Rocks, cement blocks, huge tree stumps, pesky moles, and lots of weeds. These are some of the challenges that Bryan has faced in trying to improve our yard over the past two years since we moved here. In Japan, it’s very common to have no yard or a very small one. At our old house we had a tiny strip of gravel to call our yard, but at our new place we have a much larger plot of land around our house (though it is still a very small yard by American standards). However, just as the house has needed quite a few improvements, the yard has been a bit of a fixer-upper as well. According to neighbors, before we moved here the yard was a total jungle. In order to make the place more attractive to renters, lots of the foliage and jungle-like aspects of the yard were removed, but it was still just a weed patch with moles when we moved in. My wonderful do-it-yourself husband has turned the weed patch into a nice lawn, created a small vegetable garden space, built an outdoor storage shed, and created a lighted pathway with stepping stones. We still have some rubble left to remove (which is not simple in Japan because you can’t just throw it away), but the yard has improved tremendously since Bryan started working on it. The kids love having their own patch of grass to lie down on or play around on and they have become very enthusiastic gardeners and weed pullers. Here are a few before and after photos of our outdoor living space.