Valerie Blaine at the Daily Herald has written a great article about letting lawns become natural pockets of grasslands across the suburbs. This can be an issue in gated communities and upmarket suburbs where the lawn and sometimes planting are regulated by species, heights and period of maintenance. The article is a great column about how we become slaves to the perfect American green lawn. read more of Blaine’s article at the Daily Herald
From my personal view, I think that green lawns ares not only an issue in America as talked about by Blaine but across the world were green lawns are seen as a must have for the perfect garden and park. The high costs of maintaining a green lawn are not only in monetary terms but also environmentally and ecologically. Planting a lawn that is a mono-culture or a few species creates an ecological wasteland. Grasslands are some of the most biodiverse landscapes that are often wiped out by residential developments to be replaced by green lawn, rows of hedging and roses. Even moreso in parks where residents demand pristine park lawns and playing ovals.
To change attitudes will take a long time unless environmental factors accelerate social change such as extended droughts which have occurred across the world including USA, Spain, Australia, India, parts of Africa. Brown lawns are now the norm in these countries as water is a scarce commodity for drinking not watering gardens. ‘Natural’ lawns or vegetable gardens can easily take the place of green lawns to provide a sustainable landscape.
Damian Holmes – 8 September 2009