There is a yard on Highway 23 on the way to my parents’ place that always makes my skin crawl. Why? Because it is nearly three acres of JUST GRASS LAWN, clipped to within an inch of its life. There are no shrubs. There are no trees—not even a functional windbreak of pine trees lined up like soldiers on the property line. There are no flowers. There is no life. It is an ecological desert.
Sure, there IS a child’s play set behind the ranch house in the “normal” backyard area, which you need binoculars to see from the road. Can you imagine how BORED this kid must be when he ventures onto his giant lawn? Nothing to explore, no flowers to smell or bugs to examine or trees to climb or nesting robins to watch. Then again, his parents probably don’t let him outside much, unless he’s wearing a helmet, the strongest insect repellant allowed by law, and lotion with an SPF of 100.
I get so agitated driving past this yard that J nearly has to restrain me, lest I leap from the moving car, run to their house (which would exhaust me, because they have nearly a mile of lawn), and try to convince them to just let me BUY THEIR LAWN. Or, in my less generous moments, leap from the car to burn “Plant some trees, asshole!” into the grass.
So, Yardman…why the giant lawn? Here are some possible reasons:
1) You are ignorant about what an environmentally wasteful, uninspiring eyesore your lawn is.
2) You hate anything attractive.
3) You hate wildlife and/or are afraid of nature. Which should have been a consideration when you MOVED TO THE COUNTRY.
4) You enjoy giving up your weekends to mow your lawn on the TRACTOR. I have seen you on this tractor. You do not look cool. You don’t even look like you’re having fun.
5) You enjoy inhaling the exhaust from your yard tractor.
6) You love having an unfettered view of the highway, with inimpeded access to the smells and sounds of the highway. Great resale point, by the way.
7) You have no imagination and are generally dull human beings.
What would I do if I lived in this house? Glad you asked! I would:
1) Replace the lawn with a low-maintenance prairie to boost the native bee population, which would pollinate-
2) The garden of mixed veggies and fruits and herbs that I plant, which would supply my family and friends with enough produce to last an entire year.
3) Install bluebird houses. Or just leave the prairie be and give the Eastern Meadowlark somewhere to nest. With a population that’s dropped 72% in 40 years due to habitat loss, it could use the help.
4) Dig a pond. Or four.
5) Plant a few hundred trees and shrubs.
6) Divide the yard into eight garden rooms lined with perennial beds, wildflower and shrub borders, rose gardens, benches, water features, a fire pit, gazebos, arbors and obelisks, an outdoor dining room, and veggie gardens. Be featured in my favorite garden porn, Country Gardens magazine.
7) At the very least, put in some soccer goals…a golf course…a baseball or kickball or football field…ANYTHING BUT JUST EMPTY LAWN!!!!!
Sorry to end on a Debbie Downer note, but here’s the deal. Over the years I’ve become a major gardening nut (because, as I have explained earlier, I am an octogenarian trapped in the body of a Gen-Xer. Also, gardening is a little subversive, which I like.). Our city lot is a mere 60 x 62 feet, yet I have stuffed it with dozens of perennials and annuals, 5 kinds of fruiting shrubs planted for me or the birds, and even a veggie and herb garden. I also raise and release about three dozen monarch butterflies every summer (they are attracted to the teeny 3' x 3' plot of milkweed I maintain).
Perhaps I am simply jealous of this idiot’s yard, and the fun I could have with such a vast blank canvas. But ultimately? It boils down to this: roughly 50,000 people starve to death and an average of 90 species go extinct EVERY DAY. And you could certainly find a strong correlation between the two (lost biodiversity = bad news for bears, and people). Yet here in the U.S., we chemically saturate, water to the tune of 270 billion gallons each week, and mow an expanse of lawns that if combined, would be larger than the state of Pennsylvania.
All that wasted potential.
And that is why this guy’s lawn pisses me off.
(Don’t even get me started on the guy standing in the MIDDLE OF THE STREET last week, blasting a handful of grass clippings with his gas-powered leaf blower on a windy day.)