Skip to main content

Per AP NEWS; Americans are now re-thinking the classic LAWN & Home YARD space




 America’s love affair with the lawn is getting messy

By JULIA RUBIN May 6th, 2023


WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — LeighAnn Ferrara is transforming her small suburban yard from grass bordered by a few shrubs into an anti-lawn — a patchwork of flower beds, vegetables and fruit trees.

It didn’t happen all at once, says the mother of two young kids. “We started smothering small sections of the lawn each year with cardboard and mulch and planting them, and by now the front yard is probably three-quarters planting beds,” she says. “Every year we do more.”

Her perennials and native plants require less upkeep and water than turf grass does. And she doesn’t need herbicides or pesticides — she’s not aiming for emerald perfection.

For generations, the lawn — that neat, green, weed-less carpet of grass — has dominated American yards. It still does. But a surge of gardeners, landscapers and homeowners worried about the environment now see it as an anachronism, even a threat.




Like Ferrara, they’re chipping away at it.

“America is unique in its fixation on the monoculture lawn,” says Dennis Liu, vice president of education at the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation in Durham, North Carolina. “Our English inheritance is our own little tidy green space.”

Now, drought, crashing insect populations and other environmental problems are highlighting -– in different ways, in different places –- the need for more kinds of plants in spaces large and small.

Some people are experimenting with more “eco-friendly” lawns, seed mixes you can buy with native grasses that aren’t as thirsty or finicky. Others are mowing less and tolerating old foes like dandelions and clover. Still others are trying to replace lawns, entirely or bit by bit, with garden beds including pollinator-friendly and edible plants.

It all leads to a more relaxed, wilder-looking yard.

“The more you can make your little piece that you’re a steward of go with nature’s flow, the better off everyone is,” says Liu.

In states with water shortages, many homeowners long ago swapped out turf grass for less-thirsty options, including succulents and gravel.


Elsewhere, the pandemic has speeded the trend away from lawns. Gardening exploded as a hobby, and many non-gardeners spent more time at home, paying more attention to the natural world around them.

Municipalities across the country are handing out lawn signs with “healthy yard” bragging rights to homeowners who forgo lawn chemicals or mow less often. Many towns are slapping regulations on common tools like gas-powered leaf blowers and mowers, mostly because of noise.

“For people interested in gardening, a lot have come to the realization it can’t just be ornamental anymore. It has to serve some other purpose, whether food, habitat … pack in as many uses as you can,” says Alicia Holloway, a University of Georgia Extension agent in Barrow County. “It’s a shift in thought, in aesthetics.”



Monrovia, a major grower of plants for nurseries and other outlets, has seen lots of interest in a “Garden of Abundance” trend -– a more “alive-looking” yard with a variety of plants, says company trend watcher Katie Tamony. She says it’s a way of thinking about your yard “as not just being yours, but part of a more beautiful, larger world that we’re trying to create.”

Plants that attract pollinators were the category most sought-after in a survey of Monrovia’s customers, she said.

And yet. The lawn isn’t disappearing anytime soon.


Many homeowners associations still have rules about keeping yards manicured. And lawn services tend to be geared toward maintaining grassy expanses.

Andrew Bray, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Landscape Professionals, a trade group, says lawns are still the mainstream choice. People want neat outdoor spaces for relaxing, playing and entertaining.

He says his group supports the goal of making lawn care more environmentally friendly, but believes some recent ordinances, like those against gas-powered blowers and mowers, have created a “fraught political environment.” He says electric alternatives to those tools aren’t feasible yet for the big lawns that professionals handle.

The landscapers’ trade group set up a new public platform this year, Voices for Healthy Green Spaces, to present its side of things. “Whether people want to have a large yard, plant a forest of trees in their backyard, or want a meadow and unstructured plantings,” all are green options, he said.

Those concerned that grass lawns fall short in helping pollinators and other species face another problem. “A lot of people don’t want bees –- there’s fear of nature,” says Holloway, the Georgia extension agent.. “I think that’s changing, but it still has a long way to go.”

Replacing grass also takes patience. “One of the best parts of my job is site visits. I go to backyards that people have been working on for 20, 30 years, and it’s helped me get over the mindset that everything has to be done all at once. It really takes time” to create a yard that’s got plantings, rather than just lawn, Holloway says.

And it’s hard to overcome tradition and neighborhood expectations. A lawn “looks tidy, and it’s easy to keep doing what you’re doing,” Liu says. But “once you’ve established the new equilibrium, it’s easier, it pays all these benefits.”

Some neighbors might see a yard without a lawn “and think, there’s the crazy person,” he says. “But a lot of people will just think it’s so cool.”


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Per Moneywise, Grant Cardone says, "I wouldn't touch the real estate markets of either Austin, Texas or Seattle Washington with a 10 foot pole."

‘I wouldn’t touch Austin, Texas or Seattle, Washington with anybody’s money’ : Grant Cardone says these two major US cities are some of 'the worst markets to be in right now' for real estate investors — here's why Story by Bethan Moorcraft • click here for the exact moneywise article  prolific real estate investor Grant Cardone has singled out two U.S. property markets he wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole: Austin and Seattle. Cardone shared this hot take — and many others — in an  interview with Moneywise  after he prompted an AI chatbot to answer the question: “What are the 10 best markets for investing in rental real estate in America?” The AI Smith response started with: “The best markets for investing in real estate in America can vary depending on factors such as population growth, job opportunities, rental demand, affordability and potential rental income.” Up until that point, Cardone — who performed the task live on camera — was pretty happy with the response. But

Sad News. Tim Harrington of Austin, Texas passed away in mid-February 2024 from a heart attack. His Memorial Service is 2/29/2024 2 pm, @ Austin Ridge Bible Church in Westlake.

The Above Photo was taken by Jim Innes during his Podium Eulogy talk for Tim Harrington. To Say the Westlake Austin Ridge Bible Church memorial service was PACKED, would be an understatement. Tim Harrington was a good man, and friend of many. He was relatable, authentic, funny, caring and social.    George Vance..... Just making sure you know that Tim Harrington passed away last weekend. Heart attack.  Tim’s Memorial Service will be: 2/29/24 at 2 PM at Austin Ridge Bible Church at 9300 Bee Cave Rd, Austin, TX 78733 in Westlake. At the Worship Center building. Please spread the word. GVM speaking here, "Tim showed up on my 40th birthday at Pitch N Putt for an afternoon of golf and bullshit. Tim was in good spirits that afternoon after boasting of his mega million dollar commercial fresh sale in SoCo. St. Elmo @ the ol' Hills Cafe.   Tim was a former SOUTHWESTERN door to door salesman and alumnus like me. A fellow bookman. Tim showed up @ my BookPeople booksigning event, for th

The Future of Clarksville & Old West Austin? West 12th and West Lynn Blvd. Recap of Meeting Between the Neighborhood & Zydeco Development.

 Recap of Meeting Between the Neighborhood & Zydeco Development That the CCDC Organized On December 6 th , the principals of Zydeco Development, Meghan Yancy and Wes Gilmer, as well as Miguel  Rivera with Miro-Rivera Architects, talked with neighborhood residents about its plans for redeveloping thebuilding that formerly housed Nau’s, and where Anthony’s is still located, the parking lot between Anthony’s and CafĂ© Medici, the house where the coffee house is located, and the two houses on Eason that back up to the parking lot. Zydeco, a small, local real estate development firm founded by Howard Yancy, closed on all of this real estate  about three months ago. Miguel Rivera who lives on Patterson, is Zydeco’s architect for the project. Meghan lives on 14 th Street. During the meeting, Miguel and Meghan emphasized that they understand how important the properties along West Lynn are to the neighborhood, especially the “Nau’s building,” because they are neighbors. Meghan explained