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Poll results: What is your attitude toward lawns?

Voters
68. You may not vote on this poll
  • Lawns are great! – but I prefer to pay someone to do the work.

    3 4.41%
  • I pay for landscaping mainly for the sake of property value, HOA concerns.

    0 0%
  • Lawns are great! – I do all the work myself.

    8 11.76%
  • Lawns are ok – I mow it myself.

    16 23.53%
  • Lawns suck! – But I mow it anyway to avoid the ire of my HOA/neighbors.

    4 5.88%
  • Lawns suck! – I let my lawn go to seed/dry out like the Sahara.

    5 7.35%
  • I keep my yard too full of various plants to have much if any room for grass.

    16 23.53%
  • I live in an apartment/condo – but would do the upkeep if I had a lawn.

    2 2.94%
  • I live in an apartment/condo – glad to not have to worry about a lawn.

    7 10.29%
  • I live in an apartment/condo – think lawns are better suited to public parks.

    7 10.29%
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Thread: What is your attitude toward lawns?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    What is your attitude toward lawns?

    I came across this article on lawns: http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0530/p...l?s=planetizen
    and thought it particularly appropriate for this site. The front lawn as a cultural concept largely rose in tandem with Levittown and post-war suburbia. It has been with us long enough now that few people are alive who can remember a time before lawns were the norm. Lawnmowing has become a fetish of power tool loving suburban males everywhere. It's a source of exercise that many view as symbol of one's personal integrity.

    Do we mow the lawn because the convenants of our Homeowner's Association or Neighborhood Association stipulate that it is required? Do we mow the lawn because we want to keep up with the "Jones's" and to maintain our property values? Of course not - We love our lawns. We love watching the grass grow - almost as much as we love watching TV. And we love getting out there with chemicals and power tools, to keep our plot of grass in the green.

    So Cyburbians, whether you have one or not, what do you thinks of lawns?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    Lawns are great, but they'd be better if I could hire someone else to care for it. My husband and I have spent the past few weekends improving our front lawn and landscaping, and now that I think about it I have no idea why, except that we want the few cars that go past our house (we live on a short cul-de-sac) to admire and assume the inside of our house is as nice at the outside. We spend virtually no time in our front yard, except when we are doing manual labor to improve it.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    I have to admit, that I like working on my lawn. My front looks good, and I brag that I got a type of grass that can look good without much water. I don't go crazy trying to keep it green, or to show off, or to keep up with the neighbors; but I like taking care of it. (Although I admit to feeling "rosy" when a stranger walking down the street said I have a gorgous yard. But she may have been talking about the xeriscape perinnial flower bed in front that adds much color!)

    Now, would I have a lawn if the HOA hadn't required it? Probably not. Not out here on the high semi-arid prarie desert.

    My back yard might get a complete revamp if I stay in my house for a long time. I have thought about either putting a nice deck or xeriscape garden on one side, with a vegetable/fruit/herb garden on the other side. Should save a bit of water, and make for less maintenance and more beer drinking.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I live in an apartment and like not having a lawn to maintain, but I do want a house with the smallest amount of lawn as possible. Bascially, just enough for kids to play on (about 300 sqft max.)

    I think most front lawns are completely useless though.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

    You know...for kids.

  5. #5
    Studying in the United States, Sayyid Qutb became disgusted with the materialistic nature of Americans and their obsession with lawn care as opposed to issues more critical to life. After his return to Egypt he founded radical islamism as a school of thought opposed to it, eventually starting a pan-arabic war that killed millions. Therefore, front lawns are responsible for terrorism and mass murder.

    If you want a more serious analysis though, I would say that there is nothing about enjoying lawns that necessitates front lawns. Front lawns are not public enough to be used as parks and not private enough to be used by the household. They are just dead space and should be recovered for some other purpose.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    we are slowly planting blueberry sod and other indigenous plants and mosses to replace grass - we have so little grass now that hubby uses the unplugged version of a lawn mower many of us remember from our childhood -

    grass as we know it and want it is not really indigenous to this country - the maintenance, the chemicals, the water - if you have to work that hard to keep it green, that should serve as a sign it may not be a good thing - I know this is judgemental, but it's really wasteful

    but hey, I love to golf if I ever had the time and enjoy other lawn sports as well - so, on the other hand, I can completely understand it - it just looks funny in the woodsy exurban/suburban 2 acre lot subdivision I live in
    Kim Wexler: Either you fit the jacket... or the jacket fits you.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    I don't have an opinion about lawns generally but will say that the requirement by an arm of the federal government for soldiers to have lawns in government housing in THE MOJAVE DESERT (which die once or twice a year, no matter what you do) is Evil Incarnate. And if I were to launch a new career as an eco-terrorist, I would target golf courses in Las Vegas and other desert areas. Other than that, no real opinion -- so I didn't bother to vote in the poll.

  8. #8
         
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    you should have made an option for something like "I have a small lawn-which is great, keep greenery, get rid of exuberence"

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Ah, the joys of living in an apartment; No Lawn to Maintain, thank-you.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by burnham follower
    you should have made an option for something like "I have a small lawn-which is great, keep greenery, get rid of exuberence"
    You're right - I should have included a more intermediate position. Thanks for the input.

    I'll refrain from fully voicing my opinions on the subject for now, so as to not discourage participation from any point of view.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    How about "lawns are ok, but its so gal dern dry here that its virtually impossible (or irresponsible) to get one going"?

    Lawns here in Albuquerque largely came with people moving from the east (like myself) and trying to recreate their residential environments in the desert. You can do it, but the amount of water required for the typical tract-home, Kentucky Bluegrass lawn is ludicrous given our drought conditions. As a result, many "lawns" are perpetually brown, or people go the responsible (but more expensive) route and use species of grass and other plants native to the area to create a setting more appropriate to this environment. To many newcomers, it can still look a bit scrappy, but once you have become familiar with the flora here, it can be quite beautiful.

    For lawns, gramma grass and buffalo grass (or a combo of the two) are favorites...

  12. #12
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Being brought up and still living in suburbia- lawn is apprarently important and sacred. I think it is an important play area for kid, pets etc- and have never really questioned the need or want for it.

    But then the other day i read somewhere that cutting lawns, produces a substantial amount of gas emissions- not only from the lawn mower, but the lawn itself. So i am currently questioning the need for lawn, and whether there is a better alternative
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I'd like enough lawn to be able to put out a picnic table and a couple of lawn chairs. The rest can be gardens and native habitat (woodland or prairie).
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  14. #14
    Member crisp444's avatar
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    I like lawns; there is nothing evil about them and it gives one a hobby and a sense of pride (what is wrong with that?) for keeping a good one. Since I live in an apartment I do not have one (well, we have a community lawn and garden) - so I will talk about the lawn/garden in my parents house for which I care when I visit them in Florida. The houses in their neighborhood have very small front yards, and they are usually enclosed (fence/gated/walled) or are left open with small white stones on the ground instead of grass. This is in TOTAL contrast to pictures that I have seen of most typical US suburbs in the Midwest where yards are completely open and you can walk into the neighbor's garden! My whole garden (to the side and back of the house) is fenced/gated, but we have pea-rock in the front of the house on which we park our cars ("the driveway" can fit about three cars parked very closely side-by-side between the street and the house). Inside our enclosed garden (which has about 300 square meters / 3000 square feet), we have clusters of palms, flowers, and other tropical plants and also a fountain. In between all those things, we have grass. I really miss caring for that garden, and always look forward to doing so when I visit!

  15. #15
         
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    Quote Originally posted by crisp444
    I like lawns; there is nothing evil about them and it gives one a hobby and a sense of pride (what is wrong with that?) for keeping a good one. Since I live in an apartment I do not have one (well, we have a community lawn and garden) - so I will talk about the lawn/garden in my parents house for which I care when I visit them in Florida. The houses in their neighborhood have very small front yards, and they are usually enclosed (fence/gated/walled) or are left open with small white stones on the ground instead of grass. This is in TOTAL contrast to pictures that I have seen of most typical US suburbs in the Midwest where yards are completely open and you can walk into the neighbor's garden! My whole garden (to the side and back of the house) is fenced/gated, but we have pea-rock in the front of the house on which we park our cars ("the driveway" can fit about three cars parked very closely side-by-side between the street and the house). Inside our enclosed garden (which has about 300 square meters / 3000 square feet), we have clusters of palms, flowers, and other tropical plants and also a fountain. In between all those things, we have grass. I really miss caring for that garden, and always look forward to doing so when I visit!
    How big is your lot? It sounds like a Suburban/subdevelopement wasteland, no offense. The Garden sounds ok, but still a lot of space

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I have almost 1/2 acre, less a 1200 s.f. house. I hire a lawn service. Don't water, so I don't feel guilty. It's mostly brown now, but it'll come back. It's been a great place for my son and my dog to run and play. Plus, gives me a lot of privacy and peace and quiet. I could never deal with living 10 feet away from other people.

  17. #17
         
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    "Lawn" need not necessarily = "grass", you know. The English would consider clover to be a perfectly nice lawn, as I would. Mine = grass, clover, creeping charley, some sort of ivy, dandelions, buttercups, and at least 20 other green goodies which I can easily cut (no shorter than 6") with my electric lawnmower. It all stays green without watering, the birds love it, and it costs me nothing!

    Trying to keep a monoculture of grass is what gets people in trouble. It isn't natural.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    On sizeable front lawns totally agree with Jaws, stupid waste of space.

    I do have a small lawn at the back of the house which is quite nice to lie on (we get nice, soft grass in the UK) or go barefoot on in the summer. No chemicals and no sprinkling -- that shoudl clearly be illegal, if the weather in your area dow not support a lawn, plant something else.

    I do me own moving, taks all of 5 minutes.

  19. #19
    Member crisp444's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by burnham follower
    How big is your lot? It sounds like a Suburban/subdevelopement wasteland, no offense. The Garden sounds ok, but still a lot of space
    When I say garden, I mean any space in the lot that is not taken up by the house. I use garden and yard interchangeably. My parents' house is 1200 square feet and the rest of the lot is another 3000, so the total lot size is 4200 square feet - much SMALLER than most suburbs in the US... Where they live is far from a traditional suburb either - it is on a small island between Miami and Havana in the Florida Keys where you basically cannot buy anything (decent) with more than 1700 square feet for under $1,000,000. Therefore, the average house size in the neighborhood is about 1000 square feet and the average lot size is maybe 2500-3000. I have seen Midwestern middle class suburbs where lot sizes are easily 10,000 square feet or more, and appear larger because they are not enclosed. Our garden is a lot of space, but we have the largest lot on my entire block. Even then, it is much smaller than the majority of middle ring and outer ring suburban lots (outside of notably dense suburbs like Miami and LA).

  20. #20
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    I'd like enough lawn to be able to put out a picnic table and a couple of lawn chairs. The rest can be gardens and native habitat (woodland or prairie).
    I agree with you. My foremost requirement for a rear yard is space enough to host a small BBQ/party and eat/read outside at a table in privacy.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    You forgot...

    Lawns are great that is what children are for.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian
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    I have no lawn in my front yard, completely xeriscaped, very little maintenance (deadhead some flowers once a month). My backyard has a 45x25 patch of lawn. it is buffalo grass, which uses very little water (SLC receives about 16 inches of water a year, 80% of which falls march through May). I mow it with a non fuel using push mower and leave the clippings on the lawn. It takes me about 10 minutes to mow it. I use an electric trimmer to do the edging. It takes about 5 minutes.

    I do not like front yard lawns. But, most zoning codes require an unnecessary large front setback which leads to large front lawns and is a net drain on resources.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian
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    Lawns are great. They are the place I taught my boys how to play baseball; host bbq's, throw the tennis ball to my dogs.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian njm's avatar
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    Large lawns are, imo, a private park that is too small to do anything useful with; thus it would be more beneficial to the common good if the space were consolidated and opened for public access. Small lawns (5' boulevard strips, 10-20' lot setbacks) are not quite as evil and can help break up the monotony of brown.

    Of course a large portion of the population would cry foul if required to share space (other than a highway lane) with strangers.

  25. #25
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I have a 1500 sq ft two story house on a pretty small lot. The houses are close together but the lot is deeper than it is wide. There is a small bit of lawn in the front but it mostly is landscaped with shrubs and perennials and one tree. The back yard is maybe 20x30 ft. It has grass and two trees. The landscaping maintenence is included in my HOA fees so really there isn't much for me to do and I don't other than just the occasional weeding and checking on the tree health.

    The last house I had did have a little larger yard and I took care of it myself, but it only took me about 15 minutes to mow the grass and I had more trees, shrubs, bushes, perennials, and bulbs planted than grass. It had a pretty decent little veggie garden as well.

    If I ever move again into a new house the property will be xeriscaped and need minimal maintenence and watering.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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