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  • Writer's pictureZach

What I wanted in a forever home

My requirements for buying our “forever home” weren’t the same as Kiersten’s. That's probably a given. I wanted to have space for a dedicated man cave to decorate with my own freedom and watch sports, a storage room big enough for a workshop and a big yard that I could personally transform. When looking for houses I really wasn’t interested in properties that had finished landscaping. Our previous house had one tree, three bushes, two knockout roses and a 10’x11’ builders grade deck when we moved in.

Listing photo from our old house - a VERY clean slate

Before kids, I spent my free time outside in the yard. I grew up with two parents who both have green thumbs, and always worked landscaping jobs in the summer. By the time we listed it, we had put in a stone paver patio, 19 different trees, a fruit garden and too many perennials to count. All flower beds had three season plants where there was color from spring to fall. Hundreds of daffodils came up first thing in spring, and dozens of mums showed off their colors in the fall. My yard was looking so good at times that a local garden center used my pictures in their advertising. (And I know it’s not just because Kiersten works in advertising and Earl May Garden Center is one of her clients.)

Kiersten had one other major requirement for our new home. It either had to have a swimming pool or land that we could build a swimming pool. (She thinks she’s got a built-in pool maintenance plan since I have my summers off from teaching.) Happy wife, happy life, right? This may sound easy; however, it became really tricky because of what’s underground. Luckily we figured this out pretty early in our home search, and Kiersten ended up getting the city zoning maps from the city so we could look at those before we even considered taking a tour. Before you buy a house make sure you ask your city what’s underground.

Eventually, as we were driving around one of our desired neighborhoods, we literally saw them place the for-sale sign in the ground. Kiersten got out her printed underground city easement map to make sure it could one day have a pool and once we saw it was clear from obstacles, we contacted our realtor. It wasn’t even online yet so we had to wait out the details of the home and price. We toured it the next day and made an offer that night. This house had everything I wanted, along with several established big walnut trees. The yard was big and wide open. It had an original big deck along with original landscaping that was about twenty years old.

But, it also had several overgrown bushes, dead trees and giant pine trees. It needed a lot of work, but that’s what I wanted.

backyard landscaping
Listing photo of the new house back landscaping

I’ll share more about what we took out immediately and why it needed to go next time.


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we're kiersten and zach

Follow along with us each week as we work to make the very 2000s home we bought during the middle of a pandemic more “us.” We’ll share everything from quick fixes to more permanent changes, along with projects you can do in your own home. Zach will also share all his lawn and garden advice as he starts over on the yard.


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