Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Price We Pay

Luna-the white kitty.  Today's pics will be cuter than the ugly truth of this post.  When I look at receipts, I think of cute kitties who help me write every morning.  I could have been quite literal with this post and show you folders of receipts for pics.....but I thought that would be rather boring.  These pics are what happens when your camera is sitting next to the computer.
Today's write is a painful one.  Do any of us realize how much money we spend every year on our landscaping??  Well, recently a homeowner asked me to do just that and so I did.  I sat down with my hundreds of receipts, a calculator, and a pen.  Receipts ranging from the Home Depot to Mesquite Valley nursery piled up on my table.  Of course my cats had to help me and try to mess up the order of it all. 
Nova is shocked by the costs of landscaping and outdoor maintenance!
 What did I discover?  I spent WAY over the amount I am allotted every month and need to repay myself back some of that money.  It's amazing how much everything costs!!  From garden tools, arborist fees, new plants, maintenance, gas, soil and fertilizer, El Presidio does a good job eating up our 300 dollar a month allowance.  I remember the issues I had when I first moved here. The grounds looked terrible and there wasn't any money to fix anything up.  A dead tree leaned up against my building and no one was going to remove it.  Why?  No money!!!  Scared, I offered my help by taking over the maintenance of the grounds.  I began investing in tools and other items.  While we are making a movement forward, I have hit a stump right now.  Several major projects this past spring PLUS our terrible winter freeze has interferred with the forward momentum.  By the end of this year, my projects will be done.  I'm not so sure about our pool and courtyard. 
Some days I would like to be sleeping like this on the couch but unfortuneatly, the garden calls for assistance on Saturday and Sunday mornings during our hot months.
We filled the pool and I believe we need a landscape designer to help us redefine that space.  It is such an eyesore right now.  There are two people trying to sell their units and with that space looking like it does, I wouldn't take a step near El Presidio.  It's time for the professionals to work their magic! Well that's my 1/16th of an opinion.  Some are against the idea while others think it's needed. The issue? No one wants to spend the money for a "plan". But the plan is needed if we are going to make our courtyard space work with the buildings around it. I don't think it's an option and it's money well spent. I get discouraged everytime I step out my door and see that ugly area.  Once the pool and side areas have definition, the El Presidio courtyard will look a million times better.  As the guy in the background, I have ideas but I also realize that this project is over my head NOR should it be done by me. 16 homeowners have to make a decision towards this space and how it will be redefined. 
This was a stock photo and like this mushroom in my garden, it randomly and unexplicably shows up on this post.
As for the planters.  We did the right thing by getting rid of the old plants that were breaking the cement barriers and leaning against the building.  I will be excited to see what it all looks like next summer.  So my spring projects for this upcoming year will be about fixing up all those areas again. It's too hot right now to put anything into the ground!  I'll take my camera around the property and show you the different areas that need some work.  I'll begin my light work in September and gradually build up for the major work that needs to be done.  It's important to note that I am going to focus on one area ONLY!  It is overwhelming to look at everything at once.  So for my sanity, I will clean up one area at a time.
From left to right...we are cat hoarders soon to be featured on that TV show.  We have 5 cats total.  From left to right, Calisto(the Torty), Aurora the Grey, and Luna the White
So how much was spent?  Get ready. 

HOA-300 dollars
My expenditures with dead tree removal etc. $1,288.10
Out of my pocket $988.10

HOA paid me 3300 dollars(normally it was 3600, but we were in a financial crunch and I took a one month loss in January due to the yearly insurance cost) Planter was removed on side and I was supposed to pay myself back but as you'll see it didn't happen quite as planned.
My expenditures $5001.53. Out of my pocket cost $1701.53


HOA began to recover from losses on homeowners paying late and all payments for landscaping were paid for the year. $3600 was paid to me and I spent 3041.80. I paid myself back $558.20 which was good.


HOA pays me $3600 for the year and I spend $3909.84. Out of my pocket, I take a hit of $309.84


So far HOA has paid me $2400 and I've spent a total of $2200.

So it's about budgeting.  But landscaping sometimes has other ideas for homeowners. It's a fun job, but it's like having a kid.....lots of work!


  1. I really admire you for taking on such a huge but necessary project. Let's hope any new people moving in share your passion for gardening and can contribute as much as you do financially and practically. I hear you about having areas of your yard that are an eyesore. I feel the same right now with a half landscaped backyard but I am trying to focus on the areas the are looking good at least.

  2. What a dear place it must be for you and for the others along the way.


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