It’s flat, big, green, and filled with tiny blades of grass. It’s beautiful, clean, simple, symmetrical, easy to walk on and easy to look at. What we fail to realize, however, is that what we take as a symbol of care and maintenance is often not the best choice for our land.
The lawn can even be considered a waste of space when it occupies a plot of perfectly good soil. Although it’s still natural and much better than concrete or gravel, a garden in its place could foster many more homes for natural creatures, freshen the air, and, in the long run, help save our planet.
Here are some of the negative aspects of keeping a lawn:
1. A single riding lawn mower releases the same amount of pollution in ONE HOUR as 34 cars. Gas powered gardening tools make up 5% of annual American emissions.
2. 7.9 BILLION GALLONS of DRINKABLE WATER are used every day to water landscapes, primarily lawns.
3. Chemical run-off from lawns treated with fertilizers and pesticides causes algae to flourish, which DEPRIVES AQUATIC CREATURES OF OXYGEN AND SUNLIGHT. It also prevents natural water filtration and poses health risk for humans.
4. MANY NATIVE ANIMALS CANNOT SURVIVE. Many Americans have turf grasses, which are exotic and inedible for native species. Thus, insects often cannot feed. Birds and other creatures cannot find enough insects, and a negative spiral begins.
Why spend money mowing, growing, and maintaining a bland monoculture when you could have a mini biodiversity hotspot right in front of your home? It takes a lot of work to maintain a garden, but, in the end, it positively impacts your body and your mind alike. My family has a lawn at home, and as soon as I get back, I’m going to show them this link and talk to them about tearing up some of the grass and starting a good garden.
But if we look at it realistically, how many of us have time to maintain a garden? Most people tend their lawns only a few days a week, but most gardens require more than that. So why bother? Well…
IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH! It’s great for your loved ones! It’s a hobby, a food source, a project, a mark of passion and caring. Not everyone is at a point in their life where growing a garden is viable, but if every future lawn owner pledged to eventually go for the garden, I think the future would be a lot less brown and gray.
The more I think about them, the uglier lawns seem to become.
(Most of the information above came from this paper by the University of Delaware: http://ag.udel.edu/udbg/sl/vegetation/Turf_Grass_Madness.pdf).