When I Started to Care About my Lawn


Have you heard this quote before?

I want to tell you a story that proved to me that it’s entirely true. And it has to do with lawns.

For years I lived in an older neighborhood in Apache Junction (I know) with no home owners association. When I first moved in I thought, “Awesome! No HOA means no extra expenses and I can do whatever I want, I don’t have to ask anyone!” Well I soon learned that it also meant that there was no motivation or incentive to keep your yard looking amazing. Over the next couple years, my yard was in a steep decline…BUT, so was everyone elses. So it didn’t bother me and I didn’t really care.

Every two years, I might trim the tree out front, or pull some weeds in the flower bed but usually, I just let it go. Maybe two years before we moved, I even attempted to paint the house and then I stopped when the carport was done, leaving a half gray, half pink house…for two years!! And no one said anything….ever! Not once.

You could drive down that road and clearly see… people were pretty “Meh” about their curb appeal and honestly, I was okay with it. I didn’t have the time, energy or desire to have a gorgeous yard so I fit in well with the others.

Then we moved.

We moved to a place with an HOA. We moved to a neighborhood that I used to take the long way home just so I could drive by and think, “It must be so nice to live there.” We moved to a neighborhood with tree lined streets and beautiful landscaping and our house was no exception. With agave plants and morning glories out front and perfectly trimmed bushes under Kaydens bedroom window, this HOA kept a tight watch to keep the neighborhood looking picturesque.

Over the next six months, something ridiculous happened. Something I definitely didn’t see coming. I started to really care about our yard. Because everyone had a beautiful yard and mine wasn’t going to be the odd one out. If anything, ours had to be among the prettiest! With the greenest grass and the healthiest flowers. I found myself comparing my lawn to other lawns and taking to a landscaper on how to keep summer grass healthier. Do I water it more often? Only at night? What about the type of fertilizer I should use?

So maybe I’d rewrite this quote a little bit. You care about what those around you care about. Likewise, you don’t care about what those around you don’t care about. If you surround yourself with people who care about goals, action and achievement, then you’re going to care about those things too.

Luckily, we get to choose how we spend our time and who we spend it with… choose wisely!

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

Special thanks to Johnny Chau from Unsplash for the beachy photo!