In thinking about the American home, the lawn outside is just as important as what is inside. This standard of "beauty" stems from the suburban movement of the 1950's where the middle class flocked from urban city life into the newly developed surrounding suburbs, searching for an escape.
Suddenly it is not just about what kind of car you drive but it is the state of your lawn that ranks your social status! The outside of your new suburban home must be manicured and finished right down to the arborvitae bushes lining your recently purchased plot of land! Never taking into consideration what is good for the environment or what will keep the ecosystem of this area fresh and thriving. This monoculture lawn marks a shift in the way we think about the American home.
Today we tend to use things like sod, pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides to keep our lawns looking green. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of water it takes to keep everything looking up to snuff. One study shows that in dry places like Southern California, where there is about an average of 17 inches of rainfall per year, people choose to grow plants that need 50-60 inches of rain per year! That results in over 60% of the household water usage going directly into lawn care. Not to mention what this kind of gardening is doing to the ecosystem.
There is a great phrase out there that describes the best way to handle taking care of your lawn, "garden with mother nature not against her". This is possibly the best thing to keep in mind when considering growth. One basic question to ask yourself, is it supposed to grow here? Only planting flowers, grasses, bushes etc. that are found in the area you live in is key. Sure that white Hibiscus may be beautiful, but if you don't live in Hawaii you might want to rethink it. Create natural habitats where animals and insects will be able to live and thrive. It is true what they say, the bugs are good! They may be a nuisance but in the end they will help your garden grow and promote the overall well being of your lawn. Also, keep in mind pollution, stay away from using harsh chemicals to treat your lawn. If you start to incorporate native plants within 2 years your lawn and garden will be using significantly less water with minimal upkeep.
Check out the Native Plant Database to find local growing plants in your area today!
Be sure to check out our new series of plant inspired images in our Main gallery. These 4 new images highlight the beauty of texture in nature.