In retrospect, I should have seen it coming. 

Both my dad and future father-in-law love a good lawn project. 

There’s something satisfying about cleaning up a problem area in your yard and making it presentable. 

You get to show it off to the world while also walking past it every day and admiring your work.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to me or my new neighbors that on my first day in my new rent house, I felt the call to pull on a pair of gloves and a pair of clippers and go to work on the front garden.

With substantial help from her family, the fiancee and I moved out of our apartment and into a house across town last week.

Our old apartment was sizable and would have been pretty homey, outside of noisy neighbors and thin walls. We just had a small front porch to keep things on, and, outside of a few dying potted plants, we didn’t really try to grow much.

Now, that can change. 

Our new place, on the east end of town, has a front and back yard, a side porch and a good sized tree, but it’s the front garden that’s caught my attention.  

We’ve got a couple of bushes that need pruning and a layer of groundcover that needs to be replaced. I’ll likely use a pair of clippers and buy a bag of small rocks.

At this point in the year, it’s probably too late to shape the bushes very much, because you run the risk of leaving them bare on one side. That’s a better option for the spring, when new growth will fill the gaps you make. 

Right now, there are spots where grass grows through the garden groundcover. It’s easy to pull out to the roots, but more rocks would make it totally clear where the yard stops and the garden begins. 

In reality, it’s probably less than an afternoon’s worth of work, but I’m savoring it.

Yard work is the outlet that releases the stress built up from office work.  

It’s something basic I can contribute to the household. It’s outdoors — where the birds chirp and neighbors wave back. Best of all, it represents clearly visible progress, meaning that when I take a before and after photo, no one’s going to get confused about which is which. 

We’ve got planter boxes, which we’re hoping to fill with produce — I’ve heard peppers are easier than most plants — and plenty of room for more gardening space if needed.

We’ve looked at lawn furniture. It’s hard to justify buying when you’re young and move often, but adding a couple of chairs and maybe even a table would certainly make the porch feel more like home than dragging kitchen chairs outside each time we venture onto the porch. 

We’ve got a grill on the wedding registry. That’s key, because some of my best memories both from home and college are evenings spent cooking burgers outside and following up with s’mores. 

Plus, food tastes better after yard work. What would otherwise just be a burger is replenishing calories burned from a job well done. 

It probably sounds juvenile to get excited about this stuff. When it’s August and I’m juggling fall sports coverage with other responsibilities, the late summer heat may mean yard work quits being as fun and starts being a chore. 

Worried that might happen, I thought about my dad, a commercial pilot, and how he’s able to mow after completing a weeklong trip across the globe. 

In short, it’s still a chore he’s ready to do, even when it’s maintenance, because he cares about his household. 

Here’s hoping the genetics that motivated me to start this lawn care help me keep it going. 

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