Monday 11 April 2016

Every Week All Summer Long For The Rest Of My Life

I was waiting on the corner of my street for my buddy to pick me up so that I could get a well deserved coffee. There isn’t a lot to do standing on a corner in the suburbs. Nothing much of anything ever happens on either of the streets, so you can imagine how dead it was on a weekday afternoon. The high point was when a car drove past me or was it when the wind blew a piece of newsprint, hard to tell.

My neighbour had done a lot of yard work two or three years previously. Well, she didn’t do the work, but she paid for it from her husbands insurance or alimony payments. I don’t know if he is dead or just gone, either way I am happy. She had some trees cut down, some shaped by tree monkeys, the sod on one side of the walk was dug up and levelled off. They then put down black ground cloth and covered it with four or five inches of red wood chips, the wood chips were probably meant to look like redwood, but they were just chips dyed red. The overall effect was stunning! It kind of made my yard of patchy grass and weeds look pathetic. Nice neighbour.

Well, a couple of years have passed, a couple of winters, more than a few rainstorms, wind storms, minor flooding and of course the unrelenting, harsh sunlight. The neighbour’s yard leaves a lot to be desired now. The black ground cloth can be seen through a thin coating of what is left of the wood chips which have all lost the red colour they started with and are now uniformly grey. I guess you have to work to maintain that original look. My pathetic lawn looks much better now in comparison and didn’t cost me a cent. I feel for her.

When I was working and walking around the city neighbourhoods, I had the opportunity to see how other people dealt with their front yards. Some people had the sod ripped out and poured concrete in its place, making the yard one big driveway. Some others had the sod ripped out and replaced it with river rocks of various sizes, interspersed with lovely bushes that required little or no watering. One guy dug up the sod and seeded it with wild flowers (weeds) which made all of the neighbours hate him so very much. One guy built a multi level deck over the entire front lawn, doing away with yard maintenance all together.

These guys all have two things in common. They hate the idea of cutting the lawn every week all summer long for the rest of their lives. The second thing they have in common is that two years down the line their front yards look like shit. The concrete is all cracked with weeds growing from the cracks, the rocks have all settled and shifted and there are weeds every where and those bushes are for the most part dead or dying. The wild flower yard never did look very good and is still pissing off the neighbours. The guy with the yard wide deck now has weeds growing through the cracks in the heaving deck and he can’t get under it to do anything about the weeds.

There is a reason that developers lay down sod, it is relatively cheap, easy to care for and when weeds inevitably grow, they tend to blend into the green of the lawn. Oh and it lasts as long as the house does. Yep, I have a crappy, patchy lawn, but the weeds tend to fill in the bare patches and it looks spectacular on the day I cut it, every week all summer long for the rest of my life.

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