The Washington Times-Herald

July 13, 2013

Landscaping in order at the Sims house

By Gregg A. Sims
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — The Sims family recently decided that some landscaping was in order, and so the project began.

Perhaps you remember the stories of last summer when a new porch and room were added to the home that sits on the expansive quarter-acre lot. A new two-car garage had been the first step nearly two years ago.

Obviously, this left less and less grass to mow on the expansive quarter-acre, but the grass was still winning.

Following last summer’s successful additions, grass still remained. Included was a seemingly small, but yet determined, section near the drive that I often referred to as heartbreak hill.

That might be a bit of an overstatement unless you consider the hill near the drive has a tree at the apex of a small, but sharply declining, slope that often seemed to me to be the perfect training area for ski jumping during winter months.

Added to the woe was a now even smaller section on another slope about 20-feet or so into the drive and the even smaller area between the porch and a new sidewalk that made fitting a 21-inch lawn mower nearly impossible.

So, landscaping was the answer. And it was.

We had some friends who liked to deal with such things, and they had the time. Fortunately, we were able to fund the project, so everything was ready.

A nice red mulch was laid between some wooden stuff with a railroad tie here and there. Several rectangular spaces, remember I was never much with math so rectangular will have to do, were created.

Plants were planted. Black plastic was laid on heartache hill and spine-like vegetation which we simply call the creepy crawlies began to creep and crawl.

But that was just the beginning.

We decided since entering the driveway could be hazardous in the evening, we needed some solar lighting to help us, actually mostly me, to see the inside edging on the drive when the moon was at its brightest.

We also had a new sidewalk, so solar lighting was also needed there with the number of people that we have flocking to our front door each evening.

Then there was the sidewalk from the garage to the back door, and lights there would certainly be helpful.

And the railroad ties that we put down at the back of the drive near the garage to keep us, well mostly me again, from sliding off the driveway into a yard when it snows also needed lighting for nighttime activity.

The final step was a bird feeder and bird bath. We got one of each just a few weeks ago. We now have three bird feeders, a hummingbird feeder and a bird bath. One of the bird feeders is in the back so as not to make it appear we have gone a bit over the edge with all of this.

And I nearly forgot the fake frog and turtle that we placed under a tree and on the edge of the front walk. The frog is mine, the turtle belongs to Alice.

I think we’re now slowed down a bit, and it has actually enhanced the look of the place while making the front porch even more popular.

We’ve gotten to know cardinals, some sort of yellow breasted, black-winged golden something or the others, pigeons and darker and lighter colored winged creatures that enjoy a free meal.

It’s quite relaxing and pleasing. Of course the biggest reward is our one-quarter acre of heaven is now more like maybe a tenth for mowing, if that.

Life is good and getting better all the time.


Sims has often been noted to watch birds while playing golf. Real birds, not the birdies that one can make on the course. Those birdies are quickly becoming a thing of the past for this increasingly old fogey who now watches more bogeys.