With low rainfall numbers over the past few years in California bringing about drought conditions, many homeowners are considering removing their lawns in favor of what they perceive to be a more water wise xeriscape. However, several research studies have been conducted recently that have helped us realize that there are a number of reasons why we should all keep our lawns and we should maintain them ourselves. We’ve come up with seven reasons.
- Lawns actually work to cool the exterior of your home – When the weather is especially hot, grassy areas of your yard can be as much as 15-20 degrees cooler than exposed soil or rocky surfaces and as up to 40-60 degrees cooler than concrete or asphalt.
- Grasses and mature trees help to fuel the water cycle, cooling the air and encouraging rainfall. Additionally, through their growth, grasses and mature trees actually help clean the air by converting harmful carbon dioxide and other pollutants into oxygen. A 50 x 50 foot area of lawn can provide enough oxygen for a family of four every day!
- When it rains, much of that rainfall water simply runs off a xeriscaped yard. Recent studies have shown that yards with a healthy lawn absorb water as much as 50 times better than a hard-packed soil landscape. This action actually feeds water back into the underground aquifers and back into the water cycle.
- Healthy lawns at home provide a safer place for children to play. Natural grass at parks and sports fields work much better to absorb shock on athletic fields than artificial turf – helping to reduce injuries. Plus, the grass will be much, much cooler than the artificial turf – reducing the chances of heat exhaustion on hot game days.
- Many varieties of trees, shrubs, and vegetable gardens actually use more water than a well maintained lawn. Many turf grasses available today have been bread to be very drought resistant and by having a much larger area absorbing water, lawns more efficiently use water than many shrubs or vegetable gardens.
- Well maintained lawns and landscaping increase a home’s property values. A study shows that a home can increase it’s property value as much as 10% to 15% simply by maintaining a healthy front yard that includes a lawn.
- The power of the relationship between plants and people has been proven! Studies have shown that people with a view of a green landscape recover from stress 4 to 6 times faster. Office buildings with well landscaped green areas report that workers feel less job stress. Moreover, the action of the person to maintain the front yard also reduces stress. Many psychologists recommend “horticulture therapy” for their patients. People who actively perform “yard work” on a regular basis report fewer illnesses, headaches, and anxious feelings than those who don’t.