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Popularity in the United States

In a recent NASA-sponsored study, researcher Christina Milesi estimated the area covered by lawns in the United States to be about nearly 32 million acres making it that nation's largest irrigated crop by area. Lawn care is thus a major business in the United States. 

Maintenance, construction and management of lawns of various kinds are the focus of much of the modern horticulture industry. Estimates of the amount spent on professional lawn care services vary, but a Harris Survey put the total at $28.9 billion in 2002, approximately $1,200 per household using such services.

Virginia Scott Jenkins, in her book The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession (1994), traces the desire to kill weeds historically. She notes that the current rage for a chemically-dependent lawn emerged after World War II, and argues that "American front lawns are a symbol of man's control of, or superiority over, his environment."

Approximately 50-70 percent of American residential water is used for landscaping, most of it to water lawns.

Along with trees, lawns are a vital element in the fight against urban heat islanding. Lawns provide:

  • Oxygen conversion,
  • Filtering of air particulates,
  • Erosion control,
  • Air and surface cooling to offset asphalt, cement, and rooftops.
  • A place for children to run around and play games.
  • A place for people to lay down and look at the clouds

In comparison to bare dirt, a lawn may be 20 degrees cooler on a hot day, and up to 40 degrees cooler than cement surfaces.

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