Amy Rees Anderson

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

That is a fantastic Chinese Proverb I came across tonight that I had to share with all of you tonight because it is a perfect fit for what is on my mind.

I have spent the last several weeks working on a landscaping design for our new home with our landscaper extraordinaire, Chip Galloway of Utah Landscaping.  Chip did the landscaping of my current home and he did a great job on that, so of course he was my first call for landscaping when we started the plans for our new house.  This time around Chip convinced me to do a 3D computer mockup of my new yard so we could really visualize our designs.  At first I pushed back and said no way, insisting a 3D mockup would be a waste of money (after all I hadn’t done one for my current yard and it turned out just fine, so why did I need it this time?).  But Chip was so passionate about how much it would help me that I finally agreed to give it a try – and I have to say that I am SO GLAD that we did!  I am visual person to begin with, but having your ideas done in a true 3D layout that you can walk through and spin around from different angles CHANGES YOUR WORLD!  It’s AMAZING! And seeing the ideas laid out that way is so smart because it lets you make mistakes on a computer image rather than making an expensive mistake on the actual yard that would cost too much money to fix.

The process was simple – I drew what I wanted in my yard the old fashioned way, on paper with a pencil (I know…archaic…but it is the best way to do a first pass). Then I found images off Houzz and Google images that I put into an organized PowerPoint presentation where I could display each picture and add text to the slide stating what I liked about it. Then I sent all of that info to Chip.  He then took that info and created the first pass of putting it into a 3D layout of my backyard, adding to my ideas with his own great ideas so he could show me ways to improve on what I had started with.  He then sent it to me to see and I would give him feedback on what I like and don’t like so he could make those changes and send it back again.  Doing this yard in 3D has been the coolest creative process because it allowed me to show it to friends and neighbors and walk through it with my kids as if we are actually in our new yard.   I then got their feedback and we incorporated those into the design as well.  We are now putting the final touches on it and then we are ready to start the actual landscaping in the new yard.   I have to tell all of you that using technology to do the 3D is my new favorite thing.  I even started learning how to use the SketchUp software used to create these 3Ds myself because I am having a blast with it.  Once our design is complete I will post images for all of you to see as well.  It’s really cool.

So that was a really long way of saying that planting trees has been on my mind lately.  I LOVE trees.  I don’t even know what it is about them but they are seriously amazing; so beautiful and strong and elegant.  I love them. But it is a serious bummer that it takes so long for them to grow big and full, because by the time we are thinking we want one, we want it to be full grown right this minute.   We don’t want to plant it and have to wait 20 years for it to become amazing.  So we end up holding off on planting one because we don’t have the patience to wait for it to grow.  But the fact is that we shouldn’t hold off planting them because 20 years from now we will be so glad we did.

And that is where we come to the life analogy.  There are a ton of things I wish I had done a long time ago because I want to experience the benefit of having done them right now.  Things like starting an exercise routine 20 years ago would have given me a fabulous body today, or things like having good eating habits would have made my body healthier today. Maybe it’s wishing things like starting a journal so you could look back on that now, or taking more photos of important events so you could have them in albums today, or learning to play an instrument so you could be an amazing pianist today.  The point is that we can’t go back and plant a tree in the past – it’s already passed.  But we can always plant a new one today.  Sure it isn’t going to give us the instant gratification that we want, but 20 years from now we will be so incredibly happy that we did it today!  So today’s challenge is to plant a tree, either a real one or a metaphorical one – just plant it!

Have a great day!


  • Catherine says:

    I’m plating my tree today, I start college today, after many years of delay. I am soooo excited!

  • Anonomous says:

    Not to go against the analogy because I do like it, but you do have the option of buying fully grown trees and having them planted in your yard. It just costs a lot more money. Just saying. Have a great day.

  • zachary says:

    Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Throughout idea I’d like to put in writing similar to this additionally — taking time along with actual work to make a good article… but exactly what can I say… My partner and i procrastinate a large amount and by absolutely no means seem to get something completed.

  • Fahad says:

    Who Is The Writer Or Author Of This Qoute ??
    Pleas Help Me .. :'(

  • gutterguard says:

    I also love trees. I have a small garden. I have grown many plants there. Thank you for this nice post.

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