Being a lawn guy always qualifies me for lawn related gifts during the holidays, most recently was the book Lawnscapes: Mowing Patterns to Make Your Yard a Work of Art by David Parfitt. Anyone who has seen a professional golf tournament or a major league baseball game on television, knows that a striped lawn can truly be a thing of beauty. From the formal lines and checkerboard patterns of fairways and greens to stars, blazing suns and even team logos on sports fields, the details are only limited by the imagination and time of the grounds keepers. With Lawnscapes: Mowing Patterns to Make Your Lawn a Work of Art, it is now possible to learn the techniques involved with intricate lawn striping and even do it yourself.
Fairly Useful Guide to Achieving A Beautifully Striped Lawn
First published in 2007, Lawnscapes first comes off like a novelty book with it's gaudy fake turf indoor/outdoor carpeted cover. At first glance, it's hard to take the book seriously, the publisher is even "Quirk Books". Then again it's probably not easy to get a book about lawn striping published without some sort of an angle or gimmick - hence the astroturf cover. Upon further inspection though, Lawnscapes is a thorough examination of it's topic providing useful and informative techniques for beautifully striping a home lawn. The illustrations are helpful and the text is easy to comprehend and to-the-point.
As a lawn care professional, I've lost count of the times I've been asked how lawn striping is achieved. I'm always a little disappointed to reply with an answer so simple. Similar to the nap of suede, the lawn develops it's light/dark appearance based on which direction the lawn is pushed down. A simple roller attachment on a lawn mower is all that is needed to start one off into the world of striping. I've literally spent hundreds of hours striping turf with various mowers while working at golf courses be it fairway, green or the surrounding roughs of the greens complex. I've been stopped by passersby and golfers alike wondering what the magic was to laying out my beautiful stripes. In some cases, the monotony of the job would entice me to become more and more creative until I had created striped works of art throughout the golf course (although nothing like the masterpieces in the book). Experience and a keen eye provides to the ability to mow crisp straight lines and cross them at various angles to create the diamond and checkerboard patterns so envied by homeowners.
Great Techniques but Complex Patterns Seem Unreal
The book begins with the basics, some lawn mower safety reminders, a caveat that suggests a proper lawn care regimen be in place to obtain best results, and the principles behind how stripes are created. Basic patterns are covered first, then intermediate, advanced, and finishing with artistic masterpieces. Simple straight line patterns merge into checker board designs and before you know it, there are patterns for everything from abstract art, celtic knots, soaring eagles, and climaxing with (I kid you not) Botticelli's Birth of Venus.
My only critique of the book would be the lack of real pictures, especially of the examples. There are galleries at the end of each level but they seem photoshopped to better portray the intended design. This lends an air of improbability to some of the designs, especially the more complex ones. Photo's that were truly authentic would give the book the realism and seriousness it needs to counterbalance the astroturf cover which borders on ridiculous. I'm already getting little specks of artificial grass turning up on my laptop, throughout my book bag and on my clothes.
Overall, Lawnscapes: Mowing Patterns to Make Your Yard a Work of Art is a good book that would make a great gift for the lawn enthusiast in your life. Although whimsical, there are definitely some great ideas and techniques inside making it both playful and useful.