Growing up in a typical Chester row home, our lawns are tiny and requires little maintenance other than a cut every 10 days or so. It was only when I moved into a single home in Denver with a modest front and back yard did I realize how stupid grass is.
In Denver, I was told to water the grass. I immediately said no. If God wanted the grass to have water he’d make it rain, was my thought to myself. It didn’t take long before I realized that it hardly ever rains in Denver and if you want your lawn to survive you must douse it with a lot of water.
Then I thought that if it takes this much effort to make grass grow in Denver, maybe Denver shouldn’t have grass. I knew I was on to something with that logic but I also knew that if I shared it with anyone they’d think I was a nut job…until I went to Tucson, Arizona.
I arrived at night at a swank hotel right across the street from some fancy golf course. When I woke up and opened the curtains, there was a tree leaning on my window with oranges hanging off of it and a beautiful blanket of grass surrounding the pool. But, when the cab drove me off the hotel grounds, I saw homes with dirt front yards full of rocks and funny looking bushes. I thought it was a bad neighborhood before I took a closer look at the homes and noticed they were sort of big and expensive looking.
Then it dawned on me that I was in the desert where grass doesn’t naturally grow. Over time, those same dirt front yards became attractive to me as my eyes adjusted to the landscaping of rock gardens, native grasses, cactus, and other drought tolerant plants and flowers.
I think grass is stupid. It cost so much to cut, trim, fertilize and water just for the bragging rights to having a carpet of green surrounding your home.
Americans spend $60 billion a year in the turf grass industry which includes sports fields, commercial properties and private lawns. I can justify why a ball field, park, or commercial property would spend big bucks on having a nice lawn, but most homeowners are paying a big price only to keep up with the perfect lawns of their neighborhood.
Even in this area where we get plenty of rain and grass can grow without much effort, I still enjoy the big properties that are creatively accented with flowers, clover, trees, bushes, a pond, basketball court, swimming pool, rock garden, vegetable garden, gazebo, paving stones, shed, fire pit, roller coaster, or anything that reduces the grass footprint.
I recently read of a guy who earns over $20K a year from his front yard garden where he grows stuff that he sells at the local farmer’s market. Even if you had a garden that just kept you out of the produce section at the grocery store a few months a year would be a better use of the yard than that stupid grass.
Grass is the cheapest ground cover to install and the most expensive to maintain. If you have a big yard, consider chipping away at it by growing other things in your valuable soil. Your yard will become much more attractive, diverse, colorful, rewarding, profitable and much less stupid.