Why lawns?

Having a well-maintained lawn is a. Grass is, and has always been, a status symbol.

Why lawns?

Having a well-maintained lawn is a. Grass is, and has always been, a status symbol. The grass has its roots in 16th century English farms, where wealthy landowners planted grass for their livestock to graze and where sports could be played on grass. These lawns, and subsequent iterations, such as the mathematically arranged gardens of Versailles and other elite estates, required a meticulous manual scythe by hired servants to keep the lawn at an attractive and desirable length.

The few who could afford such a massive deployment of labor were proud of their gardens, which, until the 19th century, were only affordable to them. It turns out that grass as a status symbol has its origin in the European aristocracy. The first gardens were grassy fields that surrounded English and French castles. The castle grounds needed to be kept away from trees so that the soldiers who protected them had a clear view of their environment.

It wouldn't help if enemies could stealthily approach the castle through the forest. Grasses provide habitats for some species and support soil organisms. They perspire and evaporate water to create cooler microclimates, essential for mitigating the heat in our cities. Soil under lawns is also responsible for the drainage of rainwater in cities, and only 5 to 15% of rainwater becomes surface runoff, compared to 60% in urban areas, mostly without grass.

Learn more about why environmental groups want gardeners to leave lawns uncut. Heavily cut lawns first appeared in 17th century England in the homes of large and wealthy landowners. While sheep continued to graze in many of these parks, landowners were increasingly dependent on human labor to care for the pasture closest to their homes. Before lawnmowers, only the wealthy could afford to hire the many hands needed to cut and remove weeds from lawns, making grass a mark of wealth and status.

Between 1910 and 1924, the United States Golf Association (USGA) helped fund and conduct research in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the best ways to cultivate grass. Reportedly, the first experimental grass farm in the United States resided where the Pentagon is located today. Each 18-pound bag covers 2000 square feet and lasts up to 3 months after application.

Grass also provides cooler places for summer recreation than asphalt or concrete surfaces.

Olivia Heininger
Olivia Heininger

Lifelong coffee lover. Evil bacon fan. General analyst. Infuriatingly humble music advocate. Devoted social media geek.

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