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The History Behind Lawns

by Alex Russel, All About Lawns Columnist

If you think about it, it's odd that we spend so much time on our lawns and grass. What a strange custom! Here is a little history of lawn maintenance, a habit that has taken the world by storm.

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Lawn History: A Question of Status

Originally, status was one of the main motivators behind cultivating a lawn for the sake of it. In ancient times, whatever land you may have been lucky enough to own would have been immediately devoted to agriculture, which was making a living.

English noblemen and the very top of the rising merchant class could actually have land and not devote it to breadwinning. A well-kept lawn symbolized disposable wealth and an ability to appreciate the finer things in life.

Lawn, Grass, and Sports in History

This desire to flaunt one's ease of spirit intersected with the rise of sports and recreation. Rich folk cultivated well-kept lawn grass to play sports on. Recreation, and the time to do it, was another status symbol and it needed the lawn to do it.

Grass Brought To the New World

The merchants who made their way to America brought this custom with them. A well-kept lawn continued to be associated with success, order, and upward mobility.

This continues today. When neighbors who let their lawn care go, it seems to affect the social standing of the neighborhood as a whole. Today, more than in the past perhaps, lawns have function. Recreation, especially with children, is a crucial part of our lives. Lawns must be maintained to keep safe and agreeable to family life and activity, but yes, to keep up with Joneses, too.


About the Author
Alex Russel is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Since graduating from Syracuse University he has worked at many different media companies in fields as diverse as film, TV, advertising, and journalism. He holds a dual bachelor's degree in English and History.

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