I knew from the first moment I sat on a plastic chair in the backyard of what was to become my new home four years ago, that the 32 or so 12” x 12” concrete pavers from the big box store down the road had to go. There we were, four of us crowded together, knees nearly touching, on that postage stamp- sized patio, immersed in conversation on the pluses and minuses of the mid-century ranch. I had no doubt that the house was for me, but the backyard?
The yard featured the so-called patio, a two-shrub Knock Out rose bed under the den window and a shade garden, freshly mulched, in the back corner. Along the side fence by the garage ran a 25-foot long raised bed, bare in February.
Also facing the backyard next to the a/c unit stood three young PJM rhododendrons under the eaves protected from harsh winds and elements.Embed from Getty Images
In the corner where the family room juts out of the long expanse of the ranch sits a purple barberry, also protected. Ugh, I thought, I hate that prickly barberry bush.
The yard itself is a typical tract housing suburban lot, with dimensions of about 40 x 75 feet. It is rectangular, gently sloped, fenced on three sides, with small trees randomly along the perimeter. Not a tree, shrub or flower disrupted the expanse of weedy grass (except of course, the so-called patio).
Did I mention that that the sell sheet advertised the property as landscaped?
“This is not landscaped,” was what my realtor said several times as we weighed the merits of the property.
Which, as it turns out, was a good thing.