Campus News

Extension agent talks about the love affair between Americans and their lawns

Alicia Holloway, a UGA Extension agent from Barrow County, spoke with the Associated Press, as seen in the Effingham Daily News, about the future of yards and gardens.

For generations, Americans have worked toward the perfectly manicured, bright green lawns, emulating the ideal image of the American home. The monocultured lawns today are proving harder to manage, with stresses from drought, decreasing pollinator populations and other environmental problems.

“For people interested in gardening, a lot have come to the realization it can’t just be ornamental anymore. It has to serve some other purpose, whether food habitat … pack in as many uses as you can,” said Holloway. “It’s a shift in thought, in aesthetics.”

This is part of a larger movement to experiment with “eco-friendly” lawns that use local flora and pollinator-friendly plants.

“A lot of people don’t want bees—there’s fear of nature,” said Holloway. “I think that’s changing, but it still has a long way to go.”

Holloway said that replacing a grass lawn can take patience, but there needs to be an equilibrium between aesthetics and environment.

“One of the best parts of my job is site visits. I go to backyards that people have been working on for 20, 30 years, and it’s helped me get over the mindset that everything has to be done all at once. It really takes time” to create a yard that’s got plantings, rather than just lawn, said Holloway.