Now I can’t deny that a little patch of mowed grass is an appealing place for playing or just sprawling. But we’ve taken this genteel idea and driven it off a cliff here in the USA, spending about $40 billion every year on lawns. That includes 800 million gallons of gas per year.
If you reduce the size of your lawn, an electric mower is the perfect tool! I personally prefer the mowers with a cord as opposed to the ones with a battery. The batteries can be finicky and require charging on a regular basis even when you’re not using the mower. That seems like a waste of energy. With the cord you just plug in and you’re good to go. You will quickly figure out the best technique for managing the cord.
It’s not just the sheer quantity of lawnscape that’s crazy– it’s the quality as well. That thick mat of grass requires a lot of water and fertilizer too–and you know how fertilizer runoff creates aquatic dead zones. Also, good lawns aren’t supposed to include any other plants. Dandelions–God forbid!
But if we’re vigilant enough with the herbicides, we end up with a perfect monoculture. Great. Monocultures are not healthy ecosystems and are particularly susceptible to pests. So here comes the pesticides. Now we’re talking about really nasty stuff that may cause the death of bees.
There are two smart ways to go. The first is obvious–reduce the size of your lawn. Put in native plants that require little to no water and no fertilizer. Try a vegetable garden as well. That last option requires work, but at least you get something out of it.
The second way is to let the grass grow longer before you cut it. Let it get good and shaggy and let other plants (weeds) grow with it. It’s a different aesthetic than what we’re used to, but pretty–and healthier.