This post was supposed to be a celebration of the final piece of the backyard puzzle – the laying of the new lawn! It was also supposed to be published a long time ago. However, not everything works out according to plan…
The Hard Work
Emma and I had been thinking about what to do with the backyard for a long time. We hadn’t cared much about it when we first arrived, but now that we had a little toddler bursting with energy, we needed to create a special outdoor space for her. This was especially important now that summer was underway.
We considered every option under the sun – decking, tiling, astroturfing, and a whole range of other things. Ultimately we decided there really was only one great option – turf.
The idea of a fresh new lawn was great, but there was a load of work that needed to be done before it could become a reality. I had to dig out the little turf that remained from the failed lawn, pull out all the weeds, pull out a few roots that were potentially damaging the old lawn, and do my best to level the ground.
Pulling out old grass is hard work, especially with hand tools. The mattock was fairly effective at breaking everything up, but it was still backbreaking work to constantly bend over and pull out all the debris.
Ready for The New Lawn
I put in the order for the turf at a local supplier. I was excited for that weekend when it was due to arrive, but that excitement was quickly extinguished when they called back to say they couldn’t get any that week.
A few more weeks went by and for one reason or another I just couldn’t get it done. The dirt patch sat waiting, weeds began to grow, and over a particularly exciting week the space briefly turned from brown to purple, due to a Jacaranda shower.
Eventually I found a supplier who could actually deliver stock, and we were good to go.
The Big Day
Finally the day arrived. The turf was scheduled for delivery and I roped my parents and Emma into helping. It was all hands on deck, even Hannah wanted to get involved!
A cubic metre of soil and 20 square metres of fresh, green turf arrived. Dad and I set about moving it all to the backyard.
After a couple of hours we had the dirt and turf moved. It was dirty work, as shown on My Sunday Photo for that week.
We then set about levelling the soil as much as possible, before flattening it and watering it down.
After lunch we rolled out the turf. It was surprisingly easy (even with the need for a little cutting in places). Soon enough it was on. It looked like a million dollars. I was thrilled, the backyard was complete!
Skills I Lack
There are plenty of things in life that I am not good at. Keeping plants alive is one of them. But I was determined, damnit, to keep this little oasis alive for the sake of my daughter. She loves the outside and I knew that she would adore having a little green space to call her own.
I followed the instructions – watered it twice a day and monitored it diligently for signs of drying out. I agonised over it like any decent middle-aged man is supposed to obsess over his lawn.
None of that made a damned difference – the bloody thing began to die.
It first started happening around the edges. I was assured that it was supposed to do that. But then it just kept getting worse.
To be honest, I’m really not sure. I’m stuck in the land of Have-no-idea-what-on-earth-I’m-doing-wrong. I could be under-watering it, I could be over-watering it. Perhaps it just doesn’t like the lullabies I sing it each night? Maybe There is just something wrong with my backyard – no blade of grass is ever destined to survive out there.
Maybe, just maybe enough of the grass has survived and over time it will repair its self. Maybe I just need to continue caring and obsessing over it and one day I will have the lush green carpet of my dreams. Maybe.
At least Hannah doesn’t care. To her the whole backyard is a wonderland to be explored and enjoyed. She doesn’t mind if there is a dirt patch or two. Perhaps I don’t need to obsess too much about perfect grass after all.