Planting the Seeds of Opportunity - Ease Your Burdens With a Smaller Yard

Summer has finally arrived. People are celebrating the season with backyard barbecues and gatherings with family and friends. The smell of freshly cut grass is in the air and gardens are really starting to come in. You may have already harvested a few tomatoes. We all love our yards. We look upon them with pride, especially during the summer months when the culmination of years of work comes together just right. It may be the trees that bring your yard together, or maybe it’s the hedges. Or perhaps your exquisite flower garden is the talk of the neighborhood. With the warm weather, the summer is the perfect time to get the most out of your yard. As you sit and admire your yard, enjoying the fruits of your labor, you may start to think about the work you put into this greenscape. Maintaining a yard throughout the year takes a lot of time and energy. Every season comes with its fair share of yard maintenance duties. In the spring, you may fertilize your lawn and begin to plant your garden. In the summer, you weed and mow. In the fall, you rake leaves and clear out yard waste. And in the winter, you shovel snow and keep your driveway and walkways clear and safe. Like many seniors who have put years of work into their yards, you may not have the same amount of energy you once had to dedicate to your yard. It may simply be too large or there may be too much to take care of. Some seniors hire a lawn care service or landscaping specialists — or they may hire a motivated neighborhood kid who is looking for extra pocket money during the summer. These are all great options, but they can be costly over the course of a year and some may not offer services during the cool weather months. Though we are in the middle of summer, the fall and winter months will be here before you know it. July is a great time to start thinking about transitioning to a home that is easier to take care of year-round. Like many seniors, you may be thinking about your options and asking yourself some very important questions. Is yard work starting to become more of hassle? Do I feel overwhelmed by the space and the chores? Should I move into a smaller home or senior community? These aren’t always easy questions to answer, but when you answer them in the summer, you can be better prepared in the winter. Downsizing has become popular with seniors who no longer have the energy or desire to take care of a large yard or home. They are looking for ways to lower maintenance costs, along with expensive utility bills, taxes, and more. However, if you still want a garden or to take care of a yard, albeit a smaller one, there are many options out there. You can find a smaller home or senior living community that that allows you to continue to pursue that passion. Some communities feature a communal garden where you can put your green thumb to work without having to worry about all the extra maintenance that goes along with it, summer or winter. Yes, downsizing can be a hard decision to make — it can be hard to say goodbye to a yard you cared for over the years. You may have a lot of memories in that yard, from summer barbecues to snowmen in winter, built by your kids and grandkids. But a new, smaller yard or a community garden is an opportunity to make new memories and plant new flowers to see what blooms next. –Ben Souchek

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