The Pursuit of Perfection and our DIY Garden

Posted on Posted in Life Lessons, Play-Based Learning Activities


Last weekend, I decided to pick up some seeds to make a little garden on our patio. Living in an apartment building, and because anything on the ground would invariably end up in my eleven month old’s mouth, my daughter and I had very limited space to work with. For just under our $10 budget, I purchased organic soil (it was only about a dollar more than the regular variety), carrot, and pea seeds. Fittingly enough, as I made my purchases, I glanced over at that day’s paper only to see a headline that read In The Garden: Forget beauty… just make it less ugly. Not only did I have my components for our project but added inspiration for this post.


Because newsfeeds on Facebook tend to be filled with photos of immaculate households, picturesque DIY projects, and well-dressed, clean kids, I can’t help but comment on the latter part of the above-mentioned headline. I don’t know about all of you, but I need this reminder. Regularly, in fact. Of course, my goal when taking on any given task is not simply to make it “less ugly”. However, I do need to repetitively say an almost mantra to myself that the pursuit of perfection is inherently flawed. That’s right. The pursuit of perfection only leads to an overwhelming sense of anything that remains out-of-place. And, it is utterly impossible to get everything just right 100% of the time. When I start on something, I could very well start with a prototype, a beta version,  then ultimately create a finished product. Basically, if I don’t get ahead of myself, a delightful experience could be turned into an arduous task. WHERE IS THE FUN IN THAT? Sure the outcome is “picture perfect”. But the process? Oh! the process is devoid of all the value, especially when it involves your little one(s). Every activity kids lends itself to invaluable learning, fun, and memories. In this case, dumping soil teaches conservation of mass; playing with dirt gives a sense of texture; the conversation teaches new language, and that seeds turn into plants; and finally, watering by means of a spray bottle betters fine motor skills. So, as my children end up with dirt on their hands, under their nails, on their clothes, and all over the ground, I bear in mind, one more outfit added to an endless pile of laundry is inconsequential. And when my kids are older and my house is cleaner, I know I will long for the time in their lives I had to remind them almost incessantly not to eat dirt!


Our DIY Patio Garden

What we usedIMG_1536
    • an empty coffee tin
    • an empy, well rinsed bottle of laundry detergent
    • serrated knife
    • seeds
    • soil
    •  watering can/ spray bottle


  •  white gesso
  •  acrylic paint of your choice
  •  all-purpose varnish
  •  kids’ shovel
What we did
  1. Cut the top half of the detergent bottle off and poke holes in the bottom of pots so water can drain out.
  2. If you choose to paint your pots (we didn’t but I had already decorated the coffee can pictured above from a project years ago), prep your pots to by covering them in white gesso (this ensures the paint colour you’ve chosen adheres well). Once dried, paint with desired colour of acrylic paint. On my coffee can, I used a second colour and a tooth pick to write a quote I like. Once paint is dry, spray with varnish. Varnish has to be completely dry before putting soil in pots.
  3.  If you want to skip to the real fun, leave makeshift pots “as is”, and fill with soil.
  4.  Plant seeds and bury seeds using hands (more fun than a shovel).
  5. Water generously.

Cannot wait to see how this turns out. And even if it doesn’t turn out all that well, we definitely had fun! What have you planted this season? Was it a success?

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10 thoughts on “The Pursuit of Perfection and our DIY Garden

  1. I love the idea of being ok with “less ugly.” Such a necessary lesson for all of us Perfection seekers, and you’re so right that even the pursuit of Perfection is inherently flawed. Love this!!! Great post and adorable project. Love the pics! ?

  2. This is adorable! It’s also a very, very good point. I like how you said, “Sure the outcome is “picture perfect”. But the process? Oh! the process is devoid of all the value, especially when it involves your little one(s). Every activity kids lends itself to invaluable learning, fun, and memories.” Love it. So. Much. It’s so easy to lose sight of what is *really* important. It’s not the way it looks, it is the experience, the learning, the fun.

  3. Awesome idea. I’ve been meaning to grow an avacado seed with my little girls. You’re so right about the pursuit of perfection too! Life gets messy, but that’s what makes it wonderful.

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