Lawns require a constant input of time and attention, and as a result many are leaving the traditional lawn behind and replacing their expanse of green with low maintenance alternatives such as patios, raised flower beds and decking.
Different cultures view lawns differently around the world and in some countries they don’t exist at all for the average citizen. In Russia, lawns are seen as a luxury item and associated with the wealthy. Fifty per cent of agricultural output is from backyard gardens and of the one in three residents enjoying their own personal garden, it’s used as their main source of food.
In other countries such as Brazil and Malaysia, gardening and maintaining a lawn just isn’t part of everyday life. Due to the lack of space and over population in urban areas there’s neither the time or capacity for it. Again, in rural areas, any extra space that could be used for a lawn is usually designated to growing crops.
In the United States, the perfect lawn is the ultimate mark of gardening respectability, as it was traditionally here in the United Kingdom, but as the urban population continues to rise and gardens increasingly become a thing of the past, things are starting to change. The Aussies take great pride in their yards and their lawn care industry is ranked second in the world behind the United States.
Wimbledon Centre Court, London
A whopping nine tonnes of grass seed is used each year across the 19 grass courts at the oldest tennis tournament in the world. Taking around 15 months to prepare a championship standard court before it can be played on, the process is rigorous and thorough.
During The Championships the height of the grass is 8mm and is cut every day with a little bit of watering at night to help the grass survive in the dry soil.
Since 2001, the grass courts have been sown with 100 per cent perennial ryegrass, having previously been a mix of 70 per cent rye to 30 per cent creeping red fescue. After independent research from The Sports Turf Research Institute, it was proved the change would improve durabilty and enhance presentation without affecting the speed of the court.
The White House, Washington
The President has two back yards – the South Lawn and the North Lawn. The South Lawn, which is closed to the public, is long and broad and used to host official events like the State Arrival Ceremony and the annual White House Egg Rolling Contest. Marine One, the presidential helicopter, lands on this lawn to pick up and drop off the President.
The North Lawn, or front lawn, is used to officially welcome visiting heads of state as they enter the White House grounds and you’ll often see news reporters standing on this lawn with the North Portico as a back drop.
It is the job of the National Park Service to maintain the grounds 365 days a year, and keep the lawns looking green despite the constant foot traffic. Every autumn they undertake a major turf renovation which includes thatching, aerification, seeding with tall fescue and fertilising. After major events the lawn is aerated to release the compaction.
Champ de Mars, Paris
One of the largest parks in Paris, the lawn at Champ de Mars sits proudly in front of the Eiffel Tower. The grass here is bursting with history from hosting the first ever Bastille Day celebrations in 1790 to the launching of the world’s first hydrogen–filled balloon in 1783 and features in the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill.
Originally, the public space was reserved for market gardening where citizens would claim small plots and grow produce for the local market and later used by the military for battle training.