Like most Americans, I grew up watching my dad diligently tend to the turf grass lawn: Mow, water, fertilize and repeat. I even had a little plastic toy mower that I would push around the yard, proudly helping my father live the American Dream. I first realized the controversy surrounding the lush, green lawn in 2007 when I read a news story about a 70-year-old woman in Orem, Utah. An enforcement officer issued her a citation for letting her lawn go brown (she couldn't afford to water it). When the woman protested the ticket, the policeman handcuffed her and took her to jail.
Everyone agrees that this woman probably shouldn't have been arrested for this minor offense. But there is more disagreement over the larger question: Should any city be able to force the idea of the traditional lawn upon its residents, especially in a state like Utah, where water is so scarce?
I'll leave the answer to that question up to you. But as this article shows, there are many more ways to landscape a lawn than with the cookie-cutter expanse of grass I idealized as a child.
- 5 Spring Lawn Care Tips
- 5 Ways to Green Your Garden
- 10 Backyard Landscaping Ideas on a Budget
- 10 Cheap Ways to Landscape
- 10 Grasses for Your Yard
- 10 Stones to Use in Your Hardscape
- 10 Things Your Garden Wishes you Knew
- 10 Tips for Taking a Nature Walk in Your Backyard
- 10 Unexpected Garden Decorations
- Top 10 Ways to Make Your New Home Green
- Top 10 Winter Plants
More Great Links
- Baxter, Margaret. "Water-Wise Gardening." 2012. (April 6, 2012) http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/files/Utilities/Water_Conservation/xeriscape.pdf
- Bormann, F. Herbert, Diana Balmori, and Gordon T. Geballe. "Redesigning the American Lawn: A Search for Environmental Harmony." New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2001.
- Brown, Carole Sevilla. "What Can You Do to Replace Your Lawn." Beautiful Wildlife Garden. 2012. (April 6, 2012) http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/what-can-you-do-to-replace-your-lawn.html
- CBS Los Angeles. "Turf War? Glendale Bans Fake Grass." Nov. 17, 2011. (April 6, 2012) http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/11/17/turf-war-glendale-bans-fake-grass/
- Darke, Rick. "The American Woodland Garden." Portland: Timber Press, 2002.
- Dunn, Jancee. "Moss Makes a Lush, No-Care Lawn." The New York Times. May 1, 2008. (April 8, 2012) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/01/garden/01moss.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2
- Environmental Protection Agency. "Water and Energy Efficiency by Sectors: Home." Jan. 25, 2012. (April 8, 2012) http://www.epa.gov/region9/waterinfrastructure/residences.html
- Greenlee, John. "The American Meadow Garden: Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn." Portland, Ore.: Timber Press, 2009.
- Hadden, Evelyn J. "Design a Woodland." Less Lawn. Aug. 14, 2001. (April 8, 2012) http://www.lesslawn.com/articles/article1013.html
- Kolbert, Elizabeth. "Turf War." The New Yorker. July 21, 2008. (April 6, 2012) http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2008/07/21/080721crbo_books_kolbert?currentPage=1
- Kaurik, Robert. "Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally." Santa Rosa, Cal.: Metamorphic Press, 1984.
- Lamb, S. and N. Allen. "Create a Garden Pond for Wildlife." April 2002. (April 6, 2012) http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/pdf/ec/ec1548.pdf
- Meloy, Maile. "Tired of Lawn Care? Fake It." MSN Real Estate. 2010. (April 6, 2012) http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=21208657
- Natural Gardens. "Creating a Wildlife Pond." 2012. (April 6, 2012) http://teesvalleybiodiversity.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/1_natural-gardens_creating-a-wildlife-pond1.pdf
- Oregon Clover Commission. "White Clover." July 2000. (April 6, 2012) http://www.oregonclover.org/downloads/files/whiteclover.pdf
- Pollan, Michael. "Second Nature: A Gardener's Education." New York: Grove Press, 1991.
- Robbins, Paul. "Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are." Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2007.
- Schenk, George. "Moss Gardening: Including Lichens, Liverworts, and Other Miniatures." Portland, Ore.: Timber Press. 1997.
- Tuttle, Brad. "Front Yard Garden Controversy Revelation: Lawns are Useless." Time Moneyland. July 11, 2011. (April 6, 2012) http://moneyland.time.com/2011/07/11/vegetable-garden-controversy-revelation-front-lawns-are-useless/
- United States Department of Agriculture. "Plant Fact Sheet: White Clover." Feb. 5, 2002. (April 6, 2012) http://plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_trre3.pdf