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Poll results: What is your attitude toward lawns?

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  • 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. #26
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    The lawn on my 4800 square foot lot is the perfect size. Manageable, but still offers me a connection with nature that many people look for.

    I do like Jaws' comment about front lawns, in that they are a waste of space. The funny thing is that many people care more for their front lawns because that is the lawn that people see.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  2. #27
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    a natural resources expert once told me that grass lawns are an ecological disaster. it isn't natural. nowhere in nature are their perfectly green grass areas with no weeds, bio-diversity, etc.

    right now i live in an apartment with no lawn but i do dream of owning some property someday. i'd like to think that i would have a "natural area" consisting mostly of indigenous plants, shrubs, and trees. maybe a water feature too.

    or if i really have the time and money i'd be interested in implementing a Xeriscape - a water conservation approach to landscaping.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  3. #28
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    ^-- Arguably nowhere in nature are there fields full of nothing but soy plants or corn.

    OTOH there's probably a more potient mixture of chemicals on the average suburban lawn.

  4. #29
    Cyburbian Salmissra's avatar
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    We're in the process of buying a house. The front lawn is just grass all the way up to the house - no shrubs, plants, anything to break the expanse. I'm looking forward to clearing some landscape areas by the house and possibly along the walkway to liven it up.
    Out back, I'm thinking of a couple of beds for color and variety, and possibly some Xeriscape to see if I like it. The dog has to have grass beneath her feet to pee (she's spoiled) so I have to leave some for her.
    I am looking forward to time in the front yard. I like to play with plants, and making a statement with color and such. It'll be hard work, but I'm ready.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  5. #30
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    ^-- Arguably nowhere in nature are there fields full of nothing but soy plants or corn.

    OTOH there's probably a more potient mixture of chemicals on the average suburban lawn.

    true, then again fields of soy or corn do produce something other than competition among neighbors and tension among HOAs.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  6. #31
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I like lawns a lot. I just need to get my irrigation system working.
    Habitual Offender

  7. #32
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    I voted that lawns suck, but we mow to avoid the ire of the neighbors. One of our neighbors is admittedly obsessive about his lawn, going through a seemingly endless cycle of seeding, watering, and mowing. Most people on my street seem to spend countless hours engaged in this manner, while we garden and bike and hike and do anything BUT take care of our lawn. If it was completely up to me, I'd "keep my yard too full of various plants to have much if any room for grass."

  8. #33
    I worked at a natvie plant nursery for quite a while so my view is along the lines of Luca's. Also, living in Southern California, lawn's are wastefull of precious water and money. I have admired some beautiful lawns around the United States.

  9. #34
    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    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.
    Right On Jaws (it's not often I get to wholehartedly agree with you). Bring Back the front porch and leave the lawns for use in the back yards!

  10. #35
          Downtown's avatar
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    My husband mows our lawn - we have a raised ranch on 1/5 an acre. Every year the ratio of garden to lawn increases in our front yard, but for our 2 big dogs and 3 kids, I don't plan to turn over our back yard to garden for another 15 years or so.

  11. #36
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Downtown
    My husband mows our lawn - we have a raised ranch on 1/5 an acre. Every year the ratio of garden to lawn increases in our front yard, but for our 2 big dogs and 3 kids, I don't plan to turn over our back yard to garden for another 15 years or so.
    I'm trying to do the same thing. We have a very large front lawn due to being a corner lot, but we're trying to get rid of as much turf as possible. I'm hoping that if I do it slowly enough, the HOA won't notice

    I would also like to replace my thirsty St. Augustine grass with some nice Buffalo, as it is native and does well with hardly any watering. After seeing how expensive Buffalo is, though, I don't think I'll be able to do that anytime soon

  12. #37
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol
    a natural resources expert once told me that grass lawns are an ecological disaster. it isn't natural. nowhere in nature are their perfectly green grass areas with no weeds, bio-diversity, etc..
    You should see my lawn. It is the epitome of unplanned biodiversity. I bet I have at least three types of grass, dandelions, assorted weeds I have no idea what they are, deer droppings, apple trees, conifers, and whatnot.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  13. #38

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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    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.

    This would be my ideal. Small, pleasant, enclosed. If it's small enough, I could even justify irrigation. Throw in a dog run and some shrubs with decomposed granite for the dogs to mark, and I'd be happy.

    As it is, I have a riot of pots and planter boxes with flowers along my little driveway off the alley that substitutes for the lawn and gardening.

  14. #39
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Ok this may be a dumb question but im going to ask it anyway- as i think it may give this thread some perspective...

    Why do houses have lawns? I mean from what i can think of they are basically seen in the 'burbs or large estates (that wealthy people own- for lack of a better term). The question i pose is the existance of lawn in the 'burbs, a way of creating a false notion of class?
    and then what would the impacts on this notion if indeed people did not have a lawn in the 'burbs?
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  15. #40
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    I think yopu've got it, Natski. if you look at the early advertisements for suburbs theya re clearly selling (but not too overtly, mind you) the idea that every schmuck and his nukeelar fam'ly can be landed gentry. hence the anglophilia in the subdivision names in the Us and the references to nobility in Uk subdivision names.

    Lots of alwn space and idneed the concpet of teh suburbs in general is a shining example of game-theoretical unachievability of collective optimality through individual seeking of other-cosntraiend optimality.

  16. #41
    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    Lots of alwn space and idneed the concpet of teh suburbs in general is a shining example of game-theoretical unachievability of collective optimality through individual seeking of other-cosntraiend optimality.
    Can you elaborate on that?

  17. #42
         
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    Quote Originally posted by natski
    Ok this may be a dumb question but im going to ask it anyway- as i think it may give this thread some perspective...

    Why do houses have lawns? I mean from what i can think of they are basically seen in the 'burbs or large estates (that wealthy people own- for lack of a better term). The question i pose is the existance of lawn in the 'burbs, a way of creating a false notion of class?
    and then what would the impacts on this notion if indeed people did not have a lawn in the 'burbs?
    The main reason people have lawns in the burbs i beleive is to create more space so it's less city like. But when you loose the physical closeness of the city, you loose the social closeness as well. And you still need to create country clubs to make it more "rural"

  18. #43
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by burnham follower
    The main reason people have lawns in the burbs i beleive is to create more space so it's less city like. But when you loose the physical closeness of the city, you loose the social closeness as well. And you still need to create country clubs to make it more "rural"
    Hmm i dont agree. I think if anything it is a status symol- just as lucas and i were discussing earlier. I wouldnt equate lawns to social closeness at all.

    Sounds like you are running a new urbanist /anti sprawl theory here- which i dont think has much bearing to this thread really
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  19. #44
    Member crisp444's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by natski
    Ok this may be a dumb question but im going to ask it anyway- as i think it may give this thread some perspective...

    Why do houses have lawns? I mean from what i can think of they are basically seen in the 'burbs or large estates (that wealthy people own- for lack of a better term). The question i pose is the existance of lawn in the 'burbs, a way of creating a false notion of class?
    and then what would the impacts on this notion if indeed people did not have a lawn in the 'burbs?
    I agree, natski. Who doesn't want to emulate the rich? If you visit suburban Miami, you will probably see more fountains than you ever have - in front of small, modest-sized homes. It is possible to drive by rows of 4,5, or sometimes even 6 single family, 120 sq meter (1200 square feet) houses, all with their own fountains located in the middle of their circular driveways. Visitors from almost anywhere else think it is incredibly tacky since even nowadays, having a fountain is a thing that almost no has but the rich. My theory on why this is: Miami is heavily Cuban, and many Cubans were wealthy / upper middle class before having their property seized by Castro and coming to Miami. Many want to recreate the mansion/elegantrowhouse/apartment they had in Havana, and they WILL put in a small pool, a fountain, and an elegant iron gate (at the expense of having almost zero yard space and almost no lawn) around their 1200 square foot house even it if is located in a purely middle class neighborhood of other very modest homes. There is a joke in Miami: How can you tell if a Cuban family lives in a certain house? -The fountain in front is taller than the house itself (exaggeration, obviously, but you all understand the point).

  20. #45
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    I'm learning a lot from this thread. Jaws earlier comments about lawns as too public for family use, yet too private for community use is pretty much my attitude toward lawns. Although I grew up in a suburb, I have lived my adult life in urban areas where the only grass was in public parks.

    Obviously, a lush green lawn is a more desirable surface on which to engage in numerous leisure activities than is a dirt yard. Natski brings up a good point about lawns as a mark of class. But they are more than that. That we decide to grow and maintain a green lawn is an independent decision above and beyond that of choosing to live in a neighborhood whose density is such that private cars are a neccessity. Most people think of the lower density of Suburbia relative to the city as coming from houses being detached and often only 1 or 2 story. But what is often overlooked is that a great deal of suburbia's reduced density comes from individualized front lawns. Suburbia exists as a relief from the chaos and noise of the city. Yet the very thing that makes suburbia possible (cars), accounts for a great deal of the chaos people seek escape from. Hence the setback. Sure setbacks exist in suburbs because land is cheaper, but they also remove the inhabitant from the awareness of their connection to the urbanized civilization that employs them.

    So if I may make an analogy - As the sun blocks out our awareness of the stars during daytime, so too, lawns block out suburbanites awareness of the concrete jungle after every evenings commute home.

    I have much more to say but will let some others get in now lest my post grow tiresome.
    Last edited by dobopoq; 08 Jun 2006 at 9:14 AM.

  21. #46
         
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    Quote Originally posted by natski
    Hmm i dont agree. I think if anything it is a status symol- just as lucas and i were discussing earlier. I wouldnt equate lawns to social closeness at all.

    Sounds like you are running a new urbanist /anti sprawl theory here- which i dont think has much bearing to this thread really
    I think it does fit because I think one reason people sprawl is so they have more room to show off thier wealth. Who wants to live in a city where all people know is you live in a nice address, not that your lawn is the size of a minor league baseball field. But being showy as such seperates you from the people around you. Ask people who have large properties in most denser areas, and I'm sure you'll find them to be less involved in the community. I'm not saying people are trying to isolate themselves, I'm just saying it's symptomatic. But my real point was that people have bigger lawns to not feel so "claustrophobic" with thier nieghbor right on top of them and what not. You can build a really big house with a great garden to show status, lawns must give something else too, because you can poor with a really big nice lawn

  22. #47
    Member crisp444's avatar
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    To most people, lawns equate to having space, and having space equates to having "made it" in the United States (thus the idea of a large, suburban house over a luxurious central city condominium). I like lawns, but I think it is boring and nonattractive to have a huge front yard with nothing in it but grass. Lots of grass does not say "wealthy" to me, but well manicured hedges and shrubs, intricate flower arrangements, and lots of color, maybe a small pond, statue, or fountain - all do. So do different types of colored mulch and stones to add some variety - green, green. green is monotone. As someone who is a gardening enthusiast, I know what costs money and grass is cheap to both plant and maintain. If you can afford to spend $500,000 on a huge house in the Midwestern suburbs with nothing in the front yard except for GRASS, then you should be able to spend $10,000 more to properly landscape the front and sideyards and make it actually like like you DO have money. One of my biggest complaints about tract home developments (sprawl) is that not enough money is spent on trees and landscaping!

  23. #48
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I do not agree that front lawns are not private enough to be used by the household. I am my neighbors use our front lawns. My son plays on it. He and I look for bugs on it. I enjoy it on a cool evening while I read a book. It provides a place for deer to graze and robins to find worms.

    Why does space have to be private to be enjoyed? I utilize public land all the time. I can use my yard to my enjoyment and just because my neighbors and passerbys can see me does not diminish my enjoyment. Same with my backyard. People can see me and my family as we enjoy it as well.

    Yards, front and back, are great for me. One of the reasons I bought a house was to have a yard of my own. To enoy. To do with what I please (within the parameters of civic decency and zoning).

    Lawns provide economic opportunity for 12-year-old boys who want a little pocket money. Saves mom and dad a few bucks and teaches the kid some work ethics.

    I certainly do not advocate pouring a lot of chemicals on your lawn or wasting al ot of water keeping it green and perfect. I use home-generated compost and only water my lawn in July and part of August.

    Lawns are great. I like them. I do not see them as a symbol of suburbia or American decadence. It's grass, bushes and trees.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  24. #49
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    Decoration

    Lawns should be small, in strategic locations as a beauty spot or a soft little place to lie on - pools and fountains of water would be a part of this such as a Japanese garden.

    Maintenance of large lawns is one of the biggest sources of air pollution due to mower exhaust. The yard should be should be put to productive uses such as fruit trees or vegetable gardens or native wild-flowers if you prefer along with native trees and shrubbery. I like to see houses set far back on the lot.

    Large lawns satisfy the desire to conform, to be normal. Why not fence off a large part of the front yard with only a narrow strip of grass along the walkway and driveway to the house to be seen from the street?
    Last edited by bud; 08 Jun 2006 at 12:04 PM.

  25. #50
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop
    I do not agree that front lawns are not private enough to be used by the household. I am my neighbors use our front lawns. My son plays on it. He and I look for bugs on it. I enjoy it on a cool evening while I read a book. It provides a place for deer to graze and robins to find worms.

    Why does space have to be private to be enjoyed?
    Notice the irony of this question.

    I think front lawns are fun for kids up to about the age when they might be expected to mow them. By 12 or so, the safety of suburbia becomes too isolating. Teens stuggle to find role models in subdivisions that are almost totally bereft of twentysomethings/i.e. young adults. How can they can they mature to adulthood when all the commerce and work of the adult world is far away? For teens to become civilized adults, they need to be around society which is best experienced in an urban area.

    By fragmenting open space into individualized plots of grass, sports are hampered. Sure you can enjoy your front lawn - not minding that others can see you, but are others free to enjoy your lawn? Public parks provide for a larger scope and variety of activities than private front lawns. And when houses are close together (because they don't have lawns in the way), parks can be situated such that they are in close proximity to a large number of people.

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