February 27, 2024

Letter to the Editor: Lawn care

One of the more insidious and nonsensical practices we have as modern Americans is the lawn. A lawn is defined as an area covered solely by grass that is mowed regularly, seeded when necessary, de-weeded and fertilized endlessly. It is the modern suburban dream yard that accompanies the modern suburban dream home. Unfortunately, the modern suburban yard scape of mowed grass is not limited to suburbia but accompanies all buildings everywhere — rural or urban, village or city, home or business.

The manufactured yard, and they are of manufacture origin, is the worst possible environment for any living creature. If one were to have some vegetation other than grass, except for an occasional tree, in one’s yard the whole neighborhood would be up in arms that you are decreasing the value of their dream homes; the city would come by with a notice to abate; and the demise of non-grass flora would be instantaneously demanded.

The modern American yard is the most visible symbol of our current imbecility. There is nothing to recommend a grassy expanse in front of, behind, or beside your house. I suppose, in one’s wildest imagination, one can state that a grass yard makes it more difficult for an unwanted person to sneak up on you unawares. Other than this, it is difficult to imagine many purposes for a yard. One can have outdoor activities in a yard such as badminton or croquet granted; but in those instances, a grassy patch actually has a purpose. Otherwise, there are parks with grass and golf courses both of which could be visited when a grass craving has occurred.

Simply having a grassy area between your house and the street has no function whatsoever other than to cause the homeowner, or renter as the case may be, work and expense. It takes time and effort to properly maintain an acceptable grassy area and it requires the expense of a lawnmower, presumably a riding and zero-turn mower which not only costs a great deal of money to purchase but requires regular maintenance. This all seems to be rather superfluous and unneeded.

If one lives in a “nice” neighborhood with well-tended yards, one only sees a person in those yards for the purpose of maintaining them. The person you might see in a yard will be mowing the yard, weeding the yard, fertilizing the yard, or edging the sidewalk (another currently useless appendage to the property). One doesn’t sit or lay in the yard for fear of chiggers or some other organism that will cause discomfort. One simply visits the yard to maintain it. So the question becomes, what it really always has been, why have a yard?

Richard E. H. Phelps II