Get Off My Lawn! No, Seriously …

Back when we lived in Cedar Rapids, our house was on very sandy soil which meant that if it wasn’t already growing, there wasn’t much change anything new would come up (and believe me, we tried). Moving up to Decorah meant  a new house and a new yard.

Right off the bat, things weren’t great. The previous owner hadn’t taken care of the yard at all. She stopped living in the house several months before we purchased it and refused (to the astonishment of both her and our realtor) to allow anyone to mow or tend to the yard. When we took possession, my father-in-law and I spent hours mowing the front yard. It was a disaster. Crab grass, weeds. Random flower placement. A lot of “Well, I think something green would look good over here *throws down some random seed and walks away*”.

An unfortunate yard (with sidewalk removed)
An unfortunate yard (with sidewalk removed). Dirt patch in upper left is where the old pine tree was.

That’s not to say we didn’t try to make something out of it. Steph had a great garden/herb bed. We had flowers. I planted grass seed and mowed regularly. Took out two trees that were dying and sadly looked at the 60′ pine tree that was diseased and had to go. But the task was a lot like Sisyphus in that every time we took a step forward, the lawn would rise up, laugh, and commit seppuku. (Why yes, I am mixing my cultural references. No, you shut up.) We had droughts and floods and just general bad luck.

The final straw came early last year when the electric company had to replace a power pole in the backyard. They took out the tall pine (thus saving us several hundred dollars) but had to drive very heavy equipment through the yard, resulting in deep tread marks and torn up grass. So we said ‘screw it’ and had sod laid down. At the same time, we had a new sidewalk put in (who the hell builds a curved sidewalk and then paints it yellow and purple?!).

The result … well, here you go:

Yard stripped of the old grass and leveled.
Yard stripped of the old grass and leveled.
Grass! Actual grass!
Grass! Actual grass!


We water more than a lot. Also next year, once everything is settled, we plan on adding two fruit trees to the front yard.

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