history of lawns

If you're a homeowner with a lawn, you'll know first-hand how much care, attention and effort is needed to keep it looking good. Plenty of planning and preparation is needed to achieve that perfect piece of lush green grass that puts the icing on top of the cake that is your home. 

But where did lawns come from and why are they the epitome of every dream home? In this blog, Lawn & Weed Expert takes you through a brief history of lawns to find out exactly where it all started. 

So, without further ado, let's get into it...


Lawn origins 

Lawns were first recognised as an element of garden design during the 18th century. Here, landscape designers stylised English pastoral scenery by cropping grass. Men using scythes would regularly trim the herbage next to homes, a task that was extremely labour-intensive and required a certain level of skill to complete properly as the aesthetic demanded a finished surface that was as smooth as possible.

This task was made a lot easier during the 19th century once lawnmowing technology was developed and introduced. However, it's important to note that the earliest lawns were very much the preserve of the elite, so a well-kept lawn was never a common sight amongst regular folk.


Introduction of lawn mowers

The first lawnmower was invented in Gloucestershire, England during the 1830s, almost as a by-product of the industrial revolution in cloth-making. 

The technology involved was sound, however, it was initially difficult to use which led to several modifications over the next few decades. As a result, lawns became more popular in line with increased suburban living areas but the appeal was never lessened. Lawnmowing machines and accoutrements became status symbols in themselves.


The globalisation of lawns

The allure of lawns blossomed with the British Empire and was transferred across the globe through a variety of turf-based sports such as football and cricket for which Britain made a name for itself.

No other place in the world seemed to adopt this obsession more so than the USA, which catapulted the global hegemony of lawns. The 18th-century vision of a landscape garden is imprinted firmly within the American psyche, with golf courses, urban parks and suburban developments all taking influence from this period of history.

The climate across many areas of the USA is poorly adapted to lawn culture, with many locations offering high temperatures that soil and grass are unable to properly survive in. Nevertheless, an uncompromising lawn aesthetic was ferociously pursued throughout much of the 20th century.


The lawns of today 

At one point in time, lawns were a totem of both the British Empire and 'the American Dream'. They then became a symbol of oppressive conformity. However, despite this, lawns still possess a powerful global appeal and it remains very difficult to picture a world without them. 

Lawns hold a huge amount of cultural and environmental sentiment that looks to never perish as long as they remain a part of essential landscape design.


Further Reading

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