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Front Lawns and Drought

Where Does Our Obsession With Front Lawns Come From?

Where Does Our Obsession With Front Lawns Come From?

There is something wrong with our obsession with front lawns. Other than serving to set back a house a little further from the noise of the street, what purpose does it serve? Kids don’t play on front lawns so much as they do with back yard lawns. (Actually, in this era of video games, they are not likely to play outside at all.) Yet it seems that manicuring a front lawn is one of the badges of middle class life in the suburbs.

We are now experiencing a terrible drought in California, probably the worst in recent history. Although we are now between rainstorms after receiving a good drenching last night, we are so far from normal that March would have to be the wettest on record to move the water gauge any appreciable amount. Perhaps now is the time to consider front yards that are more in line with the flora of our tropical savanna climate, such as succulents and other xerophytic plants that typically grow in desert regions. As a simple matter of aesthetics, I don’t see why a green lawn such as the one shown above is preferable to a mix of desert plants, which can be quite beautiful, especially when they flower.

Please note that my comments are directed more to the apparently decreasing rainfall of the American Southwest than to other parts of the country, where desertification is less of an issue. If you are currently under water, feel free to sow those grass seeds wherever you can.