So now that you know where I am coming from on lawns, and why we have them at all in the first place, let’s take a little bit to explore the pros and cons a bit.
We already talked about how some people will view a well-maintained lawn as a status symbol. If you are still here after everything I have said in the past though, you probably aren’t interested in a monoculture desert of grass. There is a place for lawns. Those with children, pets or both will know how much value there is to having open spaces for them to run and play. Backyard BBQ days are a whole lot more active when there is more than just a patio or deck to use. They also tend to have the benefit of normality.
By normality, I mean that HOAs and local governments tend to see lawns as correct and everything else as an overgrown weed patch. Some communities have bans on gardens in the front yard and others have rules that say you must have a lawn maintained at a set height. While I would personally never choose to buy a home in such a location, not everyone does their research in advance.
So what are the down sides to the traditional lawn. First and foremost is the need for maintenance. Watering and mowing endlessly are universal to the average lawn. Gas used, emissions, loss of lawn in a drought, etc. Let’s also not forget repairs and upkeep on your mower. If you are trying for a monoculture of grass, you’ll have to dump a ton of poisons and fertilizers onto your lawn as well. This is a lot of unhealthy things and usually costs more than you would like to spend.
You’ll spend hours out of each week working on it and for some that work can be extremely taxing. Most of us with day jobs find we don’t get a choice on the day or time we do our mowing. Instead we must do what we can where time allows. That means if you happen to have one day off all week and are only free around noon thanks to all of the errands on your docket, tough luck. Go mow that lawn at the hottest point of the day when the fuel efficiency is at its worst.
I’ve talked briefly before about lawn alternatives. I even reviewed a company earlier this year who have several blends of specialized no-mow and low-mow lawns. Whether you decide to get rid of the lawn entirely or want to hold on to the tradition with a new twist, I’ll be offering some ideas next week on how you can have an alternative to the standard cycle of endless mowing and resource bleed.