Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Lawn Man My Wife Always Wanted

I thought about making the title for this "Man-scaping" but I was afraid that my friends would avoid it and too many strangers might read it.

When Leigh and I got married, she used to fondly remember lawns of her childhood, meticulously cared for by Chuck. She also complained quite a bit about the work it required from her and her brothers every weekend, but that's a separate post (but if you ever want to rile her up, just say the words (poison potato). I told her that I would never become that man, that lawn care was not something that I cared deeply about and that she would just have to deal with it. I was wrong.

When Leigh and I moved into our house, this is what the front of our house looked like:

Notice the dead tree in the front yard, the patchy, weed ridden grass along with the poorly mulched bed completely devoid of any shrubbery, perennial, or annual. Also, if you look really close, you'll see the pride of new homeowners, completely oblivious to the painful new world we are entering into.

Shortly after this, the previous owners cut down the dead tree and ground up the stump as a condition of the sale. We were glad to have the tree gone, but the mud/wood chip pit/pile that remained was pretty ugly. After living in our house for a year, letting the weeds, erosion and decomposition have their way with the yard, I decided to lay down the law. Acting upon the encouragement of my wife and father-in-law, last spring I sprayed round-up over everything and tilled it all up. Then, with the help of my parents, we raked it all out, planted grass seed, and watered diligently. In a few weeks, our yard looked like this:

A lush, green lawn that any home owner would be proud of. Once I saw this, I was hooked. Suddenly, I cared about what my lawn looked like. I loved the feeling of walking across it barefoot. It gave me so much joy to watch Leigh and Miles play in it. This is what it was all about.

But this joy was going to be short lived.

You see, I reseeded in the spring. Weeds came up the same time as the grass. In the heat of summer, the weeds won. All of that hard work was lost. But I had not given up; after all, I was a converted lawn man. I'd hung a picture of Karl Troyer on the wall in my basement and kept a candle lit beneath it. There was no going back.

I decided to give Leigh a "Landscape Design" for her birthday. We had someone who knew his stuff come out and walk around the yard with us, ask questions about what we liked, and then draw up plans for us. After getting the plans in August, re-killing, re-grading and re-tilling, we purchased the first round of plants, 11 yards of mulch, and some grass seed and went to work. It all went something like this:

Today we came home from visiting my folks to see green sprouts popping up through the straw. That together with the magnolia, carpet roses, decorative grasses, gardenias and nandinas makes for a pretty thrilling front yard. Hopefully there won't be any updates on how it didn't work out, just pictures of Miles and Leigh having a picnic in the green grass later this fall.


  1. looks awesome, keep us posted on the progress.

  2. Great job guys! Cant wait to see it when its done.

  3. the Karl Troyer bit really made me lol. looks ahhhsome, y'all.