Garden Photo of the Day

Jon’s sculptural lawn in Ohio, revisited

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jon Moss

Once in a while you guys send me an email that makes me laugh out loud in happiness and amazement, and I got one of those a couple of days ago. It’s from Jon Moss in Dayton, Ohio, and he said, “Last winter I sent you a picture of my snowy lawn that got published as a GPOD (HERE). This year, my turf tapestry is an egg and serpent theme and it gets a little more expressive and refined as I work out different methods and effects that can be made with my mower. I don’t know where this is going but I have heard that I may have a mental disorder. If they cart me off to the funny farm, maybe they will let me take care of the lawn. By the way, the last one is the Google Earth satellite view from May of 2012.”

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jon Moss

Jon, do you know how happy it makes me that there are people in the world like you? Bravo!!

At the risk of sounding like broken record….This is prime time to take some photos in your garden. So get out there with your cameras and send some in! Email them to [email protected].

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jon Moss
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jon Moss
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jon Moss
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jon Moss
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jon Moss
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Jon Moss

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View Comments


  1. user-1020932 08/07/2013

    i'm so glad to see this lawn this morning in a summer shot. i still have the snowy one saved from it's feature earlier this year. if you have a mental disorder it's ok, i'm sure you're the most popular guy in the neighborhood!

  2. ross121 08/07/2013

    Great see another way of beautifying ones landscape. Your not loony - your brilliant!

  3. deeinde 08/07/2013

    Very fun! And it is so symmetrical!
    I am curious! How long/short do you cut it?

  4. Mbrainard 08/07/2013

    How great is this? Does it take along time to maintain? Do you use GPS, lie they do with corn mazes. Very talented! If you are nuts, join the crowd.

  5. JonMoss 08/07/2013

    @ yardmom: I mow as low as an inch after the first frost but usually closer to two. Last May I modified the mower's wheel brackets so it can clear 4 inches.

  6. GrnThum 08/07/2013

    Not much into lawns, but this is super cool from above. Definitely artistic! A real treat for the butterflies and birds who get that aerial view. Hope they appreciate the work that goes into it.

  7. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/07/2013

    I had an "Oh. goodie" flash as soon as I saw the email headline since I had wondered last March what your mowticons looked like during the active grass growing season. The google earth shot is fun to have it captured at just the right time...hopefully, your masterpiece is not a traffic stopper for planes flying overhead!

  8. shy_gardener 08/07/2013

    I love the grass sculpture and the view from Google Earth is great, but is that a foot I see?? Very cool!

  9. JonMoss 08/07/2013

    @ shy_gardener: Yes, that is my Sasquatch Bed. It reminds me of how I long to return to the Pacific Northwest. The heel and ball are blue spruce and the toes are arborvitae.

  10. Aarchman07030 08/07/2013

    Let me add my voice to the enthusiastic chorus.

    The Rorshach possibilities alone are amazing. I didn't see the foot until Shy Gardener sent me back for another view.

    Personally, I see Van Gogh's 'Starry Night'

    Mental Disorder/Artistic Genius. Potato/Potahto.

  11. wGardens 08/07/2013

    I too had to take another look for that foot. LOVE your creativity. Make sure you send photos each year of your projects!

  12. tractor1 08/07/2013

    They're coming to take you away, Ha Ha, to the funny farm, where life is good all the time, Ha Ha! I think they will take me first, I mow 10 acres each week... Jon, you're welcome to ply your trade on my lawn, think of all the enjoyment. hehe

    I'll be mowing today, all day.

  13. cwheat000 08/07/2013

    Love it, love it, love it! You must have been a baseball groundskeeper and a member of the Nazca tribe in you previous lives. Or perhaps you have been abducted by those aliens that make the crop circles,lol.

  14. Wife_Mother_Gardener 08/07/2013

    I would love to know how he did it! Great use for boring out turf!

  15. EyeGarden 08/07/2013

    When I look at this I just see WAY too much lawn.
    There are so many more environmentally friendly things to do with land.

  16. tractor1 08/07/2013

    EyeGarden: lawns are far more environmentally friendly than what most folks plant... lawns are analagous to algea in the oceans.

  17. GrannyMay 08/07/2013

    Such fun Jon! How nice to see someone being creative with the normally boring lawn area. Just think of what you could do with Tractor1's 10 acres of blank canvas!

  18. rwotzak 08/07/2013

    This looks like so much fun! And the Google Earth pic is the icing on the cake. :)

  19. sheila_schultz 08/07/2013

    Outrageously delightful Jon... I'm seriously tickled ;) Thanks!

  20. TeriCA 08/07/2013

    Love it, love it, love it! What a fun way to turn what could be a mundane job into a work of art. I went back to your snow one, and remember being awed at the beauty of it....summer it looks wonderful too. Your sense of humor is great too!

  21. user-1020932 08/07/2013

    ok, i had to go back and find the foot,,, missed it the first time.
    eyegarden, i would be interested in a list of the more environmentally friendly options. i often hear that but i rarely if ever am given any information as to the alternatives

  22. JonMoss 08/07/2013

    In EyeGarden’s defense, really there is more lawn here than I like too. If I could, I would reduce my lawn to a meadow with my house at the edge. I’d have a lot of Black Gums and Mountain Laurel. Near the property line, I’d have a chicken shed, dozens of Japanese Black pines and Nandinas so that I would know the limits of my domain. I’d have a generous patio made of large cut stones and a shallow pond with a water feature (one I have had in mind for four years… two stylized reclining figures spewing water at each other). There would also be a bountiful kitchen garden, a summer kitchen with a brick oven, a compostium and a special spot for meditation. All of this would provide habitat for a great variety of critters and give them a reliable place to slack their thirst. I’d still have a few textured shapes in the meadow but I would be using bent grass for the short stuff and blue fescue for the taller elements. With the reduction in lawn, I would be using less fossil fuel and the whole site would be cooler in the summer and a lot more in tune with the Gaian ideal.

  23. user-1020932 08/07/2013

    i wasn't trying to bash eyegarden i just almost never get any suggestions after hearing that too much lawn thing. nobody ever gives options and jon with that list,,,,,,,,you're gonna have to move! and i hear there is $425 million up for grabs tonight :)

  24. JonMoss 08/07/2013

    Hey TNT, No finger pointing here and thank you for the lottery tip. If I score, I will hightail it to Oregon with MizMoss and start working on that list.

  25. bee1nine 08/07/2013

    Jon, This has been fun to see your lawn artistry during the
    active growing season. And looking down from the E.G. Satellite view, how clever you are to add creative attention
    for finding your yard in the neighborhood vicinity!
    The view to find our yard, just shows a lot of trees!!

  26. joycedaffodilhill 08/08/2013

    Reminds us of the Serpent Mound in Ohio, "there are UFO's there, however?" This is a lovely, imaginative way to express yourself. No the funny farm doesn't want you, you are needed elsewhere. Spent some time with my husband, trying to figure the layout of the house/serpent/egg and finally gave up. The foot is a stroke of genius. Want to share the plant structure of that section, it would be interesting. The snow scene was impressive, but green is even better. Keep up the good work, keep us all in the loop. Thanks for sharing.

  27. JonMoss 08/08/2013

    Thank you all for your kind thoughts. Validation is priceless.

    If you want to try your hand at this you'll need a mower with wheels that are individually adjustable. I'd suggest starting off with some modest shape in mind and your mower set at its normal height. Then mow the negative space (that which is not the elephant). When your happy with that, bevel the mower (raise the wheels on the left or right) and mow the perimeter of your shape. Finally, set all wheels high and finish off the interior.

    @ joycedaffodilhill: Popsicle toes? No, they are arborvitae. The heel and ball are blue spruce. The sole is made of several boxwood and a burning bush. There are perennials in there too. Primarily lamb's ears, salvia, cone flowers and russian sage. And... half a days worth of weeds.

    Mow boldly, my friends.

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