Welcome to the Twilight of the American Lawn

Lawns around the US are disappearing as houses get bigger
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2016 1:29 PM CDT
Welcome to the Twilight of the American Lawn
If we let our lawns disappear, where will our neighbors' dogs poop?   (Shutterstock)

“It’s kind of like the American dream has changed,” a real estate broker tells the Boston Globe, which reports that US lawns are in danger of disappearing. According to the Atlantic, the average home size has increased about 50% since the 1970s to 2,500 square feet. Meanwhile, the average yard size has shrunk by more than a quarter. The fact that the average lot size has shrunk 400 square feet in the past five years alone isn't helping. “They want more house," a developer tells the Globe. "They’re looking for more square footage. They don’t care as much about the yard.” There are any number of reasons for the shift: developers maximizing profit, dwindling undeveloped land, a move back toward city centers, people spending less time outside, environmental concerns, etc.

The Atlantic calls the endangerment of the American lawn a "sinister" development. “What does the United States stand for, if not the right to a fertile, springy carpet of turf thicker than the Bradys’ wall-to-wall shag?” it wonders. And the Atlantic isn't alone in its concern. While people are happily sacrificing their own lawns for more square-footage, their neighbors feel like those disappearing lawns are partly theirs. “We used to look out on the grass," a woman tells the Globe after an old home nearby was replaced with a larger one. "Now we look at a wall." “If you let it get eaten away by little pieces, then we’re not living in our beautiful Winchester anymore," says another woman unhappy with a nearby expanding home. (Read more lawn stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.