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A lawn is an area of soil-covered land planted with
grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain ...
es and other durable plants such as
clover Clover or trefoil are common names for plants of the genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining ( ...

clover
which are maintained at a short height with a
lawnmower A lawn mower (also known as a mower, grass cutter or lawnmower) is a machine utilizing one or more revolving blades to cut a lawn, grass surface to an even height. The height of the cut grass may be fixed by the design of the mower, but general ...

lawnmower
(or sometimes grazing animals) and used for aesthetic and recreational purposes. Lawns are usually composed only of grass species, subject to
weed A weed is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, can late ...
and
pest control Pest control is the regulation or management of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often def ...
, maintained in a green color (e.g., by
watering
watering
), and are regularly mowed to ensure an acceptable length. Lawns are used around houses, apartments, commercial buildings and offices. Many city parks also have large lawn areas. In recreational contexts, the specialised names turf, pitch, field or green may be used, depending on the sport and the continent. The term "lawn", referring to a managed grass space, dates to at least than the 16th century. Tied to
suburban A suburb (or suburban area or suburbia) is a commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective ...
expansion and the creation of the household aesthetic, the lawn is an important aspect of the interaction between the natural environment and the constructed urban and suburban space.Robbins, Paul
Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are
Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2007.
In many suburban areas, there are bylaws in place requiring houses to have lawns and requiring the proper maintenance of these lawns. In some jurisdictions where there are water shortages, local government authorities are encouraging alternatives to lawns to reduce water use.


Etymology

Lawn is a
cognate In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Itali ...
of ''
llanLlan may be: * Llan (placename), a placename element common in Wales and some nearby regions * a short form for any . * Llan, Powys, a village in Powys, Wales * Llan the Sorcerer, a fictional character in some Marvel Comics books {{Disambiguation ...
'' which is derived from the
Common Brittonic Common Brittonic ( ang, Brytisċ; cy, Brythoneg; kw, Brythonek; br, Predeneg), also known as Common Brythonic or Proto-Brittonic, was a Celtic language The Celtic languages ( , ) are a group of related languages descended from Proto-C ...
word ''landa'' ( fro, lande) that originally meant heath, barren land, or clearing.



Origins

Lawns may have originated as grassed enclosures within early medieval settlements used for communal grazing of
livestock Livestock are the domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictabl ...
, as distinct from
fields File:A NASA Delta IV Heavy rocket launches the Parker Solar Probe (29097299447).jpg, FIELDS heads into space in August 2018 as part of the ''Parker Solar Probe'' FIELDS is a science instrument on the ''Parker Solar Probe'' (PSP), designed to mea ...
reserved for agriculture. The word "laune" is first attested in 1540, and is likely related to the
Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: ...

Celtic
Brythonic word '' lan/llan/laun'', which has the meaning of enclosure, often in relation to a place of worship. In medieval Europe, open expanses of low grasses became valued among the aristocracy because they allowed those inside an enclosed fence or castle to view those approaching. Lawns became popular with the
aristocracy Aristocracy ( grc-gre, ἀριστοκρατία , from 'excellent', and , 'rule') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: A ...
in northern
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
from the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
onward. The early lawns were not always distinguishable from
pasture Pasture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in ...

pasture
fields. The damp climate of maritime Western Europe in the north made lawns possible to grow and manage. They were not a part of gardens in other regions and cultures of the world until contemporary influence. The origins of the popularity of contemporary lawns comes from 18th century trends replicating the romantic aestheticism of grassy pastoralism from Italian landscape paintings. Before the invention of
mowing machines
mowing machines
in 1830, lawns were managed very differently. They were an element of wealthy estates and
manor house#REDIRECT Manor house A manor house was historically the main residence of the lord of the manor. The house formed the administrative centre of a manor in the European feudal system; within its great hall were held the lord's manorial court ...
s, and in some places were maintained by the labor-intensive methods of
scything
scything
and shearing. In most situations, they were also pasture land maintained through grazing by
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order (biology), order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name ''sheep'' applies to many species ...

sheep
or other
livestock Livestock are the domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictabl ...
. Areas of grass grazed regularly by
rabbit Rabbits, also known as bunnies or bunny rabbits, are small mammal Mammals (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication ...

rabbit
s,
horse The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to ...

horse
s or
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order (biology), order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name ''sheep'' applies to many species ...

sheep
over a long period often form a very low, tight sward similar to a modern lawn. This was the original meaning of the word "lawn" care, and the term can still be found in place names. Some forest areas where extensive
grazing In agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domestication, domesticated spec ...

grazing
is practiced still have these seminatural lawns. For example, in the
New Forest The New Forest is one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed land, land and in , covering southwest and southeast . It was proclaimed a royal forest by , featuring in the . Pre-existing rights of common pasture are still recognise ...
,
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
, such grazed areas are common, and are known as lawns, for example
Balmer Lawn Balmer Lawn is the name of a large New Forest Lawn located in an amphitheatre of woodland in the New Forest National Park The New Forest is one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture Pasture (from the Latin Latin (, or ...
. Lawns similar to those of today first appeared in France and England in the 1700s when
André Le Nôtre André Le Nôtre (; 12 March 1613 – 15 September 1700), originally rendered as André Le Nostre, was a French landscape architect A landscape architect is a person who is educated in the field of landscape architecture. The practice of la ...

André Le Nôtre
designed the gardens of
Versailles
Versailles
that included a small area of grass called the ', or "green carpet".


The English lawn

It was not until the 17th and 18th century that the garden and the lawn became a place created first as walkways and social areas. They were made up of meadow plants, such as
camomile Chamomile (American English) or camomile (British English; American and British English spelling differences#Miscellaneous spelling differences, see spelling differences) ( or ) is the common name for several Bellis perennis, daisy-like plants ...

camomile
, a particular favorite. In the early 17th century, the Jacobean epoch of gardening began; during this period, the closely cut "English" lawn was born. By the end of this period, the English lawn was a symbol of status of the
aristocracy Aristocracy ( grc-gre, ἀριστοκρατία , from 'excellent', and , 'rule') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: A ...
and
gentry Gentry (from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Ga ...
; it showed that the owner could afford to keep land that was not being used for a building, or for food production. In the early 18th century, landscape gardening for the
aristocracy Aristocracy ( grc-gre, ἀριστοκρατία , from 'excellent', and , 'rule') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: A ...
entered a golden age, under the direction of
William Kent William Kent (c. 1685 – 12 April 1748) was an eminent English architect, landscape architect, painter and furniture designer of the early 18th century. He began his career as a painter, and became Principal Painter in Ordinary or court paint ...

William Kent
and
Lancelot "Capability" Brown Lancelot Brown (born c. 1715–16, baptised 30 August 1716 – 6 February 1783), more commonly known as Capability Brown, was an English landscape architect. He is remembered as "the last of the great English 18th-century artists to be acco ...
. They refined the
English landscape garden The English landscape garden, also called English landscape park or simply the English garden (french: Jardin à l'anglaise, it, Giardino all'inglese, german: Englischer Landschaftsgarten, pt, Jardim inglês, es, Jardín inglés), is a style ...
style with the design of natural, or "romantic", estate settings for wealthy Englishmen. Brown, remembered as "England's greatest gardener", designed over 170 parks, many of which still endure. His influence was so great that the contributions to the English garden made by his predecessors
Charles Bridgeman Charles Bridgeman (1690–1738) was an English garden designer who helped pioneer the English landscape garden, naturalistic landscape style. Although he was a key figure in the transition of English garden design from the Anglo-Dutch formality ...

Charles Bridgeman
and
William Kent William Kent (c. 1685 – 12 April 1748) was an eminent English architect, landscape architect, painter and furniture designer of the early 18th century. He began his career as a painter, and became Principal Painter in Ordinary or court paint ...

William Kent
are often overlooked. His work still endures at
Croome Court Croome Court is a mid-18th-century Neo-Palladian mansion surrounded by extensive landscaped parkland at Croome D'Abitot, near Upton-upon-Severn in south Worcestershire, England. The mansion and park were designed by Lancelot "Capability" Brown for ...
(where he also designed the house),
Blenheim Palace Blenheim Palace (pronounced ) is a English country house, country house in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England. It is the seat of the Duke of Marlborough (title), Dukes of Marlborough and the only non-royal family, royal, non-Bishop, episcop ...

Blenheim Palace
,
Warwick Castle Warwick Castle is a medieval castle developed from a wooden fort, originally built by William I of England, William the Conqueror during 1068. Warwick is the county town of Warwickshire, England, situated on a meander of the River Avon, Warwicksh ...

Warwick Castle
,
Harewood House Harewood House ( , ) is a English country house, country house in Harewood, West Yorkshire, Harewood, West Yorkshire, England. Designed by architects John Carr (architect), John Carr and Robert Adam, it was built, between 1759 and 1771, for Ed ...

Harewood House
,
Bowood House Bowood is a grade I listed A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England in England, Historic Environment Scotland in Scotland, in Wales, and the North ...

Bowood House
,
Milton Abbey Milton Abbey school is an independent school for day and boarding pupils in the village of Milton Abbas, near Blandford Forum in Dorset, in South West England South West England is one of nine official regions of England. It consists of ...

Milton Abbey
(and nearby
Milton Abbas Milton Abbas is a village and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, ...
village), in traces at
Kew Gardens Kew Gardens is a botanical garden, botanic garden in southwest London that houses the "largest and most diverse botany, botanical and mycology, mycological collections in the world". Founded in 1840, from the exotic garden at Kew Park, its li ...

Kew Gardens
and many other locations. His style of smooth undulating lawns which ran seamlessly to the house and meadow, clumps, belts and scattering of trees and his serpentine lakes formed by invisibly damming small rivers, were a new style within the English landscape, a "gardenless" form of landscape gardening, which swept away almost all the remnants of previous formally patterned styles. His landscapes were fundamentally different from what they replaced, the well-known formal gardens of England which were criticised by
Alexander Pope Alexander Pope (21 May 1688 – 30 May 1744) is seen as one of the greatest English poets and the foremost poet of the early 18th century. He is best known for satirical and discursive poetry, including ''The Rape of the Lock ''The Rape of ...

Alexander Pope
and others from the 1710s. The open "English style" of parkland first spread across Britain and Ireland, and then across Europe, such as the garden ''à la française'' being replaced by the
French landscape garden The French landscape garden (french: jardin paysager, jardin à l'anglaise, jardin pittoresque, jardin anglo-chinois) is a style of garden inspired by idealized romantic landscapes and the paintings of Hubert Robert, Claude Lorrain Claude Lorrain ...
. By this time, the word "lawn" in England had semantically shifted to describe a piece of a garden covered with grass and closely mown. Wealthy families in America during the late 18th century also began mimicking English landscaping styles. In 1780, the
Shaker The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, more commonly known as the Shakers, are a millenarian Millenarianism (also millenarism), from Latin ''mīllēnārius'' "containing a thousand", is the belief by a religious ...

Shaker
community began the first industrial production of high-quality grass seed in North America, and a number of seed companies and nurseries were founded in
Philadelphia Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is ...

Philadelphia
. The increased availability of these grasses meant they were in plentiful supply for parks and residential areas, not just livestock.
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were cr ...

Thomas Jefferson
has long been given credit for being the first person to attempt an English-style lawn at his estate,
Monticello Monticello ( ) was the primary plantation A plantation is a large-scale estate, generally centered on a plantation house, meant for farming that specializes in cash crops. The crops that are grown include cotton, coffee, tea, coco ...

Monticello
, in 1806, but many others had tried to emulate English landscaping before he did. Over time, an increasing number towns in
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as the American Northeast, the Northeast, and the East Coast) is a geographical region In geography ...

New England
began to emphasize grass spaces. Many scholars link this development to the romantic and transcendentalist movements of the 19th century. These green commons were also heavily associated with the success of the Revolutionary War and often became the homes of patriotic war memorials after the
Civil War A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine publis ...
ended in 1865.


Middle class pursuit

Before the mechanical lawnmower, the upkeep of lawns was possible only for the extremely wealthy estates and
manor house#REDIRECT Manor house A manor house was historically the main residence of the lord of the manor. The house formed the administrative centre of a manor in the European feudal system; within its great hall were held the lord's manorial court ...
s of the aristocracy. Labor-intensive methods of and shearing the grass were required to maintain the lawn in its correct state, and most of the land in England was required for more functional,
agricultural Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

agricultural
purposes. This all changed with the invention of the lawnmower by
Edwin Beard BuddingEdwin Beard Budding (1796–1846), an engineer Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are Professional, professionals who Invention, invent, design, analyze, build and test Machine, machines, complex systems, architecture, structures, gadget ...
in 1830. Budding had the idea for a lawnmower after seeing a machine in a local cloth mill which used a cutting cylinder (or bladed reel) mounted on a bench to trim the irregular nap from the surface of woolen cloth and give a smooth finish. Budding realised that a similar device could be used to cut grass if the mechanism was mounted in a wheeled frame to make the blades rotate close to the lawn's surface. His mower design was to be used primarily to cut the lawn on sports grounds and extensive gardens, as a superior alternative to the
scythe A scythe is an agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentar ...

scythe
, and he was granted a British patent on 31 August 1830. Budding went into partnership with a local engineer, John Ferrabee, who paid the costs of development and acquired rights to manufacture and sell lawn mowers and to
license A license (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. Cur ...

license
other manufacturers. Together they made mowers in a factory at Thrupp near Stroud. Among the other companies manufacturing under license the most successful was
Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies Limited was a major United Kingdom, British agricultural machinery maker also producing a wide range of general engineering products in Ipswich, Suffolk including traction engines, trolleybuses, ploughs, lawn mowers, c ...

Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies
of Ipswich which began mower production as early as 1832. However, his model had two crucial drawbacks. It was immensely heavy (it was made of
cast iron Cast iron is a group of iron-carbon alloys with a carbon content more than 2%. Its usefulness derives from its relatively low melting temperature. The alloy constituents affect its colour when fractured: white cast iron has carbide impuritie ...
) and difficult to manoeuvre in the garden, and did not cut the grass very well. The blade would often spin above the grass uselessly. It took ten more years and further innovations, including the advent of the
Bessemer process The Bessemer process was the first inexpensive industrial process Industrial processes are procedures involving chemical A chemical substance is a form of matter having constant chemical composition and characteristic properties. Some refer ...

Bessemer process
for the production of the much lighter alloy
steel Steel is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appe ...

steel
and advances in motorization such as the
drive chain and sprocket A sprocket, sprocket-wheel or chainwheel is a profiled wheel with teeth, or cogs, that mesh with a chain, track or other perforated or indented material. The name 'sprocket' applies generally to any wheel upon which radial projec ...
, for the lawnmower to become a practical proposition. Middle-class families across the country, in imitation of aristocratic landscape gardens, began to grow finely trimmed lawns in their back gardens. In the 1850s, Thomas Green of
Leeds Leeds is the largest city in the county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publis ...

Leeds
introduced a revolutionary mower design called the Silens Messor (meaning silent cutter), which used a chain to transmit power from the rear roller to the cutting cylinder. The machine was much lighter and quieter than the gear driven machines that preceded them, and won first prize at the first lawn mower trial at the London Horticultural Gardens. Thus began a great expansion in the lawn mower production in the 1860s. James Sumner of
Lancashire Lancashire ( , ; abbreviated Lancs.) is a non-metropolitan and ceremonial county The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of England and informally known as ceremonial co ...

Lancashire
patented the first
steam-powered from Stott Park Bobbin Mill, Cumbria, England A steam engine is a heat engine In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy ...

steam-powered
lawn mower in 1893. Around 1900, ' Automaton, available in chain- or gear-driven models, dominated the British market. In 1902, Ransomes produced the first commercially available mower powered by an internal combustion gasoline engine. JP Engineering of Leicester, founded after
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, invented the first riding mowers. This went hand-in-hand with a booming consumer market for lawns from the 1860s onward. With the increasing popularity of
sports Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" spirit between two competing sides. ...

sports
in the mid-Victorian period, the lawn mower was used to craft modern-style sporting ovals, playing fields, pitches and grass courts for the nascent sports of
football Football is a family of s that involve, to varying degrees, a to score a . Unqualified, normally means the form of football that is the most popular where the word is used. Sports commonly called ''football'' include (known as ''soccer'' ...

football
,
lawn bowls Bowls, or lawn bowls, is a sport Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each othe ...
,
lawn tennis Tennis is a racket sport Racket sports are game with separate sliding drawer, from 1390–1353 BC, made of glazed faience, dimensions: 5.5 × 7.7 × 21 cm, in the Brooklyn Museum (New York City) '', 1560, Pieter Brueg ...

lawn tennis
and others. The rise of
Suburb A suburb (or suburban area or suburbia) is a commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective ...
anisation in the
interwar period In the history of the 20th century, the Interwar period lasted from 11 November 1918 to 1 September 1939 (20 years, 9 months and 21 days), the end of the First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as t ...
was heavily influenced by the
garden city movement The garden city movement is a method of urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design ...
of
Ebenezer Howard Sir Ebenezer Howard (29 January 1850 – 1 May 1928) was an English urban planner and founder of the garden city movement, known for his publication ''To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform'' (1898), the description of a utopian city in whic ...

Ebenezer Howard
and the creation of the first
garden suburb The garden city movement is a method of urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design ...
s at the turn of the 20th century. The garden suburb, developed through the efforts of
social reform A reform movement is a type of social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by a large group of people to achieve a particular goal, typically a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting pop ...
er
Henrietta Barnett Dame Henrietta Octavia Weston Barnett, Order of the British Empire, DBE (''née'' Rowland; 4 May 1851 – 10 June 1936) was an English social reformer, educationist, and author. She and her husband, Samuel Augustus Barnett, founded the first "Uni ...
and her husband, exemplified the incorporation of the well manicured lawn into suburban life. Suburbs dramatically increased in size.
Harrow Weald Harrow Weald is a suburban district in Greater London Greater London is a Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county of England that makes up the majority of the London region. This Regions of England, region forms the administrative ...
went from just 1,500 to over 10,000 while
Pinner Pinner is a suburb in the borough of London Borough of Harrow, Harrow, Greater London, England, northwest of Charing Cross, close to the border with London Borough of Hillingdon, Hillingdon, in the historic county of Middlesex. The population ...
jumped from 3,00 to over 20,000. During the 1930s, over 4 million new suburban houses were built and the 'suburban revolution' had made England the most heavily suburbanized country in the world by a considerable margin. Lawns began to proliferate in America from the 1870s onwards. As more plants were introduced from Europe, lawns became smaller as they were filled with flower beds,
perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, thr ...
s, sculptures, and water features. Eventually the wealthy began to move away from the cities into new suburban communities. In 1856, an architectural book was published to accompany the development of the new suburbia that placed importance on the availability of a grassy space for children to play on and a space to grow fruits and vegetables that further imbued the lawn with cultural importance. Lawns began making more appearances in development plans, magazine articles, and catalogs. The lawn became less associated with being a
status symbol A status symbol is a visible, external symbol of one's social position, an indicator of economic or social status Social status is the level of social value a person is considered to hold. More specifically, it refers to the relative level of r ...
, instead giving way to a landscape aesthetic. Improvements in the lawn mower and water supply enabled the spread of lawn culture from the
Northeast The points of the compass are an evenly spaced set of horizontal directions (or azimuth An azimuth (; from ar, اَلسُّمُوت, as-sumūt, the directions) is an angular measurement In Euclidean geometry Euclidean geometry is a ma ...

Northeast
to the
South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Proto-Germanic language, Proto-Germa ...
where the grass grew more poorly. This in combination with setback rules which required all homes to have a 30-foot gap between the structure and the sidewalk meant that the lawn had found a specific place in suburbia.


Organic lawns

Due to concerns about pesticide use, fertilizer use, climate change and pollution, a movement developed in the late 20th century to require
organic lawn managementOrganic lawn management is the practice of establishing and caring for an athletic Pitch (sports field), turf field or garden lawn and landscape using organic horticulture, without the use of manufactured inputs such as synthetic pesticides or artifi ...
. In recent years, some municipalities have banned synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and required organic land care techniques be used. There are many locations with organic lawns that require organic landscaping.


United States

Prior to European colonization, the grasses on the East Coast of North America were mostly broom straw,
wild rye Wild rye is a common name used for several grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other rela ...

wild rye
, and . As Europeans moved into the region, it was noted by colonists in New England, more than others, that the grasses of the New World were inferior to those of England and that their livestock seemed to receive less nutrition from it. In fact, once livestock brought overseas from Europe spread throughout the colonies, much of the native grasses of New England disappeared, and an inventory list from the 17th century noted supplies of
clover Clover or trefoil are common names for plants of the genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining ( ...

clover
and grass seed from England. New colonists were even urged by their country and companies to bring grass seed with them to North America. By the late 17th century, a new market in imported grass seed had begun in New England.Jenkins, Virginia S
''The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession''
Smithsonian Institution, 1994.
Much of the new grasses brought by Europeans spread quickly and effectively, often ahead of the colonists. One such species, Bermuda grass (''
Cynodon dactylon ''Cynodon dactylon'', known as Bermuda grass, ''Dhoob'', ''dūrvā'' grass, ''ethana grass'', ''dubo'', dog's tooth grass, Bahama grass, devil's grass, couch grass, Indian ''doab'', ''arugampul'', ''grama'', wiregrass and scutch grass, is a Poace ...

Cynodon dactylon
''), became the most important pasture grass for the southern colonies. Kentucky bluegrass (''
Poa pratensis ''Poa pratensis'', commonly known as Kentucky bluegrass (or blue grass), smooth meadow-grass, or common meadow-grass, is a perennial species of Poaceae, grass native to practically all of Europe, North Asia and the mountains of Algeria and Morocc ...

Poa pratensis
'') is a grass native to Europe or the Middle East. It was likely carried to Midwestern United States in the early 1600s by French missionaries and spread via the waterways to the region around Kentucky. However, it may also have spread across the Appalachian mountains after an introduction on the east coast. Farmers at first continued to harvest meadows and marshes composed of indigenous grasses until they became overgrazed. These areas quickly fell to erosion and were overrun with less favorable plant life. Soon, farmers began to purposefully plant new species of grass in these areas, hoping to improve the quality and quantity of hay to provide for their livestock as native species had a lower nutritive value. While Middle Eastern and Europeans species of grass did extremely well on the East Coast of North America, it was a number of grasses from the Mediterranean that dominated the Western seaboard. As cultivated grasses became valued for their nutritional benefits to livestock, farmers relied less and less on natural meadows in the more colonized areas of the country. Eventually even the grasses of the Great Plains were overrun with European species that were more durable to the grazing patterns of imported livestock. A pivotal factor in the spread of the lawn in America was the passage of legislation in 1938 of the 40-hour
work week The workweek and weekend are the complementary parts of the week A week is a time unit equal to seven days. It is the standard time period used for cycles of rest days in most parts of the world, mostly alongside—although not strictly par ...
. Until then, Americans had typically worked half days on Saturdays, leaving little time to focus on their lawns. With this legislation and the housing boom following the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, managed grass spaces became more commonplace. The creation in the early 20th century of country clubs and golf courses completed the rise of lawn culture. According to study based on satellite observations by Cristina Milesi, NASA Earth System Science, its estimates: "More surface area in the United States is devoted to lawns than to individual irrigated crops such as corn or wheat.... area, covering about 128,000 square kilometers in all."NASA Earth Observatory, 200

Lawn
monoculture In agriculture, monoculture is the practice of growing one crop species in a field at a time. Monoculture is widely used in intensive farming and in organic farming: both a 1,000-acre cornfield and a 10-hectare field of organic kale are monocult ...
was a reflection of more than an interest in offsetting depreciation, it propagated the homogeneity of the suburb itself. Although lawns had been a recognizable feature in English residences since the 19th century, a revolution in industrialization and monoculture of the lawn since the Second World War fundamentally changed the ecology of the lawn. Money and ideas flowed back from Europe after the U.S. entered WWI, changing the way Americans interacted with themselves and nature, and the industrialization of war hastened the industrialization of pest control. Intensive suburbanization both concentrated and expanded the spread of lawn maintenance which meant increased inputs in not only
petrochemical Petrochemicals (sometimes abbreviated as petchems) are the chemical products Products are the species formed from chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the chemical transformation of one set of chemical substance ...
s,
fertilizer A fertilizer (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American E ...

fertilizer
s, and
pesticide Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests Pest or The Pest may refer to: Science and medicine * Pest (organism), an animal or plant detrimental to humans or human concerns ** Weed, a plant considered undesirable * Infectious d ...
s, but also natural resources like water. Lawns became a means of performing class values for the urban middle class, in which the condition of the lawn becomes representative of moral character and social reliability. The social values associated with lawns are promoted and upheld by social pressure, laws, and chemical producers. Social pressure comes from neighbors or
homeowner association A homeowner association (or homeowners' association, abbreviated HOA, sometimes referred to as a property owners' association or POA), or a homeowner community, is a private association-like entity often formed either ''ipso jure ''Ipso jure'' i ...
s who think that the unkempt lawns of neighbors may affect their own property values or create eyesores. Pressures to maintain a lawn are also legal; there are often local or state laws against letting weeds get to tall or letting a lawn space be especially unkempt, punishable by fees or litigation. Chemical producers unwilling to lose business propagate the ideal of a lawn, making it seem unattainable without chemical aid. Front lawns became standardized in the 1930s when, over time, specific aspects such as grass type and maintenance methods became popular. The lawn-care industry boomed, but the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
of the 1930s and in the period prior to
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
made it difficult to maintain the cultural standards that had become heavily associated with the lawn due to grass seed shortages in Europe, America's main supplier. Still, seed distributors such as
Scotts Miracle-Gro Company The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is an American multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporation, corporate organization that owns and controls the production of goods or services in at least one country other than its home ...
in the United States encouraged families to continue to maintain their lawns, promoting it as a stress-relieving hobby. During the war itself, homeowners were asked to maintain the appearances of the home front, likely as a show of strength, morale, and solidarity. After World War II, the lawn aesthetic once again became a standard feature of North America, bouncing back from its minor decline in the decades before with a vengeance, particularly as a result of the housing and population boom post-war. The
VA loan A VA loan is a mortgage loan in the United States guaranteed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The program is for United States, American Veteran, veterans, military members currently serving in the U.S. military, reservists ...
in the United States let American ex-servicemen buy homes without providing a down payment, while the
Federal Housing Administration The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is a United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It con ...
offered lender inducements that aided the reduction of down payments for the average American from 30% to as little as 10%. These developments made owning your own home cheaper than renting, further enabling the spread of suburbia and its lawns.
Levittown Aerial view of Levittown, Pennsylvania circa 1959 Levittown is the name of seven large suburb The Swedish suburbs of Husby/Kista/Akalla are built according to the typical city planning of the Million Programme. A suburb (or suburban area or ...
, New York was the beginning of the industrial suburb in the 20th Century, and by proxy the industrial lawn. Between 1947 and 1951, Abraham Levitt and his sons built more than seventeen thousand homes, each with its own lawn. Abraham Levitt wrote "No single feature of a suburban residential community contributes as much to the charm and beauty of the individual home and the locality as well-kept lawns". Landscaping was one of the most important factors in Levittown's success - and no feature was more prominent than the lawn. The Levitts understood that landscaping could add to the appeal of their developments and claimed that, "increase in values are most often found in neighborhoods where lawns show as green carpets" and that, over the years, "lawns trees and shrubs become more valuable both esthetically and monetarily". During 1948, the first spring that Levittown had enjoyed, Levitt and Sons fertilized and reseeded all of the lawns free of charge. The economic recession that began in 2008 has resulted in many communities worldwide to dig up their lawns and plant fruit and vegetable gardens. This has the potential to greatly change cultural values attached to the lawn, as they are increasingly viewed as environmentally and economically unviable in the modern context.


Australia

The appearance of the lawn in
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
followed closely after its establishment in North America and parts of Europe. Lawn was established on the so-called "nature strip" (a uniquely Australian term) by the 1920s and was common throughout the developing suburbs of Australia. By the 1950s, the Australian-designed Victa lawn mower was being used by the many people who had turned pastures into lawn and was also being exported to dozens of countries. Prior to the 1970s, all brush and native species were stripped from a development site and replaced with lawns that utilized imported plant species. Since the 1970s there has been an interest in using indigenous species for lawns, especially considering their lower water requirements. Lawns are also established in garden areas as well as used for the surface of sporting fields. Over time, with consideration to the frequency of droughts in Australia, the movement towards "naturalism", or the use of indigenous plant species in yards, was beneficial. These grasses were more drought resistant than their European counterparts, and many who wished to keep their lawns switched to these alternatives or allowed their green carpets to revert to the indigenous scrub in an effort to reduce the strain on water supplies. However, lawns remain a popular surface and their practical and aesthetically pleasing appearance reduces the use of water-impervious surfaces such as concrete. The growing use of has improved the ability to maintain them. Following recent droughts, Australia has seen a change to predominately warm-season turfgrasses, particularly in the southern states like New South Wales and Victoria which are predominately temperate climates within urban regions. The more drought tolerant grasses have been chosen by councils and homeowners for the choice of using less water compared to cool-season turfgrasses like fescue and ryegrass. Mild dormancy seems to be of little concern when high-profile areas can be oversown for short periods or nowadays, turf colourants (fake green) are extremely popular.


Uses

Lawns are a common feature of private
garden A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the cultivation, display, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature. The single feature identifying even the wildest wild garden A wildlife garden (or wild garden) is an Bioph ...

garden
s, public landscapes and
park A park is an area of natural, semi-natural or planted space set aside for human enjoyment and recreation Recreation is an activity of leisure Leisure has often been defined as a quality of experience or as free time. Free time is ...

park
s in many parts of the world. They are created for aesthetic pleasure, as well as for sports or other outdoor recreational use. Lawns are useful as a playing surface both because they mitigate erosion and dust generated by intensive foot traffic and because they provide a cushion for players in sports such as
rugby Rugby may refer to: Sports Rugby codes * Rugby football in various forms: ** Rugby league: 13 players per side *** Masters Rugby League *** Mod league *** Rugby league nines *** Rugby league sevens *** Touch (sport) *** Wheelchair rugby league ** ...
,
football Football is a family of s that involve, to varying degrees, a to score a . Unqualified, normally means the form of football that is the most popular where the word is used. Sports commonly called ''football'' include (known as ''soccer'' ...

football
,
soccer Association football, more commonly known as simply football or soccer, is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain ...

soccer
,
cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two Bail (cricket), bai ...

cricket
,
baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball gameBat-and-ball may refer to: *Bat-and-ball games Bat-and-ball games (or safe haven games) are field games played by two opposing teams, in which the action starts when the defending team throws a ball at ...

baseball
,
golf Golf is a club-and-ball sport Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" ...

golf
,
tennis Tennis is a racket sport that can be played individually against a single opponent (Types of tennis match#Singles, singles) or between two teams of two players each (Types of tennis match#Doubles, doubles). Each player uses a tennis racket th ...

tennis
,
field hockey Field hockey is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoym ...

field hockey
, and lawn
bocce (, or , ), sometimes anglicized as bocce ball, bocci or boccie, is a Ball sports, ball sport belonging to the boules family, closely related to British bowls and French , with a common ancestry from ancient games played in the Roman Empire. ...

bocce
. Lawns and the resulting lawn clipping waste can be used as an ingredient in making compost and is also viewed as
fodder Fodder (), also called provender (), is any agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise ...

fodder
, used in the production of lawn clipping
silage Silage () is a type of fodder Fodder (), also called provender (), is any agricultural Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary ...
which is fed to livestock as a sustainable feed source.


Types of lawn plants

Lawns need not be, and have not always been, made up of
grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain ...

grass
es alone. Other plants for lawn-like usable garden areas are
sedges The Cyperaceae are a family of graminoid In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in t ...
, low
herb In general use, herbs are a widely distributed and widespread group of plants, excluding vegetables Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans or other animals as food. The original meaning is still commonly used and is app ...

herb
s and
wildflower A wildflower (or wild flower) is a flower A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom Image:Cerisier du Japon Prunus serrulata.jpg, Cherry blossoms in Paris in full bloom. In botany, blossoms are the flowers of stone fruit fruit tree, ...

wildflower
s, and
ground cover 250px, Groundcover of ''Vinca major'' Groundcover or ground cover is any plant that grows over an area of ground. Groundcover provides soil protection, protection of the topsoil from erosion and drought. In an ecosystem, the ground cover forms th ...

ground cover
s that can be walked upon. Thousands of varieties of grasses and grasslike plants are used for lawns, each adapted to specific conditions of precipitation and irrigation, seasonal temperatures, and sun/shade tolerances. Plant hybridizers and botanists are constantly creating and finding improved varieties of the basic species and new ones, often more economical and environmentally sustainable by needing less water, fertilizer, pest and disease treatments, and maintenance. The three basic categories are cool season grasses, warm season grasses, and grass alternatives.


Grasses

Many different species of grass are currently used, depending on the intended use and the climate. Coarse grasses are used where active sports are played, and finer grasses are used for ornamental lawns for their visual effects. Some grasses are adapted to
oceanic climate An oceanic climate, also known as a maritime climate or marine climate, is the Köppen classification of climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the deg ...
s with cooler summers, and others to
tropical The tropics are the region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% ...

tropical
and
continental climate Continental climates often have a significant annual variation in temperature (hot summers and cold winters). They tend to occur in the middle latitudes (40 to 55 north), within large landmasses where prevailing winds blow overland, and temperat ...
s with hotter summers. Often, a mixture of grass or low plant types is used to form a stronger lawn when one type does better in the warmer seasons and the other in the colder ones. This mixing is taken further by a form of grass breeding which produces what are known as cultivars. A cultivar is a cross-breed of two different varieties of grass and aims to combine certain traits taken from each individual breed. This creates a new strain which can be very specialised, suited to a particular environment, such as low water, low light or low nutrient.


Cool season grasses

Cool season grasses start growth at , and grow at their fastest rate when temperatures are between and , in climates that have relatively mild/cool summers, with two periods of rapid growth in the spring and autumn.Huxley, A., ed. (1992). Lawns. In ''New RHS Dictionary of Gardening'' 3: 26-33. Macmillan. They retain their color well in extreme cold and typically grow very dense, carpetlike lawns with relatively little thatch. *Bluegrass (''
Poa ''Poa'' is a of about 500 of es, native to the temperate regions of both hemispheres. Common names include meadow-grass (mainly in Europe and Asia), bluegrass (mainly in North America), tussock (some species), and speargrass. ''Poa'' () is ...

Poa
'' spp.) *Bentgrass (''
Agrostis ''Agrostis'' (bent or bentgrass) is a large and very nearly cosmopolitan Cosmopolitan may refer to: Food and drink * Cosmopolitan (cocktail), also known as a "Cosmo" History * Rootless cosmopolitan, a Soviet derogatory epithet during Joseph ...
'' spp.) *Ryegrasses (''
Lolium ''Lolium'' is a genus of tufted grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family of monocotyledonous flowering plants known as grasses. It includes the cereal grasses, bamboo Bamboos are a diverse group of ev ...
'' spp.) *Fescues (''
Festuca ''Festuca'' (fescue) is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the grass family (biology), family Poaceae (subfamily Pooideae). They are evergreen or herbaceous plant, herbaceous perennial plant, perennial tufted grasses with a height range of ...

Festuca
'' spp.) *Feather reed grass (''
Calamagrostis ''Calamagrostis'' (reed grass or smallweed) is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classificatio ...
'' spp.) *Tufted hair grass (''
Deschampsia ''Deschampsia'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer t ...
'' spp.)


Warm season grasses

Warm season grasses only start growth at temperatures above , and grow fastest when temperatures are between and , with one long growth period over the spring and summer (Huxley 1992). They often go dormant in cooler months, turning shades of tan or brown. Many warm season grasses are quite drought tolerant, and can handle very high summer temperatures, although temperatures below can kill most southern ecotype warm season grasses. The northern varieties, such as buffalograss and blue grama, are hardy to . *Zoysiagrass (''
Zoysia ''Zoysia'' (;"Zoysia."
entry at CollinsDictionary.com. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
, -, ...
'' spp.) *Bermudagrass (''
Cynodon ''Cynodon'' is a genus of plants in the grass family Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recogniz ...
'' spp.) * St. Augustine grass (''Stenotaphrum secundatum'') *Bahiagrass (''
Paspalum Image:Starr 050223-4291 Paspalum vaginatum.jpg, Water finger-grass, ''Paspalum vaginatum'' ''Paspalum'' is a genus of plants in the Poaceae, grass family. The group is widespread across much of Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas. Commonly ...
'' spp.) *Centipedegrass ('' Eremochloa ophiuroides'') *Carpet grass ('' Axonopus'' spp.) * Buffalograss (''Bouteloua dactyloides'') *Grama grass (''
Bouteloua ''Bouteloua'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to ...
'' spp.) *Kikuyu grass (''
Pennisetum clandestinum The tropical Poaceae, grass species ''Pennisetum clandestinum'' is known by several common names, most often kikuyu grass, as it is native to the highland regions of East Africa that is home to the Kikuyu people. Because of its rapid growth and ...
'')


Grass alternatives

''
Carex ''Carex'' is a vast genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circu ...

Carex
'' species and cultivars are well represented in the
horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists are agriculturists who grow flowers, fruits and nuts, vegetables and herbs, as well as or ...
industry as 'sedge' alternatives for 'grass' in mowed lawns and garden meadows. Both low-growing and spreading
ornamentalOrnamental may refer to: * Ornamental grass, a type of grass grown as a decoration * Ornamental iron, mild steel that has been formed into decorative shapes, similar to wrought iron work *Ornamental plant, a plant that is grown for its ornamental qu ...

ornamental
cultivar A cultivar is a type of plant that people have bred for desired traits, which are reproduced in each new generation by a method such as grafting, tissue culture or carefully controlled seed production. Most cultivars arise from purposeful human ...
s and
native species In biogeography Biogeography is the study of the distribution of species and ecosystems in geography, geographic space and through evolutionary history of life, geological time. Organisms and biological communities often vary in a regular fas ...

native species
are used in for
sustainable landscaping Sustainable landscaping is a modern type of gardening or landscaping that takes the environmental issue of sustainability into account. According to Loehrlein in 2009 this includes design, construction and management of residential and commercial g ...
as low-maintenance and
grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain ...
replacements for lawns and garden
meadow A meadow (, ; ) is an open habitat Ibex in an alpine habitat In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including h ...

meadow
s.
wildland Wilderness or wildlands (usually in the plural), are natural environments on Earth that have not been significantly modified by human activity or any nonurbanized land not under extensive agricultural cultivation. The term has traditionally re ...

wildland
habitat In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers at the ...

habitat
restoration Restoration is the act of restoring something to its original state and may refer to: * Conservation and restoration of cultural heritage * Restoration style Film and television * ''The Restoration'' (1909 film), a film by D.W. Griffith starr ...
projects and natural landscaping and gardens use them also for 'user-friendly' areas. The J. Paul Getty Museum has used '''' (meadow sedge) and ''Carex praegracilis'' (dune sedge) expansively in the Sculpture Gardens in Los Angeles.Bornstein, Carol, Fross, David, and O'Brien, Bart; 'California Native Plants for the Garden;' Cachuma Press, Los Olivos, CA; 2005; , 0-9628505-9-4. pp. 74-5. :Some lower
sedges The Cyperaceae are a family of graminoid In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in t ...
used are: *''Carex caryophyllea'' (cultivar 'The Beatles') *''C. divulsa'' (Berkeley sedge) *''Carex flacca, C. glauca'' (blue sedge) (syn. ''C. flacca'') *''Carex pansa, C. pansa'' (meadow sedge) *''Carex praegracilis, C. praegracilis'' (dune sedge) *''C. subfusca'' (mountain sedge) *''C. tumulicola'' (foothill sedge) (cultivar 'Santa Cruz Mnts. selection') *''C. uncifolia'' (ruby sedge)


Ground cover alternatives

Some lawns are replaced with low
ground cover 250px, Groundcover of ''Vinca major'' Groundcover or ground cover is any plant that grows over an area of ground. Groundcover provides soil protection, protection of the topsoil from erosion and drought. In an ecosystem, the ground cover forms th ...

ground cover
s, such as Thymus serpyllum, creeping thyme, camomile, Lippia graveolens, ''Lippia'', Mazus reptans, purple flowering ''Mazus'', Dymondia, grey ''Dymondia'', creeping sedums, and creeping jenny. An example of this is the floral lawn in Avondale Park. Other alternatives to lawns include
meadow A meadow (, ; ) is an open habitat Ibex in an alpine habitat In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including h ...

meadow
s, drought-tolerant xeriscape gardens, Natural landscaping, natural landscapes, native plant habitat gardens, paved Spanish garden, Spanish courtyard and patio gardens, butterfly gardens, rain gardens, tapestry lawn and kitchen gardens. Trees and shrubs in close proximity to lawns provide habitat for birds in History of gardening, traditional, cottage garden, cottage and wildlife gardens.


Lawn care and maintenance

Seasonal lawn establishment and care varies depending on the climate zone and type of lawn grown.


Planting and seeding

Early autumn, spring, and early summer are the primary seasons to seed, lay sod (turf), plant 'liners', or 'sprig' new lawns, when the soil is warmer and air cooler. Seeding is the least expensive, but may take longer for the lawn to be established. Lawn aerator, Aerating just before planting/seeding may promote deeper root growth and thicker turf. Sodding (American English), or turfing (British English), provides an almost instant lawn, and can be undertaken in most temperate climates in any season, but is more expensive and more vulnerable to drought until established. Hydroseeding is a quick, less expensive method of planting large, sloped or hillside landscapes. Some grasses and sedges are available and planted from 'liner' and containers, from 'flats', 'plugs' or 'sprigs', and are planted apart to grow together.


Fertilizers and chemicals

Various organic and inorganic or synthetic fertilizers are available, with instant or time-release applications. Pesticides, which includes biological and chemical herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, treating diseases like gray leaf spot, are available. Consideration for their effects on the lawn and garden ecosystem and via runoff and dispersion on the surrounding environment, can constrain their use. For example, the Canadian province of Quebec and over 130 town, municipalities prohibit the use of synthetic lawn pesticides. The Ontario provincial government promised on 24–2 September 2007 to also implement a province-wide ban on the cosmetic use of lawn pesticides, for protecting the public. Medical and environmental groups support such a ban. On 22 April 2008, the Provincial Government of Ontario announced that it will pass legislation that will prohibit, province-wide, the cosmetic use and sale of lawn and garden pesticides. The Ontario legislation would also echo Massachusetts law requiring pesticide manufacturers to reduce the toxins they use in production. Sustainable gardening uses organic horticulture methods, such as organic fertilizers, biological pest control, beneficial insects, and companion planting, among other methods, to sustain an attractive lawn in a safe garden. An example of an organic herbicide is corn gluten meal, which releases an 'organic dipeptide' into the soil to inhibit root formation of germinating weed seeds. An example of an organic alternative to insecticide use is applying beneficial nematodes to combat soil-dwelling Larva, grubs, such as the larvae of Scarabaeidae, chafer beetles. The Integrated Pest Management approach is a coordinated low impact approach.


Mowing and other maintenance practices

Maintaining a rough lawn requires only occasional cutting with a suitable machine, or grazing by animals. Maintaining a smooth and closely cut lawn, be it for aesthetic or practical reasons or because social pressure from neighbors and local municipal ordinances requires it, necessitates more organized and regular treatments. Usually once a week is adequate for maintaining a lawn in most climates. However, in the hot and rainy seasons of regions contained in hardiness zones greater than 8, lawns may need to be maintained up to two times a week.


Social impacts

The prevalence of the lawns in films such as Pleasantville (film), ''Pleasantville'' (1998) and ''Edward Scissorhands'' (1990) alludes to the importance of the lawn as a social mechanism that gives great importance to visual representation of the American suburb as well as its practised culture. It is implied that a neighbor whose lawn is not in pristine condition is morally corrupt, emphasizing the role a well-kept lawn plays in neighborly and community relationships. In both of these films, green space surrounding a house in the suburbs becomes an indicator of morality, moral integrity as well as of social norm, social and gender norms - lawn care has long been associated with men. These lawns also reinforce social class, class and societal norms by subtly excluding those who may not have been able to afford a house with a lawn. The lawn as a reflection of someone's character and the neighborhood at large is not restricted to films; the same theme appears in ''The Great Gatsby'' (1925), by American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. Character Nick Carraway rents the house next to Gatsby's and fails to maintain his lawn according to West Egg standards. The rift between the two lawns troubles Gatsby to the point that he dispatches his gardener to mow Nick's grass and thereby establish uniformity. Most lawn-care equipment over the decades has been advertised to men, and companies have long associated good lawn-care with good citizenship in their marketing campaigns. As well, the appearance of a healthy lawn was meant to imply the health of the man taking care of it; controlled weeds and strict boundaries became a practical application of the desire to control nature, as well as an expression of control over personal lives once working full-time became central to suburban success. Women were enculturation, encultured over time to view the lawn as part of the household, as an essential furnishing, and to encourage their husbands to maintain a lawn for the family and community reputation. During
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
(1939-1945), women became the focus of lawn-care companies in the absence of their husbands and sons. The lawn was promoted as a necessary means by which women could help support their male family-members and American patriotism as a whole. The image of the lawn changed from focusing on technology and manhood to emphasizing aesthetic pleasure and the health benefits derived from its maintenance; it was assumed that women would not respond positively to images of efficiency and power. The language of these marketing campaigns still intended to imbue the female population with notions of family, motherhood, and the duties of a wife; it has been argued that this was done so that it would be easier for men returning from war to resume the roles which their wives had taken over in their absence. This was especially apparent in the 1950s and 1960s, when lawn-care rhetoric emphasized the lawn as a husband's responsibility and as a pleasurable hobby when he retired. The lawn aesthetic in Europe and Australia seems to exhibit the same cultural tendencies - as a representation of order, power over nature, patriotism, and suburban family life while still adhering to other gender constructs present throughout the world's suburbs. However, there are differences in the particulars of lawn maintenance and appearance, such as the length of the grass, species (and therefore its color), and mowing.


Environmental concerns

Greater amounts of chemical fertilizer and pesticides are used per surface area of lawn than on an equivalent surface of cultivated farmland, and the continued use of these products has been associated with environmental pollution, disturbance in the lawn ecosystem, and increased health risks to the local human and wildlife population. Alumai, Alfred. "Urban Lawn Management: Addressing the Entomological, Agronomic, Economic, and Social Drivers." PhD., Ohio State University, 2008. It has also been estimated that more herbicides are applied per surface of lawn than are used by most farmers to grow crops. Steinberg, T. (2006). ''American Green, The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Lawn.'' W.W. Norton & Co. In response to environmental concerns, organic landscaping and
organic lawn managementOrganic lawn management is the practice of establishing and caring for an athletic Pitch (sports field), turf field or garden lawn and landscape using organic horticulture, without the use of manufactured inputs such as synthetic pesticides or artifi ...
systems have been developed and are Organic lawn management#Locations with organic lawns, mandated in some municipalities and properties. Other concerns, criticisms, and ordinances regarding lawns arise from wider environmental consequences: * Lawns can reduce biodiversity, especially when the lawn covers a large area. Lawns promote homogenization and are normally cleared of unwanted plant and animal species, typically with synthetic
pesticide Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests Pest or The Pest may refer to: Science and medicine * Pest (organism), an animal or plant detrimental to humans or human concerns ** Weed, a plant considered undesirable * Infectious d ...
s, which can also kill unintended target species. They may be composed of introduced species not native to the area, particularly in the United States. This can produce a habitat that supports a reduced number of wildlife species. * Lawn maintenance commonly involves use of fertilizers and synthetic
pesticide Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests Pest or The Pest may refer to: Science and medicine * Pest (organism), an animal or plant detrimental to humans or human concerns ** Weed, a plant considered undesirable * Infectious d ...
s, which can cause great harm. Some are carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. They may permanently linger in the environment and negatively affect the health of potentially all nearby organisms. The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that nearly of active pesticide ingredients are used on suburban lawns each year in the United States. There are indications of an emerging regulatory response to this issue. For example, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Kuwait, and Belize have placed restrictions on the use of the herbicide 2,4-D. *It has been estimated that nearly of gasoline are spilled each summer while re-fueling garden and lawn-care equipment in the United States: approximately 50% more than that spilled during the Exxon Valdez incident. *The use of pesticides and fertilizers, requiring fossil fuels for manufacturing, distribution, and application, has been shown to contribute to global warming. (Sustainable organic techniques have been shown to help reduce global warming.) A hectare of lawn in Nashville, Tennessee, produces greenhouse gases equivalent to 697 to 2,443 kg of carbon dioxide a year. The higher figure is equivalent to a flight more than halfway around the world. Lawn mowing is one element of lawn culture that causes a great amount of emissions.


Water conservation

Maintaining a green lawn sometimes requires large amounts of water. While natural rainfall is usually sufficient to maintain a lawn's health in the temperate British Isles- the birthplace of the concept of the lawn- in times of drought hosepipe bans may be implemented by the water suppliers. Conversely, exportation of the lawn ideal to more arid regions (e.g. U.S. Southwest and Australia) strains water supply systems when water supplies are already scarce. This necessitates upgrades to larger, more environmentally invasive equipment to deal with increased demand due to lawn watering. Grass typically goes dormant during periods of cold or heat outside of its preferred temperature ranges; dormancy reduces the grasses' water demand. Most grasses typically recover quite well from a drought, but many property owners become concerned about the brown appearance and increase watering during the summer months. ''Water in Australia'' observed 1995 data that up to 90% of the water used in Canberra during summer droughts in Australia, drought periods was used for watering lawns. In the United States, 50 to 70% of residential water is used for landscaping, with most used to water lawns. A 2005 NASA study estimated conservatively of irrigated lawn in the US, three times the area of irrigated corn. That translates to about of drinking-quality fresh water per person per day is required to keep up United States' lawn surface area.


Chemicals

An increased concern from the general public over pesticide and fertilizer use and their associated health risks, combined with the implementation of the legislation, such as the US Food Quality Protection Act, has resulted in the reduced presence of synthetic chemicals, namely pesticides, in urban landscapes such as lawns in the late 20th century. Many of these concerns over the safety and environmental impact of some of the synthetic fertilizers and pesticides has led to their ban by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and many local governments. The use of pesticides and other chemicals to care for lawns has also led to the death of nearly 7 million birds each year, a topic that was central to the novel ''Silent Spring'' by the conservationist Rachel Carson. The use of lawn chemicals made its first appearance in the 18th century through the introduction of “English garden” fads. These types of lawns put precise hedging, clean cut grass, and extravagant plants on display. Following the initial introduction of lawn chemicals, they have still been continually used throughout North America. Because many of the turf-grass species in North America are not native to our ecosystems, they require extensive maintenance. According to the United States Geological Survey, 99% of the urban water samples that were tested contained one or more types of pesticides. In addition to water contamination, chemicals are making their way into houses which can lead to chronic exposure. Currently, standards for pesticide management practices have been put in place through the Food Quality Protection Act.


Decreasing environmental impact

In the United States, lawn heights are generally maintained by gasoline-powered
lawnmower A lawn mower (also known as a mower, grass cutter or lawnmower) is a machine utilizing one or more revolving blades to cut a lawn, grass surface to an even height. The height of the cut grass may be fixed by the design of the mower, but general ...

lawnmower
s, which contribute to urban smog during the summer months. The EPA found, in some urban areas, up to 5% of smog was due to small gasoline engines made before 1997, such as are typically used on lawnmowers. Since 1997, the EPA has mandated emissions controls on newer engines in an effort to reduce smog. A 2010 study seemed to show lawn care inputs were balanced by the carbon sequestration benefits of lawns, and they may not be contributors to anthropogenic global warming. Lawns with high maintenance (mowing, irrigation, and leaf blowing) and high fertilization rates have a net emission of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide that have large global warming potential. Replacing turf grass with low-maintenance groundcovers or employing a variety of low-maintenance perennials, trees and shrubs can be a good alternative to traditional lawn spaces, especially in hard-to-grow or hard-to-mow areas, as it can reduce maintenance requirements, associated pollution and offers higher aesthetic and wildlife value.


See also

*Bacterial lawn *Moss lawn *Organic lawn management *Gardening *List of organic gardening and farming topics


References


Further reading

*Bormann, F. Herbert, et al. (1993) ''Redesigning the American Lawn''. *Huxley, A., ed. (1992). ''New RHS Dictionary of Gardening''. Lawns: Ch. 3: pp. 26–33. Macmillan. . *Jenkins, V. S. (1994). ''The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession''. Smithsonian Books. . *Steinberg, T. (2006). ''American Green, The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Lawn''. W.W. Norton & Co. . *Wasowski, Sally and Andy (2004). ''Requiem for a Lawnmower''.


External links


"Planting and care of Lawns"
from th
UNT Govt. Documents Dept.





"EPA Management of Polluted Runoff: Nonpoint Source Pollution"
(''includes mismanagement of lawns problems.'') {{Authority control Lawns, Garden features Grasslands Groundcovers Human activities with impact on the environment Hydrology and urban planning