Monday, March 06, 2006

family planning

When we bought our house last year, it was in great move-in condition, other than a poorly planned back yard. It's a small lot, and the back yard consisted of an old, cracked tile patio, a large, rotting deck, and a few overgrown shrubs. When the hot August sun shone down, the patio and deck radiated oppressive, muggy heat. It was not the backyard oasis we wanted, nor was it even remotely hospitable. Living in California, you've just got to have a back yard worth hanging out in...300 days of sun call for outdoor living.

So, Ben drew up plans that we edited...and edited...and edited. Ben wanted a unique design that made the small space appear bigger. I wanted a cool, inviting, kid-friendly yard. We finally settled on a plan we both felt good about, for both adults and kids--plenty of green, a pergola with wisteria for shade in August, and a whimsical water feature.

All along it wasn't even a question in my mind that in this yard, in the future, we would play with our babies. When we rented in Houston, we had the most amazing koi pond in the back yard. It was calming and soothing and, best of all, a hit with the kids! When our friend Joe and Jodi came to stay for a few days, their two boys basically lived and breathed at the edge of that pond, dangling their feet in, splashing around, watching the koi, throwing in leaves and fishing them out.

We settled on a home-made design incorporating an old-fashioned farm pump with half a wine barrel. Ben rigged up the pump and voila! We weren't sure if it would be as big a hit as the koi pond, and then our friend Tyler came along to test it out:

Tyler tested, Tyler approved. For almost two hours on a February afternoon, Tyler played and played and played. This moment, captured by his mom Kelly, shows us that the planning and work pays off!

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