I Hate Lawns


Yes, it’s true. I hate lawns. I didn’t always hate them, though I never particularly liked cutting and maintaining them. (It helped when I was a child and was paid to cut them.)  Beyond that, I do have my reasons …

I have written about lawns here before, how they came about from people clearing the land around their homes for a variety of reasons, and how they became more common around wealthy residences, starting with the Louis’ of France, and then descended the economic ladder in the late 19th century and became common to the middle and lower classes in the early and mid-twentieth century. I also wrote how the corporate world saw economic opportunity in lawns and convinced us, especially since World War II, to trim them like we have OCD using resource-hogging, pollution-generating machines, and then to spray them with even nastier and more resource consuming chemicals, all for the profit of faceless investors.  We feel like we fit in and our yard looks neat, but at a higher long-term cost than we realize.

I do hate cutting my lawn, and for so many reasons. If I could find a way to replace it with plants that would need less care and still be pleasing to the eye, but without spending tons of money on landscaping, I definitely would. I have tried a number of inexpensive measures so far, but need to do another round of research into what solutions are available, and which ones the city will allow.

Down the street from me is a house where, the past couple of years, they planted a strain of sunflowers that grow to only a few feet tall. That way they never had to cut their lawn, the flowers were beautiful and cheery, and in the late summer and fall the birds had a great feast. Another neighbor has some other sort of plant growing in place of the highly unnatural grass most of us have. And yet others have large rock gardens with paths, ivy ground cover, and small trees and bushes filling up their yards, which is classy but more expensive. Understand that I am trying to keep not only my cost down, but the environmental cost of all the transportation of goods, manufacturing and disposal of containers, etc., etc., that comes with most commercial activity.

I’m not an eco-nazi, but I fully expect that lawns will be less affordable in the future, just as farming will be unlikely to provide the quantities and quality of food we have today, when population has expanded another 20%,  fossil fuels are running down and prices for them have risen much higher. What can we do today to prolong our bounty of fossil fuel while having sustainable and healthy green spaces around our homes?

As always, your comments are welcome. – Tim

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