By: Pat Seed

When you look around your neighborhood do you know who loves yardwork and who does not?  Many of us have had serious stints at doing yardwork some in our distant memories going back to childhood. Like so many things yardwork is quite frankly a chore, just like other domestic activities, dusting, vacuum cleaning, etc. Does it have to be?

Saturday afternoon or Wednesday evening after work, weather permitting, a lot of us get to participate in an age-old ritual, mowing and trimming the lawn.  Whoopie!  This probably conjures up different feelings in each of us but they have one thing in common.  It is something to be checked off the list.  My skill set does not include caricature drawing as my preference would include illustrations of the different types of yard worker.  Some are so engaged we cannot fathom why.  Others, like me so reluctant that my thoughts turn to how can this be done more efficiently only to realize the outcome rarely changes. Are there really benefits we may be overlooking? Does our home landscape and its myriad requirements present a nirvana we just can’t see?  

Engineers To The Rescue

What is it that is not more expensive these days?  How big is your lawn?  There is probably a return on investment converter app on the internet that can let me put in lawn size and it will shoot out whether or not my budget should include a zero-turn lawnmower.  Don’t forget all the trimmings (in many cases there will be no lawn trimmings because you can have mulching blades) like cupholder, bagger and attachments like a snowplow (yes they make them for zero turn mowers).

Let’s say you do the math and a zero-turn mower is in your future. Not exactly like rush hour traffic.  Your mower can have a very comfortable seat and you have your headphones and favorite playlists.  No stop signs, traffic lights or anyone texting and not watching where they are going.  And if you have your smartphone you can slow down, stop and respond to a text if you must.  Just you and the landscape. Nobody will bother you while you are mowing. It is dull, tedious, boring yardwork.  Allergens aside you are outside taking in the fresh air.  

So go ahead, take the plunge and turn yardwork into the fine art of manicured landscaping.  Yes a caricature is necessary to illustrate YARDMAN.  The landscape is  neat and well-groomed ready to show off as a testament to your ability and desire.

Flower Power

Planting flowers is a great way to get your hands a bit dirty.  Don’t worry about breaking a nail.  There are so many power tools to help prepare your beds and if you have the space and the bed size it is easy to have yards of quality topsoil delivered to your home.  More good exercise with a wheel-barrow and shovel to move the topsoil into place.  If that is not your things there are numerous bags of potting soil that come in all sizes.  And most flats of flowers or plants come pre-potted and are very easy to plant.  You will be surprised that it doesn’t take much planting to brighten up the yard. In the digital age there are so many ways to access design ideas, what types of flowers or plants will work best in your yard, how much sun or shade they will tolerate, and water and nutrients required to maintain them. Going through this process before choosing, planting, and caring for your flowers and plants will help guide your decision. You might be surprised that evening the planning has some therapeutic benefits.  Making your yard more beautiful and caring for it has the benefit of a job well done but will also  enhance your home.  And who can resist watering with the hose admiring the work.

Clean Up And Maintenance

Unfortunately, beyond mowing and planting there is much, much more.  As you think about the appearance of your yard keep in mind the level of “follow-up” you want to do to keep it looking great.  The joy or drudgery continues with trimming, edging, mulching, pruning, thatching, weeding, fertilizing, watering and so forth. 

It really is not that bad, but you need to be in the moment balancing your desire, drive and interest.  There are some natural benefits to bringing some order out of chaos.  Cleaning up and keeping it clean will also enhance the look of your home while giving you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. There are so many lightweight tools now.  And advances in battery power have made them even lighter.  There are lightweight tillers, trimmers, polesaws, chainsaws, blowers, edger’s and other more serious equipment for bigger jobs.  Consider obtaining some fun tools that you can handle and pass the time.  

Heavy Equipment Rental

It is amazing what you can rent nowadays.  There are tractors, skid steers, excavators, boom and scissor lifts to name a few.  If you have the energy and vision you can rent equipment and change the entire look of your yard.  Coordinating such an event with your local nursery to bring in some new trees and shrubs can in many ways make it feel that you have created something special but you entire home will be different.  And you might be surprised about the actual cost.  As with all “yard work” special projects require planning, dedication and commitment. But they can be immensely rewarding.

Whatever your desires, interests and plans, be they large or small you might just find with the right tools you can migrate from a weekly to-do-list to things on your bucket list that you want to make right and true. It is possible to turn something that was a chore into an enjoyable and rewarding activity. And furthermore, everyone including you will feel good about your accomplishments and who knows they might even get the bug and join in to help.