playing croquet
Photograph: Keller and Keller
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A lush lawn is a jewel in any backyard, but one with thick turf and a birch-tree forest border practically begs barefoot guests to come out and play. On this particular 23.5-by-84-foot patch, the game of choice is croquet; the lawn can accommodate a full game of six players. And while it's nowhere near as big as the 5,000 square feet used in official games, the tough mix of bluegrass, rye, and fescue grasses will still stand up to the most zealous competitors.

For Roger, building the lawn was no different from any other sod project, though he added the step of making the field somewhat level. He amended the soil and laid the turf, then gave it a few weeks to take root before allowing players on the field. He also collected large stones that dotted the property to construct a rock wall boundary along one side, separating the gaming area from the trees. All that's left is to place the wickets, grab a traditional wood mallet, and stroll the grounds for a leisurely game.
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