Not too long ago I read an article in the New York Times about a man who was touting the benefits of a moss lawn. If we had mature trees in our lawn I would definitely be interested. I don't know what the city would say about that. I do know that it is now possible some places in the midwest to get a waiver to turn your lawn into a prairie.
In any case, I read an interesting article in the recent New Yorker about the history of well-kept lawns, how un-natural and resource consuming they are, and the recent green movement to do away with green lawns. What was once the mark of European gentry has become the expectation of every suburban property in the country. And although it is now normal, it still isn't natural or healthy for the environment:
The essential trouble with the American lawn is its estrangement from place: it is not a response to the landscape so much as an idea imposed upon it—all green, all the time, everywhere. Recently, a NASA-funded study, which used satellite data collected by the Department of Defense, determined that, including golf courses, lawns in the United States cover nearly fifty thousand square miles—an area roughly the size of New York State. The same study concluded that most of this New York State-size lawn was growing in places where turfgrass should never have been planted. In order to keep all the lawns in the country well irrigated, the author of the study calculated, it would take an astonishing two hundred gallons of water per person, per day. According to a separate estimate, by the Environmental Protection Agency, nearly a third of all residential water use in the United States currently goes toward landscaping.And then there are all the fertilizers and chemicals it takes to keep them perpetually green and weed-free. And the pollution-spewing machines that we use to mow them. It's not a pretty picture to turn our landscapes into picture-perfect lawns.