Everyone wants a yard they can be proud of. For decades, this has meant a square of mown grass, a white picket fence, and maybe a few flowers and trees. However, as we become more aware of the environmental impact of our lawn choices, more and more people are rethinking the traditional front yard.
For starters, traditional lawn styles create a lot of problems, particularly in non-traditional environments. It needs regular maintenance to keep the grass from getting too long. In dry climates, a lawn needs to be watered, and in less dry climates, you may need both terrestrial and aquatic weed control. This is, at best, backbreaking work that requires expensive equipment, and at worst, chemical and deeply damaging.
The easiest and most readily available solutions are often, unfortunately, the most problematic. Constantly watering and mowing a lawn wastes more than your time. It wastes water as well as wasting gas or electricity if you have a powered lawnmower. Weed management by hand is a backache-inducing task when done by hand and weedkillers rarely kill only weeds and nothing else. If you find that the cost of your lawn, both personally and environmentally, outweighs the benefits, it may be time to consider alternative solutions.
It’s important to look beyond simple solutions for more environmentally friendly options. Make sure that the grass in your lawn isn’t overly thirsty for your area, or invasively pushing out native plants. Not all lawnmowers are gas guzzlers, and not all grasses need to be mown so often. There are weed control options that aren’t as toxic, but these solutions are often imperfect or expensive.
Green and eco-friendly alternatives can sometimes be more expensive or less effective than their chemical and wasteful counterparts, but you can’t spend money fixing a problem you never had in the first place. Consider the natural environment. If you live in a desert area, why not consider xeriscaped alternatives to a traditional lawn? If you live in an area that was woodland prior to human development, consider planting some trees and other native plants.
It may not look like the lawns you saw on TV as a child, but you might find that you like it better in the end. A really well-designed lawn needs less maintenance, and therefore tends to look better and neater than an aesthetically appealing lawn that isn’t in tune with the local environmental parameters.