I *must* be able to do this?

I read this yesterday on Scott Hanselmans blog and it struck a bit of a DIY chord with me. We’re currently doing our garden up from being an overgrown jungle to something hopefully resembling the kind of thing you see on TV and go ‘Oooo’ and  ‘Aaah’.

Now, not having set foot in a garden before (actually, that’s a lie. I have, just not with the intent of doing anything) I figured the best way was to pay someone to come along, design it, and just do it. I’d then write a big cheque and we’re done.

Well, that was until we got ‘The Quote’. Screw that then, I better learn me some garden skills. Now, as a .NET developer who spends all day solving little problems to create bigger things (hah, I avoided the architecture word!) I figured it can’t be that hard can it? After all, if little old ladies can make amazing gardens then I should be able to…

Things I learnt very fast:

  1. Digging huge amounts of ground is *HARD*. It’s ball busting, back breaking work. Pay someone else to do this bit.
  2. The woman in your life will always without fail have better ideas about what to do with the garden than you will. Fact.
  3. Even if you’re creating a little seating area down the bottom, there’s no place in the garden where it makes sense to run some Cat-5 ‘just in case’. This is why God invented Wi-Fi.

Aside from the really mundane stuff it was quite a rewarding task, and very interesting to see how computer developer skills translated into doing something manual. For example, working out how many paving slabs I need for a bit of path. Well, that’s pretty much like an array isn’t it? Filling wheelbarrows and taking them to the skip, do you take fewer heavier loads and risk all the soil falling over, or smaller lighter ones? Seems like network packets to me.

Moral of the story is, if you have the smarts to do something like fix engines, design rockets, fix people or just design software then you’re clearly switched on enough that doing anything else on a similar level but outside your sphere is possible. It may take a bit of research and practise, but it’s well within reach.




(mind you… I haven’t tried to build the shed yet!)