If you are someone who tries to garden organically without using chemical fertilizers and pesticides a large lawn is probably not on your list of priorities. While there are organic methods of lawn care, grass cutting with a hand mower is hard work. Even if you are not so concerned about the organic aspect, conventional lawn maintenance can be expensive and polluting. It has been reported that the average gas mower emits four times more pollution than the ordinary car. The greener alternative is to convert some of your lawn into flower beds as Jim Gallion explains in this article which I found on The Master Gardeners website.
Here are some figures from Wildones Natural Landscapers, Ltd. that will be of use to all of us in these times of gas prices, wasting money and environmental problems in the U.S.
- 67,000,000 pounds of synthetic pesticides are used on U.S. lawns.
- 580,000,000 gallons of gasoline are used in lawnmowers
- $25,000,000,000 is spent for the lawn care industry (yes, billions!)
- $700,000,000 is spent for pesticides for U.S. lawns
- 20,000,000 + acres are planted in residential lawns
- $5,250,000,000 is spent on fossil fuel-derived fertilizers for U.S. lawns
Well, now we can see why things are changing! The mowed lawn aesthetic originated in the late 18th century from aristocratic France and England. Landscape architect Andre LeNotre designed small lawn areas for the palace of Versailles. This aesthetic was rapidly adopted by the rich of England, because turf grass grew easily in the English climate of moderate temperatures and frequent rain. The U.S. colonists also adopted the lawn aesthetic in an attempt to transform the wilderness of the new country into the sophistication of the old world. The middle class did not copy the wealthy look until after the civil war, with the stimulus of the new landscape architects leading the way. Soon, in the early 20th century we were being bombarded by advertising to have that “look” and in many cases shamed into submission by what the Joneses had next door.
See more at The Master Gardeners