Some people just love yard work. I don’t, but here’s how I’m coming around.

| 4 min read | by Doug Marrin |

Some people just love yard work. They go after it with a passion that always leaves me feeling a bit depleted, as though I’m less somehow. The problem is that I don’t love working in the yard. I can’t even like it. Or, in middle-school vernacular, I don’t even like like it. I shrivel when I’m forced to visit a home with a well-attended exterior. I squirm when cornered by a passionate greenskeeper at a party. Is there a free bar?

It’s not them. It’s me. I’m jealous of their devotion to an activity that is so publicly visible. I’m not alone. There are many out there like me. I believe we are the quiet majority. Quiet because we have nothing to brag about. We don’t want people looking at our yards, judging our character.

In addition to letting go of my insecurities, I’ve also learned that quite a bit of the onus of yard work can be reduced to almost nil if I have reliable equipment. I’ve learned putting a little more up front into better equipment saves dump trucks of angst and willpower for years to come trying to coax cheap stuff into (please God) “just get me through one more use” before giving up the ghost.

If that’s you, let me share the hope I found in having these few key pieces of equipment on hand. This is how I turned my aversion to yard work into a “Hey, this ain’t too bad.” If you’re like me, my advice to you:

Get a Good Mower

For years I put as little into a mower as I had to. Mowing the lawn was repugnant and therefore a waste of money – an unpleasant chore unworthy of anything more than the absolute minimum in effort and investment.

After years of struggling with mowers that wouldn’t start until the 115th pull while standing in a pool of gasoline up to my ankles from priming, I broke down and bought an electric mower. Holy smokes! (No pun intended). It’s amazing how much I don’t mind as much mowing the lawn when the hassled is removed.

Get a Trimmer

I avoided trimming for years. On those occasions when I broke down and mowed my lawn, it would be ringed with tall, unkept grass and weeds – kind of an ugly reverse mohawk look, only on a large public, especially the neighbors.

I bought a trimmer. Sigh. Now I’m obligated to trim. I did and found out it’s not that bad. Time flew and I was done grooming my perimeter in mere minutes (about 20). To keep things simple, as in minimal effort, I bought an electric cordless trimmer. You know, the whole uselessness I feel around most things mechanical, especially when my heart’s not in it. It works so well that I’m thinking of moving up to a gas model. Who am I? And what have I done with myself?


My wife and I live on 3 acres, two of which are unruly woods. I’ve got enough deadfall to warm a village for a long time. After years of neglect and denial as to its need for care, our woods is as messed up as a pile of hangers. The problem now is the grandkids. Since I won’t buy a Play Station, they keep going into the woods to mess around. It’s time to take action.

I bought a Stihl chainsaw. Attacking the mess was like playing a monstrous game of Jenga with layer after layer of fallen trees. With visions of Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones in my head I slashed my way through the villainous living deadfall that had mocked me for so many years.

Now we have a bike path. I’m eyeing spaces for raspberry and blueberry bushes. You see, with a chainsaw I am invincible. There are few greater satisfactions than coming into the house after a couple hours of chainsawing dead trees into submission, covered in sawdust with the air of a lumberjack. Not to mention the satisfactory awe of my friends, one of whom asked me if I would come over and help him with a dead tree. I put on my red flannel shirt jacket and was happy to take charge.

I have quickly moved into the world of portable generators, edgers, snowblowers, and tree saws. I’m thinking of buying property just so I can go do stuff on it with power equipment.

That’s not true. I’m not that crazy, but the imagination does run.

I fear very little that nature can throw my way now. I’ve moved from reactive victim to the whims of Mother Nature to Master of My Own Domain.

Have fun!