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Lawn and Order

by Kristin Marino, All About Lawns Columnist

In the lawn enforcement system, there are perpetrators, and there are victims. There are major offenses, and there are minor transgressions. Of course, one man's crime is often another man's folly. If you don't believe me, just take a moment to consider lawn gnomes and juniper bushes.

What differentiates a lawn maintenance crime of the century from a mere landscaping misdemeanor?
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Criminal Intent

In the annals of lawn maintenance crime, there are some misdeeds that are so heinous, so downright cruel and unusual, there's almost no hope of rehabilitation. Major violators are often guilty of blatant disregard for a lawn's right to be beautiful. Consider the following:
  1. False Imprisonment: Leaving the kiddie pool full of stagnant water on your grass for three months, imprisoning your grass under a heap of plastic. You have condemned your lawn to a weak, brown, and flattened existence.
  2. Reckless Endangerment: Refusing to spend the $10 for a decent bag of lawn fertilizer. You can do everything else right, but if you don't use fertilizer, your lawn will never be better than light green - forget emerald.

Special Victims Unit

You are certainly not guilty of any lawn maintenance criminal intent. Before you enter a plea of "not guilty," make sure you're not culpable in some of these less serious lawn maintenance misdemeanors.
  1. Indecent Exposure: Giving your lawn a boot camp buzz cut. Even if you use fertilizer, this assault on your lawn leaves it burnt at the edges and unable to become the green, lush carpet it was meant to be.
  2. Identity Theft: Planting an English garden in the Arizona desert. You will do nothing but water those thirsty, delicate roses. Choose landscaping materials that match your surroundings.

Trial by Jury

Your neighbors are a jury of your peers. They are not only jury, but often judge as well. Are you guilty of the following crimes against humanity?
  1. Public Nuisance: You may think the dandelions are a mere nuisance, but talk to your neighbor with the perfect lawn. Your right to a lawn full of weeds ends where their emerald carpet begins. No doubt they are ready to throw the book at you. Or at least a good pair of gardening gloves and an empty trash bag.
  2. Infringement: Drenching you lawn in water so that your neighbor has to live with your overflow. If you are experiencing run-off, you are watering too much, and any fertilizer you have applied may be lost. Turn that sprinkler down.


Entering a plea of "no contest" won't exonerate you where your lawn maintenance crimes are concerned. In the realm of lawn maintenance jurisprudence, you may find yourself under house and garden arrest until you pay your debt to society. Or at least pay your debt to your lawn and landscaping by putting in some hard labor. Only then will justice be served.


About the Author
Kristin Marino has been a homeowner for ten years and really does have the greenest lawn in her neighborhood. Kristin holds a bachelor degree in English from the University of Nevada.

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