Keith Trzynka’s neighbors on Cottonwood Street in Grand Forks, N.D., are no longer surprised to see him vacuuming his front lawn.
Mr. Trzynka, a retired farm-equipment dealer, worries about sand blown into the edges of his yard by ice-clearing crews in the winter. The sand threatens to blight his lovingly tended grass. So he occasionally hauls out his shop-vac to extract it.
Each morning, he tries to pick up any twigs or leaves that may have fallen on his grass overnight. Sometimes he sweeps sticks and debris from the street in front of his house to keep the landscape tidy.
“The lawn is his little farm,” said Mr. Trzynka’s wife, Ginger.
For most people, lawn care is a tiresome chore or something they pay somebody else to do. For others, it’s a challenge. They tend to want their lawns to be a dark, emerald green and preferably striped like a baseball field, an effect achieved by attaching a roller behind the mower. Edges must be perfectly squared. The job isn’t finished until the last weed is plucked and the final blade of grass blasted off the sidewalk.
“Yes, I am a fanatic,” said Brad Ferguson, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Missouri’s medical school in Columbia, Mo. He admits to having slipped outside with a flashlight at 2 or 3 a.m. to check whether recently planted grass seeds were starting to sprout.
Dr. Ferguson’s routine includes sharpening blades, pressure washing and tuning up his John Deere lawn tractor. “I do all the maintenance myself,” he said. “I don’t let anyone else touch it.”
Geoffrey Lokuta, a biologist who lives in Lakeland, Fla., values Mr. Hane’s mowing tips but said he isn’t on a quest for neighborhood domination. In any case, there isn’t much competition. “People around me have what you would call salad bars,” 50% grass and 50% weeds, he said. “I just let them do their thing.”
Not so for Danny Freemyer, who in June won the Yard of the Month award in Forney, Texas. “I was super-excited about it,” said Mr. Freemyer, an electrician who moved to the Dallas suburb five years ago. “That was my plan when I first moved in, to get Yard of the Month, and I don’t think they were even doing Yard of the Month at that time.”
Dominick Segro, a police officer who lives in Springfield, N.J., often mows two or three times a week. “I think it’s great,” said his wife, Tara. “We definitely have the best lawn in town.” Officer Segro is protective of his handiwork and “a little neurotic,” his wife said.
For instance, the couple’s children are allowed to play in the yard but “they have to move around” rather than standing in one place, Ms. Segro said. Blowup pools are forbidden because they would mat the grass. The dog is allowed to relieve itself only in a designated spot at one side of the house.
When the Segros had a Father’s Day party, some of the guests taunted Mr. Segro by lingering a bit longer than necessary on his lawn for a group picture. Afterward, he used a leaf blower to fluff the grass back up.
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