Mow power to you: 'I never used to want a lawn; now I'm obsessed'

There was a time when Emma Townshend thought lawns a silly idea. Then she planted one. And now she can’t get enough of tending to it – even with its ridiculously annoying bumps.

I never imagined I could become the kind of person who would be interested in lawns. I never actually wanted to have grass, to tell you the truth. I thought it was a stupid idea. You've got to find somewhere to put the mower, and somewhere to put the extension lead for the mower, and somewhere to put all the clippings created by the mower, and that's before you've stored all the poisonous chemicals you need to keep the lawn in anything like good condition.

But this year I find that somehow I've changed. Something's clicked in my head. I've been patching. I've been re-sowing the bare bits. I've been out there with sand, for crying out loud. A big bag of sand, scattering it carefully over the bumpier bits of grass, trying to fill in the divots. Pestwise, I've become Bill Murray in Caddyshack. I feel like taking up yelling "Au revoir, gopher."

The biggest problem is with the little hummocks created at the edges of the turf I so carefully laid last summer, imagining that what I laid would stay perfectly flat. No such luck. It's not even a bit flat, actually. Where the turf edges met and grew together, evidently eddies were created in the space-time continuum which distort the very fabric of the lawn, leaving bits of it that cannot be described as flat by any stretch of the imagination, and making it nigh-on impossible to mow.

It's the flatness that's obsessing me. And I'm not alone. One of my neighbours, who used to find a bit of recreational dancing and loud music sufficient for a good weekend, has started talking about taking up his entire lawn and starting again, in pursuit of the perfect sward.

Then there's the bits that have died in the shade since last summer. I've reseeded with a shady grass mix supposed to make it more likely to thrive with only a few hours of direct sunlight a day. I've even, god help me, started feeding it. I began with a watering can and a cupful of seaweed extract, walking back and forth giving my tiny lawn a lovely seasidey smell. There I was, doing it all organic, like. But then I saw a giant box of proper chemical lawn care, Westland Aftercut, on sale in the supermarket and a devil started whispering inside me. And my greedy little hand reached out and grabbed it before I could so much as yell "Save the worms!"

Worms notwithstanding, the difference is astonishing. Each blade has suddenly become an Incredible Hulk of the grass world, twice as tall and four times as green as normal grass. So, OK, Aftercut's not organic by any stretch of the imagination. But it is only a box of lawn food. (And it's not one of the even more potent 4-in-1 concoctions which will get rid of moss and perennial weeds at the same time as doing all the green gigantification.)

What I have begun to realise, with even my limited experience of being a lawn obsessive (Class of 2013, we can start to think of ourselves) is that it's mostly in the mow. The more you mow, the thicker, greener, happier a lawn seems to get. It's like some sort of weird mistreatment-parallel horticultural paradigm (that people like me who have signally failed to read Fifty Shades… don't really get).

This week I've mowed the lawn once already, and it's only Tuesday. I'm already sitting here slightly itchily, thinking, "It's a nice afternoon, why not just give it one more cut?" I feel like a person who's become addicted to having their legs waxed. I just want it really, really short, and I'm quite happy to get out there whenever the job requires, and possibly more often.

In fact, I found myself pondering a breakfast cut this morning, in a perfect moment of denial, telling myself, "I mean, the bin men will be here in a minute and then no one'll be able to sleep anyway." Oh, come on: is 7am really too early to mow the lawn?

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee