Sunday, April 20, 2008

I Can Mow My Own Yard, Thank You

There is a business segment around here known as "Doing Yards" or "Cutting Grass." On first hearing the terms, I assumed that this was a southern idiom for Landscaping, but I have learned it is not. These people who "do yards" cut grass and nothing else. They don't trim bushes or trees, they don't pull weeds, they don't spray herbicide or pesticide. They cut grass, and make a pretty good living doing it I understand.

I have been solicited cold twice in the last 3 days to have my yard cut. Apparently, these folks drive up a down the streets looking for, well, yards like mine. For the prices these guy want to charge me, I would think they could do more than trouble themselves to ride a mower across my yard, but that just isn't the case.

These businesses, and by businesses I mean "guys with trucks," exist for three reasons.

Very few houses here are landscaped, at least in the Californian sense.

My current working theory here is that because everyone has yards, and big ones, no one takes special interest in the condition. So 95% of front yards can be described thus: grass, 2 shrubs, some flowers around the house, and 1 tree. You won't find beds, edging, trimming, or any real effort given to make the yard distinctive. Perhaps one might find that in more suburban areas, but even in the ritzier areas of Nashville, landscaping is haphazard at best.

Everyone's yard is HUGE and all grass.

They say Texas is big, and down there everyone gets an acre of their own. Tennessee must come in second. I suppose with any yard, there is a formula: [Yard Niceness] = Area/Effort. When you have a lot of turf, that ratio is hard to maintain. For example, my current back yard is bigger then the entire yard of my last three residences in California combined. It takes a lot of time to mow a football field with a push mower.

The grass here grows like a damn rainforest.

I put off the initial post-thaw mowing for a few weeks, and when I finally finished, I wiped my hands, rolled the mower back into that basement and said to myself "That's that." But, comrades, the VERY NEXT DAY that grass was back, angry and making up for lost time. The grass here requires mowing at least twice a week, which is a frequency that is both inconvenient and unreasonable.


Anonymous said...

It could be worse, it could be Kudzu right?

I learned the hard way at our last place that I really don't want that big of a yard...we had front/back, and a push mower for a while - it was annoying enough that I bought a real mower.

So, how much do they charge?

What you've described does sound like there is a perfect economic niche for these guys though. Although I really, really hate random solicitations. I suppose you could answer the door with a gun - but that might actually be pretty normal out there eh?

We have something similar in Portland, at least where I lived before - except that I think they will do actual landscaping/weeding/etc. if you ask them.

meg said...

a yard has to be just the right size, not too huge, not too small, but heck you've got to have some shrubs, trees etc to stop the hellish all grass yard concept. what are they thinking? All grass, no thanks.

and if i'm gunna pay you, you're gunna do the lame stuff, like weeding, and shrubs and tree trimming. ya. pushing a mower is the easy part.