We bought our current home about two years ago; we love our little town and are more than happy with our house.

But we have had issues with water runoff and storm drainage in our backyard; our neighborhood is built on a series of hills. While we're lucky to have a level backyard, our yard is lower than three of the yards that are adjacent to ours.

Meaning when it rains, it gets swampy out back. Ick!

Not wanting to push our issue downhill to another neighbor (and no one is doing that to us; this issue is due to poor planning on the developer's part some ten years or more ago), we opted to have a catch basin (yard drain) installed in the lowest part of our yard with drain line running through the side yard to the front. Just past where the drain line ends, we had a River Birch tree installed.

It's a beautiful tree and the local landscapers did a great job on the project; now we just have to settle our bill.

And that's the point of this post, my friends.

We have the money put aside to pay for this little improvement but it is HARD to part with those funds. My dual desires to pay off our consumer debt as fast as possible as well as keep a healthy stash of cash available during this recessionary economy make it difficult to write that check.

But this is where I force myself to step back and think of the big picture.

This is where I remind myself that being frugal shouldn't be synonymous with being cheap.

We needed to do this improvement (and this is only step one; we have some landscaping to do - a do-it-ourselves job - to finish the Anti-Swamp Plan of Action) because the alternative - not doing it - would lead to greater (and more expensive to remedy) problems down the road.

Being frugal doesn't mean you never spend any money; it means that you when you do spend your money, you spend it wisely.

Investing in improvements to keep our backyard drained of storm runoff will not only improve the value of our property in the long term, it will improve the quality of our lives in the short term because our outdoor space will more functional.

Now if only I could let go of my deep-seated aversion to muddy footprints and pawprints across my kitchen floor...


Have a wonderful Easter weekend with your family and friends!

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  1. Laura // April 11, 2009 5:58 AM  

    I am so glad you posted this. Our yard gets a bit swampy. Mostly where there is no grass so we need to get that done. We just bought this house last month. We found out that our neighbors gutters are draining into our yard :( There is already a slope from their yard to ours. So this blog was informative to me. Besides planting grass in the other areas I wasn't sure about what to do on that side of our yard. We already have 3 or 4 trees in our backyard so I have to pass on the tree, especially if I want to put a vegetable garden in. I have some ideas now.

  2. Anonymous // April 12, 2009 4:27 PM  

    Dear New Frugal Mom,
    hang in there! We had to purchase new tires for our car, pay the deductible for a fender bender and pay for tutition (summer courses). It is always a shock BUT you are correct. It is not about being cheap it is about spending wisely. Spending funds for your home's equity is always saving. God Bless, Happy Easter!