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For my first official blog, I thought I would write about something I have re-learned over the last year or so: How great it is to be outside!

I have been doing landscape-type work since I could walk but having children and a family has made me appreciate the outdoors and what I do for a living in different ways.

The story begins with the recession. You see, we did a “recession project” at my parents’ house to keep one of our crews busy during our normally slow season.

The client (my mother) was unhappy with their back patio. So this project started like any other design-build project. With an interview of the client (my parents), we talked about what they didn’t like, a budget, and what they were hoping would be the final result.

After several revisions of the plan, we settled on the concept and got started. The original plan of course changed and grew and then grew some more. Anyone who has done construction knows this is the way it often goes.

To make a long story short the project came out magnificent although much larger in scope than we had planned. When I say “we had planned” it is because I think almost everyone in the company had a hand in some part of this project and we were all really excited about all the things we were going to do.

This newly created area of the yard and house–that in the previous fifteen years had been practically unused–became the new center of activity for 3-seasons of the year.

It is a wonderful combination of an outdoor fireplace, a large bar and grilling area with a pergola, a putting green, a jungle gym for the kids and a pigeon coupe (yes a pigeon coupe – that will be a story for another blog), and a much larger, more usable lawn area.

The yard has become a destination place for the entire immediate and extended family, including my own children who are  three and five years old. They absolutely love going to their Mimi and Poppy’s house–I mean go crazy for it. They never want to come home.

The yard has now become a place full of outdoor activity such as golf, soccer, tee ball, sitting around the fire, grilling, and just a great party and social gathering place–not to mention beautiful to look at.

These are the types of memories I feel are so important to my children and things they will always remember.

When I was growing up my fondest memories were playing sports, spending time with family and swimming in the pool with friends and family. With all the electronic and media distractions, video games, etc. that we and our kids have these days it is more important than ever to create safe places outdoors for them to stay physically active and experience the memories that they will carry with them the rest of their lives.

I wish I could say that I had the foresight to know just how this project would touch our family.  It has been truly amazing.

It turned out so much better than I had anticipated that it has given me a renewed sense of purpose in what I do every day and the experiences that my company creates for our customers. That makes my job just that much better.

Enjoy these before and after pictures of the project:

Get in touch with the landscape design professionals at Neave Group Outdoor Solutions — we can help you create an outdoor living space that is perfect for making family memories for years to come. From the Hudson Valley, call (845) 463-0592. If you’re in Westchester County, dial (914) 271-7996, and if you’re in Connecticut, call us at (203) 212-4800. You can also fill out the web form to have us get in touch with you.

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