Toxic Lawns

After reading Alex Steffen's book Worldchanging recently one of the articles really stood out. The concept of the lawn as a toxic, alien landscape. His words are incredibly poetic and really drive the theory home. Why has such an unnatural crop become so ingrained within our garden culture?

Like big green sponges, our lawns suck up water, fertilizer, pesticides, and money, and if we leave them alone for too long, they start to look sad until we give them some more. According to NASA’s Ames Research Center, lawns are the largest irrigated crop in the United States.

The typical lawn has almost nothing to do with nature. A dense carpet of overbred alien grasses, usually coated with toxins it keeps competitor plants (like villainious dandelions) withering before they sprout. Almost nothing “natural“ can survive there. The average lawn makes an overgrown abandoned lot look like a rainforest.

Steffen (2011)


References:
alex steffen (ed.) (2011) worldchanging, revised and updated: a user’s guide for the 21st century. new york: abrams