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Yards: Our love affair with grass

10 Jun. 2011 Posted by Hannah Mich in food not lawns, landscape, lawns, yards, pesticides, composting, rain barrels
food not lawns, landcape, lawns, yards, pesticides, eco-friendly yard maintenance

It is amazing how grass became what American yards are made of- the canvas in which everything else is put onto and around. And it seems we really do not question this fact. It just is and at this rate forever will be. Now I do not have anything against soft green grass, but our yards are more than this status symbol and conformity. They can serve a much higher purpose, if we put forth a little effort and ingenuity.

I find it intriguing the extent people go to get perfect lush green lawns. The chemicals, manpower, seeding, aerating and mowing all in the name of the perfect “All American” lawn. According to the EPA, over a billion tons of pesticides are used each year in the United States alone. This seems like over-kill to me and makes me think our yards are more of war zone than family friendly. So what are the alternatives to grass and pesticides?

Well our yards can help bring back local plants- some of which have been long forgotten. This new vegetation strategically placed can be habitat and food for local animals and insects. With a proper layout, your yard can help absorb runoff water from your house, purifying the water as it works its way back to its origins and leaving your plants replenished at the same time. With this new outlook on what your yard can be, you will inevitably create an original aesthetic appeal to your yard that is both inviting and relaxing to you, your family and friends.

Avoiding the use of chemicals when creating this new functional oasis is not as challenging as it may seem either. There are plenty of natural ways to avoid using these nasty chemicals on your yard, which are bad for the environment and could cause harm to you, your children and family pets. This is especially true if you plan to include a garden and/or fruit trees, which I highly encourage as a way to get fresh organic food. According to a P. Allen Smith Garden Home article, chives repel beetles, garlic deters moths and snails, lavender keeps away moths and fleas and sunflowers attract ants keeping them away from vegetable plants. And the list could go on.

You can also create a compost pile to throw organic waste like banana peels and leaves. As all the organic waste breaks down or decomposes, it creates an organic fertilizer for you garden and flowerbeds. If you want to take another step to "greening up" your yard, get rain barrels and use the collected rain to water the yard.

Changing your approach to landscaping and yard maintenance can positively impact your surrounding environment and the health of your family. It also sets an example for your neighbors and hopefully starts a new community trend.

Call To Action: 

Talk to a local landscaper
Organize a neighborhood meeting to discuss lawns
Encourage the discontinued use of pesticides and other chemicals on lawns

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