Front Lawns: They’re dumb.

I never understood the point of a front lawn. Its honestly just a green square that no one plays on, grills on, reads on, celebrates on, spends time on etc.. It’s just like a backyard with none of the purpose. All that  strip of grass says is that the people who own that grass could afford to pay their water bill that month. According to an article published by the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the origin of modern lawns originated in the English gardens of the British nobility through the 17th and 18th centuries. Although, the lawn that we know andsee today was made widespread in North America by the production of the lawnmower in the 19th century. This Western phenomena has resulted in 30-40 millions acres of land used solely on lawns which has contributed to not only 5% of the nation’s air pollution through lawn maintenance (due to lawnmowers); more than 17 million gallons of fuel spill, excessive amounts of pesticides and fertilizers, but are responsible for consuming 30-60% of our urban fresh water. This water is used irresponsibly due to the poor application and timing of sprinkler systems.

One solution proposed by this article is xeriscaping, which is a kind of landscaping and gardening that “reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation” ( This kind of gardening is promoted in regions that do not have easy access to a reliable fresh water source. Other solutions proposed by the EPA are not overwatering your grass by only watering it when the grass does not bounce back under foot; an investment in an irrigation contractor that can reassure that your system is working efficiently; a wether-based irrigation system; and landscaping with only plants that are native to the local climate.


Water Sense, sponsored by the EPA has reported that that the “The average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water per day, and about 30% of that s devoted to outdoor uses. More than half of that outdoor water is used for watering lawns and gardens.” Although, they also reported that if a household were to implement a weather-based irrigation schedule a household can reduce their outdoor water use by 15%, and ultimately saving up to 37 gallons of water everyday. That means that, according to these statistics, 7.5732 billion gallons of water is produced by the 126.22 million households in America (according to the U.S. census) are devoted to lawns and gardening. Although, once this weather-based irrigation system is applied this reduction of 15% of urban fresh-water use would save us 1.13598 billion gallons of water everyday.



5 thoughts on “Front Lawns: They’re dumb.

  1. I never realized how much water was wasted watering front lawns, but honestly it makes sense. The high school I attended always had the sprinklers going all over campus. We used to joke that all of our tuition was funding the grass rather than our education. The actual statistics you have found surprisingly don’t surprise me at all!

  2. This was an interesting perspective to take on this blog assignment. I did not know that there was that much amount of water wasted on outdoor household uses. I also really liked how you incorporated the actions that are trying to be implemented to decrease the amount of water wasted.

  3. I never really stopped to think about the concept of a front lawn. This definitely shed an intriguing light on the issue of water consumption as a whole. In addition, I think studying water consumption comparatively to the size and usage of a front lawn, is important because it highlights potential ways that all Americans (and people of the world) can cut back on their water usage. Lastly, discussing the irrigation systems utilized by countries or provinces that have hard times accessing clean drinking water and comparing them with how wasteful we are, shows the unfortunate reality of necessities versus wants.

  4. I really enjoyed reading this blog. It was an interesting take on a way that people waste water that seemingly flies under the radar. Besides aesthetic purposes, it really doesn’t make sense that virtually every home in the country has a front lawn. The image you included also helped to visualize how much water is actually being wasted because of this. Very interesting!

  5. This was a really interesting post. I have a cousin who lives in Phoenix, AZ and owns a home without a front lawn simply because the costs of watering it are too much. I liked that you provided specific statistics on just how much water is used on maintaining America’s front lawns. Working part-time at a golf course this summer, I can personally attest to the astounding amount of water used everyday.

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