An Ugly Yard, New Neighbors, And New Hope

Picture any new middle class neighbor hood in suburban America. The picture one in the mid west that's been build in the last 10 years add to that a sort of homey 1950's TV perfect lawn and you pretty much have a picture of my street with the exception of a few homes that frankly just don't get it.

From the corner to my house we have our own version of landscape wars going on. Sure none of us ever claimed the hostile intention f having a more manicured patch of land than the other but much like the arms race of the cold war Era the competition just escalated as part of human nature.

Well that is until you got to the house next to mine. It's had 4 families in 5 years and the last two have failed to even basic watering followed by a healthy dose weed and feed. The shrubberies were untrimmed, the trees not pruned and the plantings were jumbled and complete random at best and once they had been planted all but forgotten about.

Think of a brand new house that in a few more years could be the "scary house" in some made for TV production featuring overly intelligent precocious paranoid kids and a mystery of some sort. The for sale sign in the yard was there for a good six months. Give you a hint the landscaping did absolutely nothing for curb appeal. While the rest of the street was neatly groomed with perfect yards, beautiful flowers, planters and urns, hanging ferns, Statues of everything from golden retrieves to the Virgin Mary. A few fountains, a gurgling water fall and fresh mulch. This yard if it was a boy dating your daughter is exactly the type of boy you hoped she'd never bring home.

So While on my back patio discussing the late season growing pattern with a few favorite plants and how disappointed I was in them along came Casey. Big, beautiful, and with bounding youthful strides. Casey decided instantly that I was OK ran over gave me a big old kiss and then sat there while I scratched his ears. A few folks acme around the back carrying boxes. As I introduced myself meeting my new neighbors and assuring them that it really isn't a problem that Casey had come over. After all I'm a dog person and a big yellow lab would make a good friend for my big lazy old Chesapeake.

Now I'm not the type of guy who wants to meet the new neighbors. I'm a bit antisocial that way and of it weren't for Casey I probably could have waited until spring. As they talked about they changes they made inside the house before moving in it became apparent they were my type of people. New carpet, new flooring, all fresh paint. I liked the young couple and her dad already. Then again there aren't many guys that I've ever met who wear boots and over all that I didn't like.

"The only thing left is the Landscaping" they said. Following that statement with "it can't get any worse!" I wanted to kiss them all just like Casey had kissed me. Don't worry I thought better of it, after all I'm not much for new people, figure most men don't like other guys kissing them or their wives and he was holding a shotgun case under one arm and a compound bow case in the other.. Being the cynic that I am. I figure Yeah I'll believe it when I see on the landscaping issue.

The next day a brisk Sunday Morning there's a flurry of people at the neighbors pretty early. Not completely unexpected as I head out to the gym. Two hours of sweating and grunting later I head home to work in the yard and that's when I see it. Three pick up trucks scattered on the front lawn and a series of men all who are larger than me and I'm by no means a little guy. Frankly terror struck me thinking I was now in a suburban redneck hell. I had Images of trucks on cinder blocks next. It was an unfair judgment.

As I got out of the car my new friend Casey came to see me. Then I noticed the small sickly shrubs that were on the property line were gone. In all honest I tried to kill them this summer by taking a mower to the parts that had encroached their sparse dying ugliness after the old owners had moved out.

Now there was fresh dirt and grass seed in that spot. Trees had been pruned or cut down, bad plantings unceremoniously ripped from the soil and replaced. Even my sarcastic old soul found hope in this. And to top it all off in a conversation later that day "all you can do is aerate, over seed, put some starter fertilizer down and hope for spring" was the comment about the grass which is exactly what they did a few days later.

So while I'm not much for new neighbors, unlike some of the nice folks on my street I'll be minding my own business and not showing up with welcome baskets and fresh baked cookies. Instead I will enjoy silently competing with them in yet another undeclared landscape war that I fully expect to come out the winner in.

By: Patrick Murray

About the Author:
I am an author that loves the about writing of my experiences of the outdoors. I wake up every morning to see the beautiful landscapes and gardens that are among my area. If you love gardening and are looking for outdoor garden decor visit