We decided last year to re-sod our lawn. We’d lived in our house for many years and hadn’t liked the grass the builder installed (not our choice). After so many seasons of the hot Texas sun, the yard desperately needed a makeover.
I carefully studied various websites of landscapers and invited three that appealed to me to come out, walk the property, and give me an estimate. After much thought, we went with a company who gave us a great product and expert advice.
The first important thing they shared? Don’t yank up your lawn and replace it when the summer temperatures are hovering day after day in triple digits. A new lawn needs to be babied, so their advice was to wait till the beginning of October, when temps had calmed down and the grass would have a much better chance of not only surviving – but thriving.
Next up? Water it thoroughly and lovingly. You’ve made a huge investment by planting a new blanket of sod in both the front and back yards. You want to make sure it’s nourished completely and takes so that it will be enjoyed for many years to come.
We followed their advice, watering daily throughout October. The lawn took, and we had a beautiful yard this spring and summer. We waited for the optimal time to plant and took care of it, according to our plan. Because of that, we’ll have thick, green grass for many moons.
Some nearby neighbors recently followed our lead. They took out what few blades of withered grass they had left in their yard and completed blanketed their space with some beautiful sod. But wait. It’s July. It’s Texas! Was this really such a good idea? On top of that, I’ve seen them water it sparingly – a nice way to say HARDLY AT ALL.
Consequently, just a few weeks after they went to the effort and expense, their lawn already looks sick and sparse. I don’t know if they had a landscaping company that wanted to make a quick buck and pressed them to plant in high temperatures, but I thought at least they’d have the smarts to water the yard! Instead, it now looks worse than before. What a waste.
It did get me to thinking, though, how writing a book is like placing sod solidly throughout a yard.
As a writer, I have to think of so many factors that go into creating a novel. As I “blanket” my yard of a novel, I must choose the right names. Come up with character sketches so I get to know my people. Think of a plotline that is interesting and compelling enough to keep a reader’s attention. Throw in a few twists and turns so things won’t grow stagnant or dry up. Be sure that both internal and external conflicts have been solved and that The Dark Moment is believable – and fixable – and still satisfying to the reader.
I tend my novel as you should a garden or lawn. I invest in it fully. I lay the proper foundation and give it the time and attention it deserves, fertilizing along the way. At the first sign of trouble, be it a weed or dry spot, I don’t ignore it – I edit out and revise and supplement, always crafting and shaping till I have my final product to share. That end result that’s called a book just doesn’t happen. It takes lots of time and love lavished upon it.
But like a beautiful garden or lawn … it’s worth the investment.