Give up the grass. Your lawn is stupid.

I have a secret pet peeve that I must keep to myself in my little suburban corner of America.

But I can shout it all over the blogosphere!

I think lawns are:

A. Stupid

B. A waste of time, money, and water

C. Bad for your yard

D. Boring

E. Stupid

OK, now that I’ve gotten the really scholarly important part of my argument out of the way…

Lawns are a new invention, born out of the rising middle class in the last couple hundred years. While music, art and literature had a romantic period, producing such dreamy epics as Clair de Lune and Ivanhoe, landscape had a romantic growth spurt of its own. For those who could afford it, of course. Public parks and private estates were redesigned with rolling grassy knolls and the occasional accent of a fake ruin (I’m serious).


We all know our history – the industrial era opened the way for a middle class to emerge in the Western world (not to be confused with Westworld). Of course the aspirations of any respectable middle-class bloke is to be as much like the upper class as possible, so, as this middle class grew in England they began tending their own wee little front gardens. No room for rolling knolls, but enough room for grass.

And, like any good Americans, the American middle-class copied them. Except, in North America we have a lot more elbow room and…the lawns kept getting bigger.

Now we have epically large swaths of ultra-green practically (and sometimes literally) mandated for the free-standing suburban home. Because we ultimately want to be plummy English aristocrats.

Meanwhile, our empty lawns drink inordinate amounts of water and give nothing back. Nothing except erosion and depletion of soil nutrients, of course. We spend big bucks on watering, seeding, sod, maintaining, fertilizing, and mowing. And then our lawns are brown for half the year. It’s ridiculous. You know what you could do? Plant clover and forget about it. Spend the same amount of time and money on a GARDEN that is pretty and functional and you can EAT it.

Or buy some goats if you really have to have that perfect velvety carpet. Just do SOMETHING. Your lawn is stupid.

Sorry. I can’t stand by and watch injustice continue without saying something. If I don’t speak up, who will?




4 thoughts on “Give up the grass. Your lawn is stupid.

  1. The only grass in a landscape should be a species that grows there naturally. If no grass grows naturally in your area, don’t grow fucking grass! This professional gardener/landscaper has been shouting this from backyards for twenty years.

    The last remaining excuse for lawns–“But the kids need something to play on!”–died with the invention of video games and helicopter parents who won’t let them outdoors for longer than ten minutes, anyway: “But what if fresh air has gluten in it?”

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