Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lawn Envy

lawn, birds, grass, weeds,
Before I owned a house, I could not understand those people that spend precious hours (and hours) every weekend working on their lawns. Why bother? It's just grass, cut it an move on, after all, you could be playing video games. I mocked those people.

Now I am those people.

My lawn is a travesty. Well, not all of my lawn. The first foot and a half of my lawn that is an extension of my neighbors' lawn is beautiful. My neighbor's lawn is like an advertisement for a lawn care company: a rich, thick, unbroken expanse of emerald green. I want to walk barefoot through their lawn. I want to run my fingers through their lawn. I want to strip off my clothes, lay down and roll around in their lawn naked. (The worst part is I have yet to see or hear my neighbors actually working on their lawn. The grass, as far as I can tell, just never grows. The shrubs maintain their geometric perfection through willpower alone, by all evidence. It's amazing.)

I suspect that at some point my neighbors seeded the first foot and a half of my lawn to keep my lawn from infecting their lawn. My lawn is a collection of dirt and dying weeds. It's yellow and brown with little patches of green, and now it's bothering me.

First, I bought a "weed and feed" product, which boasted that it would kill the weeds and green the grass. It actually worked as promised, which would have been great, except for the fact that my lawn is, or rather was, 70% weeds. Two days after applying the weed and feed, i had greener grass, and a lawn that was mostly dead weeds.

Sunday, I bought a hard rake, grass seed (labeled "hardy") and straw. I spent two hours raking the dead weeds out of my lawn and loosening the top soil. Then I spread the hardy seeds and laid down straw to protect the seeds from the birds.

The birds regarded the straw as a delightful appetizer prior to consuming my seeds.

I bought some sort of clothlike mat to put down over my lawn. The salesperson swore the birds wouldn't be able to broach it. I reseeded the lawn, carefully staked the mat down with large rocks and went to bed.

I have no idea where that mat went. The rocks are still there. The mat is gone.

As are my seeds.

Birds 2, PF 0


  1. I've got about a 20x10 patch of lawn out in front of my house. 10 feet is level, and then the other 10 feet slopes about 30 degrees down to the sidewalk. Needless to say, mowing this was a pain in the ass, and rarely happened, because I am lazy.

    So, to solve the problem, I simply pulled it all up and landscaped the hell out of it. Now, I plant and mulch it once a year, water it occasionally, and pay it little mind.

    Now, the back yard... that's a disaster.

  2. You aren't praying enough for your lawn, PF. Worse yet, the Lord is punishing you for being a heretic :-)

    I am totally familiar with your pain. Husband spends hours and hours outside, and it still doesn't look perfect.

    A few years ago, husband was working out of town for a few months, when the lawn was like half-a-foot tall, I went out to cut it. The neighbours almost fell down running across the street to hand me the business card of somebody who could take care of my yard.

    I seeded once the way you did. The birds had a feast and the neighbours a laugh. But it did help in the end. I don't think the birds took everything. The lawn did improve. Plus, as long as you keep the weeds in check, the lawn will grow into the empty space. So, don't worry. Just water the dumb thing and it will be fine.

  3. I so desperately don't want to be the bad neighbor who brings down property values. At this point, I may as well put a rusted out shell of a car in my front lawn and sit on my porch listening to country, spitting chew and drinking cheap beer.

  4. Why am I now turned on by that description PF?

    I am joking of course. This is why I live in an apartment complex, one of few in my little town. No lawn no worries, somebody else does it.

  5. You are describing my back yard! My front yard is beautiful (all 2 feet of it, it's tiny), but my back yard is clay with patches of weeds. This year I got some grass, so yay for that. But not a lot, so boo. I would go out and seed it, but none of my neighbors have bothered, so we're all in the same shape and no one seems to care.

  6. Okay, okay, I'm here to help. I've got some google alerts concerning lawns and lawn care because it's what I do.

    I wouldn't solicit myself just anywhere either, but you folks seem cool and you could use some help.

    visit www.about.lawncare.com

    I'm a real lawn care professional and not as real writer/blogger. I offer common sense help but I won't come over and do the work.

  7. my dad is (or rather, was) obsessed with his lawn. he spent maybe 5 years doing the horrible work (i just meant *this* house - the house in Alabama, *I* was stuck doing it all. it was a huge yard and there was a red ant hill literally every foot. i would mow the lawn, go inside, and find the fucking fire ants IN MY HAIR. *grumble* also i had to plant and take care of the rose bushes. now we know why i got married - to escape my father's lawn!)
    then, he got lazy and hired someone to come and "treat" the grass, they come every two weeks and its like %50 a pop, and the neighbor kid mows it for $10 a week... and it looks the same.

    i think lawn maintence, the keep-up-with-the-joneses kind, is all just futility. as in, the Borg control grass.

    losing the mat, though, that sucks. i'm sorry!

  8. If you want the ultimate slacker solution to your problem...

    Just put down artificial grass. It stays green all year round and never needs watering or mowing. (just an occasional dusting with a leaf blower) This is not completely tongue in cheek, they do make some nice looking stuff now.

    It has grown in popularity in water starved states like Florida and Nevada. Just be sure there aren't any deed restrictions about it in your subdivision first.


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