There's just too much lawn-bashing going on nowadays. While I'm among the throngs calling for less lawn
and encouraging homeowners to lighten up, add some clover, and grow it all organically and let it go dormant in the summer, I shop short of painting it as all bad, as though by definition it's a monoculture kept alive by toxic products and mowed with super-polluting gas machines. And it's true that I've recently removed every last blade of turfgrass from my own garden, but I don't want my stories about the transformation to contribute to the demonizing of this garden feature that isn't going anywhere, ya know. So can we NOT just substitute the old conventional wisdom about lawns for a new and politically correct one?
I'll be linking to this article every time I mention removing my lawn so I can stop but-but-butting every time. A standard disclaimer seems in order.
IN DEFENSE OF LAWNS
- They CAN be grown and maintained in a healthy, environmentally friendly way. Just ask the folks at SafeLawns.
- Organically grown and maintained lawns are reasonably low-maintenance. And after all, compared to what? Ground has to be covered with something, and what else ya got?
- They CAN contain a variety of species, even some that provide a little for wildlife in your garden. I'm thinking particularly of clover, which not only is loved by the bees but is self-fertilizing because it "fixes" nitrogen. That link explains how.
- Functionally, they're absolutely essential for a variety of reasons. Where else can your kids play if you don't have a lawn?
- Designwise, they offer a place for the eye to rest, sometimes called a negative space. The borders surrounding lawn can be busy as all get out but the overall effect isn't busy because of that nice calming lawn.
- On my hilly site, lawn has held rainwater like a trooper, though I understand that if it's grown in highly compacted soil it doesn't perform that function as well. But then it's the fault of the soil, isn't it?
So I didn't rip out my lawn because I thought I should, but because I got tired of it and wanted to grow something new. And I always hated lawn care and I'm happy to be free of it, though I'll bet anything my new lawnfree gardens will be more work than the haphazard care I gave the lawn. Results coming soon.