What’s the definition of a good plan?  It has to be ‘SMART’ – specific, measurable, action-driven, realistic, and time-bound?

I’m suddenly going back to my days of being a project manager on large IT projects now.  That was a loooong time ago, I’m not even sure where all that came from.  I can’t tell you how much I hated sitting in meetings spitting out that kind of jargon, in my nice, well paying, but boring as batshit job.  But the point is mostly valid, and applies to any project, even this one.

There isn’t much point in making plans, setting goals, if you don’t measure your progress.

So let’s run through it.  The backyard needs a lot of work right now.

Specific:  I am going to improve the value of the house, by finishing the painting, cleaning up the garden, doing some light landscaping, planting out the beds, and creating a low maintenance, established garden.  I will probably recarpet as well.

Measurable:  I bought the house well under market value four years ago.  The house was appraised few months ago at around $70k more than I paid for it, with most of the painting finished and new window coverings.  I’m looking to increase that number considerably more by adding some feature walls, replacing the carpets and landscaping and planting up the gardens.  I’m keeping track of all my expenses, and come the day when I sell, I’ll find out if this has all been worthwhile, and how much, if anything, all of this work has earned me.

Action-driven:  I’m doing as much physical work as my physical strength and health will allow.  I’m getting quotes on the jobs that I can’t do.  I’m doing research, learning about gardening, landscaping and plants.  I’ve learned to paint, and while I don’t do the best job in the world, and I’m slow, it IS getting done.  Plenty of action, not just talk.

Realistic:  As long as my health holds, the plan is realistic.  If I fall apart again (and I will) I’ll deal with that as it happens.  I’ll miss my time deadlines, if so.  And the plants will die.  Or get overrun with weeds.  Worst case, I’ll need to find people to do all the work for me.  And pay them lots of money.  Which is obviously not ideal, because it will cut into my profit margin.

Time-bound:  Winter is coming!  No, we’re not talking Game of Thrones.  Winter really is coming and I need to get most of the work done before the ground turns to ice and the soild hard as concrete.

Most important of all is keeping track of the budget.  I don’t know why it isn’t included up there, I guess they couldn’t make a pretty acronym including the letter ‘B’ for budget.  Personally, I think the budget matters a whole lot, because the whole point of this exercise is to maximise the selling price of my home.

So, in the interests of all that I’ll keep updating this page with a progress report, for the garden project.  Especially the expenses!

Costs so far:

Date Item Cost
25/3/17 Plants $335.44
26/3/17 Soil, compost, fertiliser, tools $132.91
 1/4/17  Plants  $324.56