Redesigning the American Lawn: A Search for Environmental Harmony

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9780300054019: Redesigning the American Lawn: A Search for Environmental Harmony
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Americans love their lawns with a passion rarely seen in other countries; fifty-eight million Americans enthusiastically plant, weed, water, spray, and mow an estimated twenty million acres of lawn. But is our dedication to these lawns contributing to the serious environmental problems facing the planet? The authors in this book state that the lawn may be an ecological anachronism, and they argue that we must rethink the way we care for our lawns so that these small pieces of the environment will demonstrate our commitment to a more ecologically sound world.
The authors outline the origins of ideas about the lawn and the reasons for its enduring popularity. They describe the development of ideas about its form and the making of the lawn into an object of beauty. They explain how the lawn industry has encouraged the spread of the "industrial" lawn to sustain high sales of mowers, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation equipment. However, say the authors, Industrial Lawns can have high environmental costs: for example, power motors contribute to regional air pollution and global warming; excess fertilizers and pesticides wash off our lawns and run into our wells, streams, and lakes; grass clippings that are bagged and hauled away are major contributors to solid waste problems; and the watering of lawns depletes scarce water supplies.
How can we create environmentally sound lawns? The authors offer a variety of ideas - such as moderation in our use of lawn supplements, ecological use of grass varieties, the substitution of hand mowers for power motors, and the use of grass clippings to fertilize the lawn. These strategies can help us to care for conventional lawns in ways less dangerous to the environment. They also propose two more radical alternatives: Freedom Lawns that allow natural and unrestricted growth of grasses, clover, wildflowers, and other broad-leafed herbaceous plants; and total replacement of the lawn with new landscape designs.
By choosing these alternatives - which can be aesthetically pleasing as well as ecologically correct - we can unite our environmental concerns with direct personal action, acting locally while thinking globally and creating a new garden aesthetic in the process.

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About the Author:

F. Herbert Bormann is emeritus professor of forest ecology at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Diana Balmori holds appointments as a lecturer in the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Yale University School of Architecture. She is also principal at Balmori Associates, Inc., New Haven, a landscape and urban design firm. Gordon T. Geballe is associate dean and lecturer in forest microbiology at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

From Publishers Weekly:

Lawns are celebrated in America as a mark of civility and achievement: nature bowing to the well-gloved human hand and the lawn mower. But American fanaticism about the well-kept family turf does not always serve the best interests either of the turf or of the American. A product, in part, of a 1991 Yale graduate seminar, "The American Lawn," this work of scholarship and suggestion seeks to improve our attitudes and our front yards by cutting down on pesticide use, replacing power mowers with the hand-held kind, adopting types of grasses best suited to one's habitat and maybe even allowing a true-blue meadow to develop, clover and all. Lawns are impositions of will, not of nature, and the idea of returning will to nature--or collaborating with it more respectfully than we have--will not appeal to everyone. But the idea is sensible and fair, and this book--also sensible and fair--may, with luck, help to spread it around. Bormann is an emeritus professor of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University; Balmori is a lecturer at Yale; Geballe is assistant dean of the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780300086942: Redesigning the American Lawn: A Search for Environmental Harmony, Second Edition

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ISBN 10:  0300086946 ISBN 13:  9780300086942
Publisher: Yale University Press, 2001
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9780300061970: Redesigning the American Lawn: A Search for Environmental Harmony

Yale U..., 1995
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