Memorial Day Weekend

May 31, 2011

A few traditions have been established since my parents started flying out here to visit me in Dallas many years ago: restaurants, shopping and home improvement projects.

Dad browsing the inventory at Orvis in Dallas

And dad’s Memorial Day-weekend visit this year was no exception.

We got the shopping done (as you can see from the photo above) and enjoyed many fine meals (with Knox in tow whenever possible).

But the lion’s share of the trip focused on adding a little steeze to the landscaping in my front yard.

I did not inherit my dad’s DIY skills, and maintaining my front yard is always an overwhelming experience. I’ve got the basics down…the lawn mower and the leaf blower are in the arsenal. However, everything else is a mystery (the poor edger that my dad gave me years ago has rarely seen the light of day).

So when my dad offers to help me with an outdoor project while he’s here, I always take full advantage of his generosity. And this weekend was beyond anything that I could have imagined.

First off, after all of the dramatic storms we’d had the previous week, summer weather arrived with a vengeance in Dallas over the holiday weekend.  We got swamped with nearly triple-digit temperatures and high humidity.  So working through my “plan” was no easy task.

Then came the “plan” itself. I wanted to capture a Highland Park landmark in my Lake Highlands front yard.

Intersection of Armstrong, Oak Lawn and Preston Road in Dallas

Every time I drive past this fountain I am struck by how well the silver fronds of the agave look next to the creamy white masonry. That’s what I wanted in my front yard.

As always, dad seemed up for the challenge. His only concern was that agave may not be the most welcoming plant to put along a walkway. But I was committed to sticking to the plan (“if it’s good enough for Highland Park….”).

The hardest part was finding the right pots for the agave and for some boxwoods that we also wanted to place near the front door (more on that later). I wanted something old and grand for the agave to capture the spirit of the fountain…but humble enough to blend in with my reality (that I do not live in Highland Park. Yet.)

We spent hours looking at pots and almost pulled the trigger several times on various “runners up”.  We gave up on the first day and decided to resume the hunt on dad’s 2nd day in Dallas. The final decision was made late that afternoon on one of the first pots that we looked at on Day One…very heavy, cement, vintage pots that were marked down on clearance at the White Elephant Antique Mall.

These cement pots had been painted white and kind of had a shabby chic vibe…NOT Highland Park, at all. But after two cans of ivory satin spray paint, they started to look much more posh.

Knox strategizing on the best method for "personalizing" the new pot.

Dad felt that the agave pots needed to be balanced with something bigger up close to the house. I like dad’s style in these matters so we started looking for possible candidates.  We looked at a lot of antique shops but decided to go with some ceramic pots that we found at Crate and Barrel.

Installing everything into the yard took a fraction of the time that we had spent driving all over Dallas in a little black car trying to figure it all out. But I am very happy with the end result and the neighbors like it too. I think we succeeded in bringing some Highland Park steeze to my Lake Highlands crib…which is no easy task.

THANK YOU DAD.

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