It’s interesting, this having so much grass lawn around my house within a neighborhood of homes with grass lawns. Even the one word term “lawn” is largely assumed to mean “plot of grass.” But, there is room for “lawn” to mean a plot of land filled with other vegetation besides grass. Someday, lawns across the U.S.A. are surely going to be far less grassy and more, well, filled with some other kinds of vegetation. I understand that this has already been gradually happening in some places. Climate change will render this inevitable everywhere across America and other regions.
I am only now embracing “radical acceptance” of the long-term un-sustainability of my front and back yards of lawn. The grass is dying and dead (or looks that way) in whole patches, small and large, while just hanging on over the rest of the ground. We’re in a drought this year, like so much (if not all?) of the U.S. is. But, we’re in a long arc of climate change over any single year.
I feel fortunate to have bought a home with a lot of grass lawn, a dream I long held like so many people have and still do. However, it’s a collective cultural attachment– certainly in my generation and older– this hankering for grass lawns as part of one’s “dream house.” I know; I’ve been a direct participant in this attachment.
What I find myself doing of late is thinking about other possibilities, namely the reality that, someday, my front and back grass lawns will no longer exist. I may have long moved away or died when this is the case, I realize. But, in the meantime, I am beginning to radically accept that maintaining some picture perfect green lawn is, well, not worth my time, money, and focus. (Actually, it never really has been for me.) It feels like a Sisyphean task, and one that goes so much against the natural environment I live in. I feel for all the people around me who work so hard to maintain their grass lawns. I also wonder how this is yet another way I’m somehow different than my neighbors with their ongoing lawns, but that is for another writing.
It’s time I open up to exploring the option of growing plants native to my area, not simply because it’s the right thing to do but, also, because it will be easier and more rewarding to engage in than fighting to maintain the health of such water-demanding vegetation as grass. Either that or eventually re-seeding with a whole other kind of grass that does not need much water and is likely *native* to long-dry parts of the U.S.
I have read that grass lawns are inevitably going to be a thing of the past. I accept this. In the mean-time, in addition to the effects from drought and hotter weather, I will likely soon be more constrained from maintaining my half living lawn via an inevitable watering restriction (or “water ban” as it’s dramatically called here) by my city government. It will continue to wither, leaving room for other possibilities. Such go the cycles of life, which, more and more, I simply accept.