Home improvement Uncategorized

The lawn ranger

I’m not quite ready to declare I have won the war, but I definitely feel like I have won some major battles.

For the first time in years, I have a front lawn.

It’s beautiful. Thick, plush and growing like crazy. Even neighbors passing by have commented about how my lawn looks great.

The best part of a new lawn? A teenager to mow it.

Probably part of the reason for that is how absolutely awful my lawn looked for years.

When we moved into our house, we had a fairly OK lawn. It was spotty in places, but fairly green for the most part. Mix in a flood of the century, and bye-bye lawn. The bulk of my front yard turned into a big rectangle of dirt.

I decided to tackle the problem by seeding the lawn. Prior to doing so, I took a soil sample up to the Master Gardeners at the Clemson Extension Service, who are always super helpful with any issues such as this. The Master Gardener I gave the sample to kinda chuckled when I handed him the sample. He said they’d send it off, but said, “I can go ahead and tell you your problem: your yard is sand.” When the results came back, yeah, he was spot on.

They gave me the directions on how to add nutrients and actual soil to my sandpit and detailed steps on what I would need to do to reseed my lawn.

I followed their directions and in a few weeks, grass was starting to sprout. And it grew. And grew. And grew. Soon, my lawn was back, baby!

And then I went out one morning and saw that all of my efforts had been undone by moles. The whole yard was nothing but bumps of crumbly dirt, the green slowly dying right before my eyes.

The old “lawn.”

Initially, I did the sensible thing, which was to overreact immensely and declare that I was going to turn our front yard into a cactus garden.

My wife, who serves as both the brains and the moral compass of our family operation, stepped in. She said we should try sodding it and work with experts on how to ensure that we eradicated the moles. I told her this was a fool’s errand, and I would be ordering 1,000 cacti ASAP.

So fast forward to the day the sod was going to arrive. We had tilled and prepped the soil, treated it, and followed all the directions to the letter. I had the day off, and had my kids and my daughter’s boyfriend lined up to help me install the sod. They were given the option of helping with the sod or helping with the sod. Their choice.

By about noon, the sod had not arrived. I called the sod guy, and he said, “Oh, man. I messed up.” Turns out, he had a call from another sod customer the week prior canceling his delivery, and he thought it was mine. He told me he could deliver it in a couple of days.

I hung up and told my wife the situation. She said, “He needs to make this right.” I told her there was no point in calling him back, as this was the situation we were in. “Call him back,” she said.

Man, she’s always right.

I called him back, and told him that I had made a lot of plans to be able to work that day on the sod, and it really messed everything up. “Tell you what. Lemme me bring it on Wednesday, and I’ll have my guys install it for you.” SOLD!

The sod has now been in place for more than a month, and I have given it more attention than I give my kids, but in all fairness, they’re teenagers now, so I’ve done pretty much all I can with them.

I will continue to dote on my new lawn, and give it the TLC it needs. I am continuing to water it religiously, and I keep treating to keep the moles at bay. I am hopeful the end of this war will be soon, and I can declare final victory. And then move on to a cactus garden in the backyard.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike or at


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