Believe it or not (and, even for us, this is pretty hard to believe), but the ‘Britain’s Best Lawn’ competition is now in its thirteenth year. Yup. You read that right. There is a nationwide competition that celebrates Britain’s most dedicated gardeners and, yes, it’s been celebrating the very best in manicured turf for over a dozen years and, you know what, we absolutely dig it.
Maintaining a gorgeous garden ain’t easy. It’s one of those hobbies that requires both passion and dedication in equal measures. Sure, collecting stamps means sacrificing a moist mouth and making model aeroplanes means super-gluing your fingers together on a minutely basis. But none of that compares to taming Mother Nature. Oh no. For that you need to be out there every day, putting skin in the game. Come rain or shine, you need to be digging deep (quite literally) and that deserves a giant dollop of recognition.
Think of it like this: a novelist doesn’t write for themselves, they write in the hope people will read their genius, and showing off a meticulously maintained garden is no different.
So, with the 2018 shortlist soon to be announced, let’s take a look back at last year’s finalists and show you just what can be achieved when you spend hours in your small slice of the great outdoors tending to this, that and everything.
Finalist No.1: John Tidswell, A Peterborough Bloke
John is no new face in this competition. In fact, he’s a bit of veteran having grabbed second place back in 2015, the title of Britain’s Best Lawn so close he could see the morning dew drops on the trophy. But instead of settling for second, John took a deep breath, collected himself, headed back into his yard and did everything he could before re-entering last year, confident he could claim victory this time around.
His piece de resistance: his lawn. It’s John’s pride and joy. It’s his centrepiece. His greatest achievement – and it’s easy to see why. This turf is immaculate and that’s because he mows it every. single. day. That’s the secret to his perfection. He even admitted the urge to mow it on Christmas morning. Now that’s the kind of dedication we like to read about it.
Finalist No.2: Stuart Grindle, A Doncaster Chap
For as long as Stuart can remember, he’s always been proud of his garden – proud enough to open it up to the public each and every year, soaking up the “ooooos’ and ‘aaaaahhs” of all those that take a peek. But, for Stuart, it’s not just about the satisfaction of showing off. It’s about raising money for charity too, in which he’s managed to fill his good-cause-piggy-bank with thousands of pounds.
His secret to success: dedicating no less than 30 hours a week to his backyard, Stuart gets his trusted mower out twice a day every other day in order to keep his grass at the very precise height of 5mm. Yup. This might be a hobby for Stuart but he dedicates a working week to the cause, so you can be sure he’ll have dirt under his fingernails and grass stains around his ankles, and it’s all totally worth it if you ask us. Take a bow, Stuart.
Finalist No.3: Kevin Morgan, An Exeter Lad
What makes Kevin different from the rest on this list is his love of changing things up. While the other finalists love to keep things absolutely perfect and absolutely the same, Kevin can’t handle that sort of monotony. It grinds on him like chalk on a board. So, to keep things looking as interesting as they are stunning, he regularly changes up his lawn design. One week it could be perfectly symmetrical swirls and the next it might be very strict stripes, before mowing it out and starting again with circles instead.
What we applaud: Kevin’s bravery. It ain’t easy to step outside your comfort zones, constantly challenge yourself and yet keep producing a breathtaking lawn, which is why we doth our cap to you, Kevin. But, then again, that’s what mowing a lawn three times a week give you; experience. This is a man who clearly knows how to wield his weapon of choice: the mower.
Now that we’ve met the finalists, there is only one question left to answer: who got knighted by the Best Garden committee and got to wear this most prestigious of titles with pride (along with a bunch of other lawn-loving prizes, such as an EGO Power+ lawn mower and multi-tool)?
Well, we can happily announce (almost nine months after the official ceremony) that the winner of Britain’s Best Lawn 2017 was… dun dun duuuuurrnnn… Stuart Grindle of Doncasterland. Well done, Stuart. And well done everyone else (who received the parachute package of either a £600 multi-tool or a leaf blower, which is pretty cool).
We set our expectations higher than The Shard, we can’t wait to see who’s made the shortlist this year.