Written By:  Lora Rutt

Imagine a tranquil backyard…


The sounds of summer.  Birds singing , water falling onto rocks from a pond and the beauty that only a frogs note can create.

Now read these next sentences louder!  

Imagine a 5 inch rain.  Watching water rush into your daughters window well..

Insert exploitative here.  AHHHHH!!!!

Grabbing the shop vac, flying down the basement stairs at 2 in the morning with one eye open and the other barely able to focus.  You see it and sigh.  All your hard work of remodel is coming to a stop as the outdoors seem to be determined to come into your daughters basement room.   I open the egress window, turn on my shop vac and begin to suck feet of water.  Suddenly I hear…

Thud.  Grind.  Blurb.  OH NO!  Not only water but the FROGS!  I’m sucking up FROGS!  Not such beautiful sounds do they make now….

It was time to ‘FIX’ the backyard…. 

After my father (thanks for putting up with me) and I remodeled for over 18 months, my family and I finally moved into our new/old home June 2007.  It was a love/hate relationship (with the house I mean). We were leaving behind 15 years of memories in our old shack that sat along the highway, small and cramped but with a large fenced in yard, big barn, great tasting well water and most certainly NO new/old home remodel headaches.  

Fast  forward to the summer of 2007.  We experienced good and timely rains. Our crops flourished, my first garden in the new/old home was a success. But oh how the water loved to inch its way ever so close to each basement window. Despite my best efforts of digging channels  in the dirt with a shovel, lying awake at night ready to jump and get the shop vac at a moment’s notice and eventually new siding and gutters – nothing worked.

After researching for a long while I found a company called Johnson LandscapeMike Johnson of Kearney is on my speed dial list. He listened to my vision , created a plan and over the last 6 years has helped me to transform this……

lora7 Into this……


I have created a space  that reminds me of the best times of my childhood home..


That safe secure place you can use after a long day at work, an argument , a place to talk to God, a place to laugh and share.  It  is a challenge at times to keep up.  I won’t lie…. Preen (weed preventer) and I are the best of friends. It takes daily watering, weeding and my mulch doesn’t come in a bag but rather on a truck – annually.  It has been a labor of love.

We have created new memories out back .  Grilling, friends and family gatherings, starting back to school photos, and most recently we entertained around 125 people over the course of 6 hours celebrating our oldest daughter Rachel’s graduation from Minden High.  

Now with the exception of the occasional dead frog I find and remove from my pond, I only listen to the beauty of the living ones who are no longer trying to get in and out of this world the hard way.  


Come to my neck  of the plains.  Sit a while, enjoy a glass of wine, a few laughs and experience what I call ‘quality of life’ in  my backyard.

Would you like to create this yard for yourself?  Contact the following businesses to help you get started!  

Johnson Lawn and Landscape

Kearney Crete and Block