From the Left



The Quest for a Perfect Lawn Leads to Insanity

Froma Harrop on

That living carpet of green velvet in front of my house -- is it really mine? I never thought I'd have one of those manicured suburban lawns, much less become a maniac in its defense. In fact, I used to disapprove of them.

How did this happen? The insanity built up slowly.

It started with the ratty lawn my house came with. The unsightly bare spots gnawed at me, and one corner resembled a track for dirt bikes.

I tried and tried to spruce it up with organic homemade fertilizers. I cut the grass with a mulching mower that was also battery-powered so it wouldn't wake the neighbors.

I never, ever dreamed I'd have a team of landscapers leaf-blowing and blasting gas-powered mowers on my eighth of an acre. Then, it happened.

My descent began before that. First, I found professionals to replace the grass with turf. For at least a few years, I'd have a superior lawn.


But since I was digging up the old lawn, I reasoned, why not install a sprinkler system? That way, I wouldn't waste so much water irrigating the entire street with my old conventional sprinkler.

Note to environmentalists reading this: No need to tell me that dried-out brown grass usually isn't dead. I know that. It's just, it's just ...

At that point, there was no turning back. A friend recommended a lawn-cutting service. It didn't cost much, and I could be away for a couple of weeks and not worry about returning to an unruly grass jungle.

Next thing I knew, another service was putting down "environmentally friendly" applications designed to fertilize and control pests and crabgrass. Did I hire these people? Guess I did.


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David Horsey Brian Duffy Bob Englehart John Branch Signe Wilkinson Dan Wasserman