The value of the North American lawn

The value of the American lawn

Parwinder Grewal, Ph.D. Urban Landscape Ecology Program, The Ohio State University, Wooster, OH 44691, USA

Introduction Lawns are a central part of landscapes throughout North America, and have emerged as the dominant land use in rapidly expanding urbanized areas (Robbins and Birkenholtz, 2003).  Lawns were cultivated in ancient China and Persia, and historians agree that the precursor to the modern American lawn was the “grassy meades” that surrounded British estates.  Originally kept short by browsing sheep, as the city parks of Auckland, New Zealand are today, these formal lawns were later maintained by gardeners using scythes.  American aristocrats copied this “manor house” aesthetic, but the invention of the push mower in 1830 placed lawn maintenance within the reach of average people, and lawns spread quickly in the American landscape.  As early as 1880, state agricultural colleges began breeding improved grass cultivars for lawns.  The next major change began during World War II, when chemical research led to the development of the first selective herbicides.  Together, the development of synthetic fertilizers and the rise of the suburban dream among the growing middle-class, led to the rapid growth of the lawn care industry.

Although the original lawns in the British estates were composed of a diverse variety of plants, today’s preferred American lawns contain only one or 2 to 3 grass species.  The simultaneous development of the golf course and lawn care industries have led to the perfection of monospecific, weed-free lawns which are referred to as turfgrass lawns.  The word turfgrass originated from the Sanskrit word, darbha, meaning tuft of grass.  Turfgrass lawns are easy to establish from seed or from the readily available sod, making turfgrass the cheapest ground cover to install.

Lawns of turfgrass provide a low-cost surface ideal for many outdoor sports and recreational activities.  Lawns are used for playing sports including archery, badminton, baseball, cricket, croquet, field hockey, football, golf, hiking, horse racing, horse-shoes, lawn bowling, lawn tennis, lacrosse, polo, rugby, shooing, skiing, soccer, softball, track and field, and volleyball.  Both the enjoyment and the benefits of improved physical and mental health derived from recreation and leisure activities on lawns of turfgrass are vital to the contemporary society, especially in densely populated urban areas.  Homeowners derive benefits of outdoor recreation, physical exercise and therapeutic relaxation from the care and grooming of lawns.  Apart from these obvious uses, the American lawn contributes hugely to the national economy and provides numerous benefits to the environment, human health, and the society that are difficult to quantify.  These benefits of the American lawn are explored in this article. – See more at:

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  • Coping with Covid Update: (updated 05/08/20)

    Hi Everyone, 

    I’m happy to share some good news during these crazy times. LawnSavers has resumed servicing lawns in all areas and lawn care services that provide for lawn health are officially on the Provincial list of essential services due to the fact we can provide this service safely and with no personal contact!

    If you haven’t seen us yet, you will see us within the next 7-10 days. We do not expect any delay in our regular timing of applications (except from the wintry weather).  We put together an easy to read lawn care service timeline that you can use to know when to expect us for each scheduled service in your package. 

    I want to reassure you that in every decision we make around COVID-19, our number one priority remains the health and safety of our employees and customers.  Safety and honesty are our two most important core values.  We will continue to follow strict safety guidelines that ensure “zero touch”.  We will not let our guard down on exercising our safety protocols!

    Our office is open but with less staff in order to maintain safety protocols like social distancing.   Please note our phones are experiencing a high volume of calls and we know how much everyone hates being left on hold, so please leave us a message or email us at  and we will get back to you in less than 24 hours.
    Please be patient with us, we will get back to you as fast as possible.
    You can also sign up for services on our website by clicking here.

    Thank you all for your understanding and patience during these challenging times. Our team works hard, so if you are met with our exceptional service from our technicians or office team members- please give them a thumbs up to make them smile or let me know through a quick email to

    We thank you for supporting a family owned local business of 30 years, we genuinely appreciate each and every one of you and promise that we will do our part to ensure our mutual safety and be on your lawn as soon as possible.  

    Thank you in advance,
    Kyle Tobin
    Chief Environmental Officer