One of the nicer parts of NewsBlur, my RSS reader of choice, is the Global Shared Stories feature which allows you to take a peek at the stories everyone else is sharing. It’s not something I look at regularly, but I do glance at it every now and then and it was through this that I found this post from Nick Bradbury.
Nick doesn’t like lawns.
Where I live, in the spring you have to start mowing the lawn every week. By summer you have to water it to keep it from dying. Then fall rolls around and you have to rake up the leaves or else they’ll smother the grass. And then you hope it’ll survive the winter.
It feels so pointless constantly taking care of something that shouldn’t be there in the first place. If it was meant to be there it would survive without any help.
Here’s a confession. Last year, for various reasons, we completely failed to mow our lawn at all. It’s still there though.
As far as leaves go, I did sweep the drive and those leaves ended up on the compost. Raking the lawn, not so much. Or at all. It’s still there, though.
From his post, I think that Nick has way too high an expectation of how his lawn should look. For me, a lawn is primarily functional – it’s a place where the kids can jump off trees, invent games, build snowmen and a enjoy an unconstrained play area.
Admittedly, the kids do help me with outdoor work such as cutting wood, building chicken coops and weeding the garden (but not the lawn – never the lawn), but this comes entirely from the kids. They see me doing something and want to be involved, so I find ways to involve them – even if that means the task will take somewhat longer.
Ultimately, with a lawn, with anything, knowing what you want out of it is as essential as recognising how much effort you are willing to put into it. If you want a pristine patch of grass, and are willing to put in the effort to maintain it, that’s fine. Personally, I’m not to worried about that. Admittedly, we did plant a reasonably hardy variety of grass that – so far – has survived the trampling and, if any weeds do manage to survive both being mown and being constantly trodden on, then good luck to them. All that really matters to me is that the surface remains soft enough that the kids will bounce when they fall.
Lawns are awesome, but you need to decide first to have an awesome lawn.