Lawn

The front lawn is an icon.

It is a monoculture; a form that does not exist anywhere in nature. The lawn was developed in Britain in the 1800s, and became a statement of the upper class, indicating one had enough wealth to grow for beauty rather than food production. When wealthy Americans traveled to Europe in the early 1900s they saw these vast, “flawless” green areas and wanted to recreate them back home. Replicating the lawn in North America turned out to be more daunting than expected, as there were no native grasses that would fit the bill.

The U.S. Golf Association then set out to find grasses in Africa and Europe that would thrive here. Shortly after they established their desired grass mix the lawnmower was invented, followed by the invention of the combustion engine. It became a social requirement to grow a monoculture instead of food on one’s property for the first time in history when the American Garden Club stepped in and stated: “it is a citizen’s civic duty to grow a green front lawn”. Fast forward to the present, and North Americans currently spend over $30 billion a year maintaining a false ‘civic duty’, while much of our food is imported from out-of-country, at our expense.

The History of the Lawn Mower