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  • Claire Goldman

Outdoor Living

We have a 1200 SF house with 1 bathroom. That’s right, you heard me correctly. One. Bathroom. Let’s break that down for those who don’t quite get it. Three boys. One girl. One bathroom. Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor? I grew up being the most boy crazy girl in the world and now I’m surrounded by stinky boys AND sharing a bathroom with them. I feel like God looks at my life with full on belly laughs.

AHHHH! I just need some estrogen in my life. And a sparkly, clean bathroom with a touch of pink here and there.

Let me back track for a minute. I love my house and my boys. I am so very grateful for the space and especially for our neighborhood and schools. The tiny square footage has allowed us to upgrade and make it adorable. BUT – sometimes I feel like the walls are closing in. The beginning of summer is always one of those times. We’re all here on top of each other.

So, how do I maintain my sanity? By making the most of every inch of our outdoor space! So many people are overwhelmed by their yard and how to make it work for them. For me, I take it one area at a time. Of course, for our clients, I give a completed master plan and we can phase in areas as the budget allows. Do you think I’ve sat down and drawn a master plan for my own yard? We’ve been here 6 years and the yard continues to evolve in my head. Poor Charlie. Sometimes designers want to change something perfectly good just because they have a better idea. But, he’s a good sport. He plays along.

For our family, entertaining is important. With such a small house, it’s essential that we have an outdoor space to spill outside to when we have friends over. I have absolutely invited people over before and told them not to come if it’s raining. I’m really not worried about impressing anyone.

Another space important to us is the garden. I’ve confessed my love for food in a previous blog. Everything tastes better from the garden. Also, everything tastes better when you eat it outside. Truth. We have a small garden area, but we cram as much as we can into that space. As long as we keep it watered and weeded, we usually have success in our harvests! Don’t feel like you need a plow for a veggie garden. Start Small. I highly recommend Mel Bartholomew’s book, “Square Foot Gardening”.

The ONLY way I have not had a complete mental break down and impulsively bought a bigger house is because I’m happy to kick the kids outside! We’ve been very fortunate to have a neighborhood full of kids who love to play. If it’s hot, I put a cooler of lemonade out, or fill up the kiddie pool, or turn on the irrigation. Whatever it takes to keep them outside. Yes, they come in wet, dirty, and smelly. But – and here’s the key – they come in exhausted! SUCCESS!

This summer is a great time to work on your outside space. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Pick one little area and make it great and then work out from there. Remember, in the south, outdoor living works best with a little shade!

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