You know you live in deep suburbia when your lawn gets a report card more in-depth and extensive than your children have ever received from any of their schools. My yard apparently is a C student with lots of room for improvement. The handwritten part of the report card is an encouraging note with lots of “I know you can do better” undertones.
The lawn report card was from the landscape company we use for “turf management” and I’m going to tell you right now I’m proud of our yard’s C student status because it used to be a big, fat F. None of that was, of course, my fault, at all. Grab an icy beverage while you gaze at your A+ lawn and get ready to hear a tale of a yard gone rogue and my family’s attempt to woo it back to, well, average status.
It all started with a realtor who to put it bluntly fibbed. Five plus years ago when we were here from Nevada looking for a home to buy in the dead of winter I asked why the house I liked the most didn’t have a sprinkler system. I was told because the “Midwest gets a lot of rain and no one really needs lawn irrigation.” Now for a girl who grew up in Texas and was currently living in Nevada – two parts of the country where the state symbol might as well be the TruGreen sprinkler repair logo – hearing that lawn irrigation wasn’t mandatory was a celestial sign from the Lord that we, for sure, needed to move to Kansas.
Fast forward to our first summer in our new home when our lawn sprouted a lovely shade of yellow due to dandelions being more prevalent than grass. Lawn expert, after lawn expert told us that our yard was beyond saving, due to years of neglect and lack of watering (go figure) and that we needed to start over, dig it out and sod every square inch. Cha-freaking-ching.
This is when my husband and I decided that we could save our yard with some extreme TLC and do it all without an irrigation system. Who cares if I got what amounted to rope burns from hauling hoses all over our yard and that we scheduled our life around when the sprinklers needed to be moved. The rewards would be worth it except the very stubborn dandelions along with their BFF crabgrass decided that they were in it to win it.
Now I know some of you maybe thinking that I’m a fool or worse an environmental terrorist for not using my lawn Armageddon as an opportunity for some lovely, eco and water friendly xeriscaping. Well, I’ve got three letters for H-O-A. The day I let my yard go native or even one-quarter gravel is the day I get a cease and desist letter from the homes association. Besides at this point my husband and I were in a throw down with our yard, all the landscape companies that told us to re sod and then pray and our neighbors who we knew probably thought we were crazy for going it alone. We had something to prove and in the name of Scotts Turf Builder (with crabgrass preventer and lawn food) we were going to do it!
After year two we had to admit our unworthiness and call in professional help. There was aeration and seeding and reseeding. Then just when we thought that we were inching our way to still being the worst yard on the street, but so no bad that the UPS man felt the need to make a comment about it, some funky fungus started calling our lawn home and an Ash tree in the front yard got a tumor and had to be cut down. Then all the Pin Oaks were diagnosed as having an iron deficiency and our Burning Bushes got some sort of disease that sounded like they were trying to live up to their biblical name. I’m telling you the list went on and on. At this point I was ready to say who cares about the HOA and go full xeriscape and concrete the entire yard, but seriously have you priced concrete? It makes sodding a yard look like a value meal at McDonalds.
Finally after five plus years our yard has worked it’s way up to a C. I couldn’t be happier. Who cares if a C is average or if my lawn according to its report card needs “more diligent morning watering.” I’m on it, daring to dream that next summer the yard might just get a C+ or, be still my heart, maybe even a B.