Is It Time America Gave Up This Iconic Symbol of a Happy Home?

Katie Sweeney

When I made a visit to my grandfather’s house last week, my family was buzzing about the grass. It was incredibly green, not because my grandpa had been watering it extensively (in California, we’re experiencing a major drought, and perfectly green grass is not okay #droughtshaming), but because he hired someone to paint the dry, browning grass green. It looked great, but I couldn’t help but wonder, isn’t it a little too much?

That’s why a recent article from The Atlantic caught my eye. It’s a eulogy to the American lawn. Grass has always been an important symbol for the nation: “For much of American history, the healthy lawn—green, lush, neatly shorn—has been a symbol not just of prosperity, individual and communal, but of something deeper: shared ideals, collective responsibility, the assorted conveniences of conformity,” author Megan Garber writes.

The story details America’s obsession with lawns, citing many times when people have been jailed or fined because they have failed to maintain a pristine, perfectly shorn lawn and listing many examples where the lawn is praised in American culture. Garber notes that we have entered a new era where “the idea of nicely green grass fed by water every day—that’s going to be a thing of the past.”

This illustrates “a broader shift in the way we humans think about our natural resources, in the way we relate to the world around us.” A little while back, my parents replaced their lawn with landscaping. I’ll never forget what my dad said after it was finished: “I should have done this years ago. I don’t know why I wasted so much time maintaining that damn grass.”

Looks like he’s ahead of the game. If you have a lawn, you’ll need a sturdy, reliable, and masculine mower.

How do you feel about grass? Do you have it?

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