain Maryam!
Landscaper con artist I too am familiar with! Please allow me to tell you how I learned massive amounts both about landscaping and the infinite gullibility of the human spirit.
We had thought of landscaping our garden in phases. We had a little money now and wanted to ‘a little bit of this and that’. We, of course, gleefully signed on the one landscaper who said he could do not only ‘a little bit of this and that’ but our ENTIRE landscaping within our small budget. We will call the man Landscaper from Hell, or LFH in short. (Though in truth, we were the big idiots. When something sounds too good to be true, it invariably is. )
Like for Maryam and the Peacock Pavilion landscape, our LFH asked for a LARGE advance, which we were all too eager to pay. From there on, things went incredibly fast. At first. It took LFH no time at all to dig out, rip out, and tear out the existing grounds, leaving us with a pile of rubble and mud of cataclysmic proportions. The backyard, pool, even driveway became unusable. They would remain that way as things slowwwwed down and streeeetched over fifteen! months!... until things finally came to screeching halt with all the usual accoutrements of unreturned phone calls and missed appointments.
We then had to pay cold-hard cash, to a hard-core pro to do the hard-scape, and believe me, that broke the bank, because with everything torn up there was no more doing things ‘in stages’.
But take heart Maryam, Sometimes you don't see the silver lining of a bad experience until much later.
Because we ran out of money. I ended up doing the plant selection and the planting all by myself. I learned that I loved gardening and that gardening loved me back. In the end we SUED Landscaper From Hell and WON (small claims court but that was sooo validating.) Three years later, I don’t know what I’m most proud of: that each thriving plant in my garden was planted and nurtured by my own dirt-encrusted hands, or that my marriage survived the ordeal.
Here are pictures from last spring and summer. Because I'm always digging out, pulling, replacing and planting, the garden looks entirely different from one year to the next.
Here is the backyard.
This is the front yard. We created a courtyard with a fountain and fishpond in front to hide the house from the street and the street from the house.
My new best friend:
Also I received the latest issue of Sunset Magazine (if you live in the West, you know The One.) This issue did not disappoint. From seven (hidden) wonders of the West, to a fantastic green house, the issue is really awesome.
I also noticed in very fine prints on page 62 that Sunset’s 2008 dream garden Awards are underway. There are several categories and I’m thinking of submitting my garden in the incredible makeover categories (The deadline for home gardeners is April 16th).
What do you think? Here are some before pictures of the front yard. I balk at posting those but...