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Start planning your summer happy place now

36204332_S“A garden isn’t meant to be useful,” British writer Rumer Godden once said, “It’s for joy.” And that’s what springtime is all about — imaging and awaiting the joy of warm evenings in your yard.

From coast to coast and the Gulf of Mexico to Canada, homeowners are sticking their noses out the back door, sniffing the air, and wondering how those bulbs they planted last year made it through the winter. While they’re waiting, their thoughts turn to garden projects to come.

Whether your garden is already blooming or still part of the last-spring freeze, it doesn’t hurt to start planning. Maybe a gazebo! Or at least a few new bushes.

Some homeowners turn their back yards into a farmer’s market — like Chicago restauranteurs Rick and Deann Bayless, whose happy place is a backyard vegetable garden that brings together their work and their play. This is where the couple likes to relax, entertain friends and recharge their batteries, surrounded by the aromas and spicy scents of their Mexican eateries.

Elsewhere in the Upper Midwest, Michigan homeowner and designer Anna Brooks has turned her yard into a “home for misfit plants.” It may sound a bit haphazard, but the plants Brooks rescues from bulldozers at building sites find refuge in her back yard — which is Brooks’ own refuge after a busy day.

Outside of Boston, Joyce Hannaford went into her yard one morning to shoo a man out of the flowerbed. The guy was setting up a camera a tripod, drawn by the rainbow spray of wildflowers and blooming bushes. “I hope you don’t mind,” he said. Hannaford didn’t mind. Her garden is a place that holds her memories and happy times. And she likes to share.

That’s what you want your yard to be — a place of peace and quiet and easy summer livin’. Because — as the poet says — your garden is for joy.

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