12 Reasons to Get Rid of Your Lawn


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hand touching grass
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Your time is your money, but freeing yourself from a time-consuming, water-thirsty lawn can still be a hard decision to make. Our American mind's eye sees traditional homes paired with sprawling green, grassy lawns as the quintessential aesthetic to strive for. But you can create chic, low maintenance, stylish curb-appeal boosting alternatives that will have you kicking that lawn mower to Goodwill, while also allowing you to not sweat the water bill's arrival, too. Much of the country is in unusually dry to drought conditions, and unless you live in a climate where rain is a constant and reliable source of water — or would just rather spend your time and money elsewhere — it's time to rethink what the exterior of your home should or could look like.

garden sprinkler watering grass
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According to the Los Angeles Times, 50 percent to 80 percent of residential water consumption during the summer months is for lawns. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California says replacing 1 square foot of grass can save 42 gallons of water a year. At a price of $7 for 1,000 gallons of water, the cost of watering 10,000-square-foot lawn with an inch of water is more than $43, according to Today's Homeowner.
mother and children relaxing in car during road trip
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Wish you had a chance to actually enjoy weekends with your mate? Lawns and lawn care saddle at least one person in the home with a chore that is constant. Life is short and time is money, so by removing a lawn from the equation, you can plan short getaways, or do something that is more rewarding than aerating compacted soil or killing chinch bugs.
man shopping hardware store
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It's not just the water bill that makes having a lawn a burden. To keep a lawn uniform, green, healthy and looking good, you have to pump cash into seasonal fertilizers, specific lawn-care equipment like mowers, weed trimmers and edgers, or pay for mowing services. Add to that the cost of pesticides or sod. And then there is the hidden cost of your free time tending to all these chores.
house with manicured garden and lawn
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Green lawns can be very pretty, but so can xeriscaping. Manicured, bordered, and organized rock gardens that use colorful and drought-tolerant plants framed by interesting external architectural touches like large rocks or even metal sculptures can also be extremely attractive. There's a real calming effect when the area around a house as well as its architecture are complemented by tidy, well-carved xeriscaping with interesting mulch materials, shrubs, and native flowers.
house with mulch border
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Water hitting against the foundation or the house causes rot, insect infestation and decomposition. By cleaning the immediate border around your home of organic materials and putting down a proper drainage system and dry border of rock or mulch of your choosing, not only will you instantly improve the look of your house, but it will also keep you from costly repairs and pest issues down the road.
family looking at house for sale
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According to the American Association of Landscape Architects, homebuyers don't want rolling lawns. Their website lists the top three outdoor design "wants," which include fire pits/fireplaces (74.95 percent); lighting (66.67 percent); and wireless/internet connectivity (65.86 percent). They add that the top landscape and garden elements desired by buyers include native plants (86.02 percent); low-maintenance landscapes (84.55 percent); food/vegetable gardens (74.95 percent); pergolas (50.94 percent); decks (47.4 percent); arbors (44.32 percent); and fencing (44.07 percent).
fertilizer pellets spraying from spreader
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There's real data that supports the idea of not using lawn chemicals. There are numerous research papers and evidence that shows lawn sprays and "weed and feed" herbicides may cause cancer. Eliminating any such chances will benefit your well-being and will save money, too.
son and father figuring out push lawn mower
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Nationwide, tens of thousands of adults go to the emergency room with lawn-mowing injuries each year, and mowing is a leading cause of injuries leading to amputation among children. Bystanders can also be injured when projectiles shoot out from mowers.
bored man laying on grass
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In these media-saturated times with all the DIY television shows and magazines inspiring homeowners to shoot for cool hardscapes, firepits, custom decks, urban gardens, xeriscaping and unusual ways to shape a yard, a flat green lawn may feel dated and boring to the beholder.
carbon footprint imprinted in the grass
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Forget what you read from lawn-care companies extolling how lawns are good for the air, they are not. Dr. Chuanhui Gu of Appalachian State University says that lawns produce more greenhouse gases than they soak up. A hectare (or 2.47 acres) of lawn produced greenhouse gases equivalent to 1,533 pounds to 5,374 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, the latter of which is "equivalent to a flight more than halfway around the world."

large stone in the background of the plants
Photo credit: Vladimir Kokorin/istockphoto

There are municipalities that will actually pay you to remove water-hungry grass. You don't have to put asphalt or gravel all around your home. The type of plants, the placement of drip irrigation, and the use of large rocks and drought-resistant trees planted with simple hardscaping and pavers can mean money back to you in certain cities.
droplet of globe on blade of grass
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Water is a scarce commodity in much of the world, and it is precious. By reducing your consumption of water for an ornamental purpose, you are doing right by your fellow humans who need water just for living in drier parts of the country. The less water you use, the less you pay out and the better you will feel in doing your part to conserve this resource, at least within the U.S.A.

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