There are numerous reports about people who have become ill, sometimes severely so, after exposure to the chemicals applied to lawns. These grasses, such as red fescue (northern states), buffalo grass (Midwest prairie region), and California meadow sedge (West Coast), have the general appearance of lawn but do not require frequent mowing or watering. A meadow of wild – flowers and native grasses is another alternative, especially for relatively large areas. An ecosystem composed of numerous species is healthy and sustaining because the system can usually survive if one species is harmed or lost. Smal 1, cub-up areas———————————–
9xded area below trees
WQl, Lawn ccNerb entire s’ffe including drfficOtt QfBQS. Lawn should not be used on the ground plane in shaded areas below tree canopies, on slopes over a 3:1 gradient, in small pieces here and there, or in long narrow spaces, such as along the side of the house near the property line (top half of Figure 3-39). A native prairie is similar and a possible substitute in many midwestern states. For example, the pesticides and insecticides used on many lawns are directly harmful to people, especially children, and many birds and animals. Lawn areas on the residential site should therefore be considered carefully because of their demand for water and their other ecological deficiencies. Vegetation that has greater water needs should not be used or should be located in designated moist zones of the site where it can be given sufficient supplemental water. A related strategy for reducing water consumption on the residential site is to select native or other similar plant materials that grow unassisted in the regional climate conditions. A number of lawn substitutes ought to be considered as alternatives to lawn. Additionally, the lawn should be relatively free of elements such as trees, light poles, boulders, and birdbaths, which act as obstacles for a lawn mower. The quantity of use is also troublesome. About 40 percent of all private lawns are treated with pesticides at a rate that is three to six times more per acre than that used by farmers. The fertilizers applied to lawns to make them grow vigorously are also potentially detrimental to the larger environment. As a synthetic environment, lawn must be supported by other means to maintain its health and vigor. ‘J
Lawn areas should be reduced in size and located only in relatively open and level areas. Ornamental grasses have visual appeal throughout the year and provide a soft texture that moves in the wind. Two general considerations should prevail with lawn areas: (1) reduce the amount of lawn area and (2) maintain lawn in an environmentally responsive manner. ЧЄ5! These areas are best covered with another material such as ground cover or, in some instances, porous pavement. Lawn and the grasses that compose it are only indigenous to cool, wet regions such as those found in the northwestern United States and Great Britain, where lawn evolved as a design element. Here, the added fertilizer causes algae and other aquatic plants to dramatically grow, ultimately reducing the available oxygen for fish and other marine life. A meadow can offer a sense of change with its distinct seasons in addition to the splash of color it provides in the summer. Uncomplicated and curved lawn edges are the easiest to mow along. The remainder of the site can be designated for other uses and/or planted with other types of vegetation. Many geographic locations have distinct cycles of precipitation with some months of the year being notably wetter or dryer than others, as previously noted. The lawn is an ecological monoculture composed of one plant type, an artificial habitat that rarely exists in nature. Some of the fertilizer applied to the average lawn is carried awayduring a rainstorm and ends up in nearby streams and rivers. Areas where lawn is located should be well-defined, simply shaped areas (Figure 3—40). Consistent watering, fertilization, pest control, and weeding are all necessary to preserve the appearance that is usually expected of a lawn area. A wide range of cultivated ground covers can also occupy large areas of ground on a residential site instead of lawn. Not so with a lawn. The lawn has other environmental shortcomings, too. One is other low-growing, native grasses that can be found in almost all climatic regions. Figure 3-40
Lawn areas should be simple in shape for ease of mowing. Lawn is difficult to grow and maintain in these instances. Plants must be compatible with these precipitation patterns, not just annual averages. Fish and other aquatic life consequently die, creating a biologically barren marine environment.