There is a growing recognition, that the expanding suburban landscape is having a negative environmental impact. Suburban development often includes vast energy dependent monocultures (perfect, grass lawns). They consume a significant amount of natural resources, (water to keep them green and gasoline to keep them trimmed), and they reduce the amount of habitat available for native wildlife. Over use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides can leach into water supplies and be harmful to children and pets. Trends toward ecological landscaping and organic lawn care are lessening the detrimental effects of these designs. Many landscape designers are recommending native plant species, and even golf course managers are moving toward organic methods.
In practical terms our goal should be to move away from designs that depend on an extensive use of energy, without asking people to give up their lawns entirely. There are a number of options:
- Buffer zones and open space requirements in subdivisions allow for wildlife corridors and bird habitats.
- Leaving a portion of each lot in a natural state will invite birds and beneficial insects into the yard, while reducing the amount of grass to water and mow.
- The use of native plants in the design will greatly reduce the amount of care needed for the plants to thrive.
We should stop worrying about whether our lawns looks like the eighteenth fairway of the local country club. Many of the “weeds” that appear in our lawns are considered to be medicinal, by herbalists, and others attract beneficial insects.
We should stop over watering our lawns. Don’t worry about your grass dying. Grass will turn green when it rains. Trust me.
If you must have an all grass lawn, there are organic methods that claim to do as well as chemicals will. It’s probably a good idea to test any remedy before applying it to your entire yard. Spot treating problem areas will often be all that is needed. Read the full story