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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Opinion

Traditional suburban lawns need to go


Traditional suburban lawns need to go

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Everyone knows the look of the traditional suburban lawns. The grass is short and perfectly green all over.

Lawns may hold a certain nostalgia for some who grew up with them or are a symbol of rich suburbia for others. Whatever they may represent, they are harmful to the environment and need to go. Instead, we should be planting more sustainable and native plants in our yards. 

Lawns are largely bad for the environment because although they isolate carbon, prevent erosion, and create oxygen, the upkeep takes up a large number of resources.

People may not realize just how much water is used when watering a yard. To give the grass an inch of water it takes over half a gallon per square foot, so a 10×10 area would need over sixty gallons of water. Considering many people overwater their lawns, that’s a lot of water.

Lawns often also require things like fertilizer, pesticides and lawnmowers. These things are all bad for the environment with their use of harsh chemicals and fossil fuels. 

Lawns require so much money that U.S. households spend around 15 billion dollars a year on the lawn care and gardening industry.

Suburban lawns require so much work because they’re not natural. You’ll never find a place in nature that looks like a lawn. Natural grassy areas like meadows or prairies have weeds and other plants growing. Standard American lawns are just grass with maybe a few flower beds along the house’s outer walls. 

Of course, there needs to be an alternative if people were going to get rid of their lawns. One thing some people have done is get fake grass.

The fake grass stays the same color and length all year so you never have to cut or water it. Of course, fake grass is usually made from plastic which isn’t good for the environment. One thing you can do is to fill your front yard with rocks instead of grass. Find a color you like and then designate areas to be for native plants. 

Native plants are plants that exist naturally in a region. They’re actually meant to grow in the conditions they’re in so they usually don’t need as much water or need fertilizer. Just like the grass they create oxygen and provide an environment for wildlife to thrive. By planting native plants, the local ecosystem is getting help. 

It’s easy to look up native plants in each region. You can just type in native plants and the city or general area you live in. Some native Houston plants are Texas Lantana, Scarlet Sage and Gulf Coast Laurel. 

Suburban lawns are a pain to take care of, use valuable resources and hurt the environment. It’s time for the lawn age to end, and for the native plant age to begin.

Anna Baker is an English senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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