A lawn unto themselves — dispute over whether lawn grass was ‘cow grass’

A civil case was heard at Belmullet District Court on Wednesday where damages were sought for breach of contract from a man who re-seeded two lawns.

Mai Gaughan, Drumreagh, Clogher gave evidence that in September 2009 she entered into a contract with John Heneghan, Termon, Clogher in order for him to reseed her lawn and the lawn of her daughter— Christine McGrath, Drumreagh, Clogher—with a specific type of lawn seed, which they had purchased from Brogan’s for a total of €274.

Heneghan agreed to carry out the works for a total of €780 and collected the seed prior to the commencement of work. The grass was reseeded on the two lawns, however, according to Ms Gaughan, the grass did not grow until the following April/May, by which time it sprang up wild. A person who mowed the lawns told Ms Gaughan that this grass was too hard to cut and was in fact cow grass, not lawn grass. This led Ms Gaughan to believe it was not the lawn seed purchased which was sown.

Ms Gaughan contacted her solicitor and a letter was sent to Heneghan to either repay the money received for work carried out and for the cost of seed sown, or to return and rectify the issue. There was no response by the defendant and proceedings were issued.

A horticulturist for the plaintiff told the court that he concluded that it was pasture grass, not lawn grass. A horticulturist for the defence contended that the grass did not grow due to the type of soil on the land and the fact that it was never fertilised or maintained.

Heneghan told the court that he used the exact seed which he was given and that in October the lawns “were beautiful”.

Judge Kevin Kilrane said that all parties appeared to be telling the truth, but it was “unfortunate circumstances” in the reseeding where the grass did not “materialise”. The judge also outlined that the floods last November, followed by the harsh winter and a heat wave in May could have impacted the reseeding. This, along with the fact that other grass could have been blown into the land and grew alongside the lawn seed, led to a mixture of grass which had grown. Judge Kilrane found that the defendant was not liable and dismissed the case.

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