A nice lawn surrounding your house not only improves the quality of your life, but also improves your home value and helps ecologically by filtering the air and water that passes through it. These benefits do have a cost however.
Grass needs cut regularly. Healthy lawns need good root systems which
is developed through regular mowing's at the proper height and frequency.
Un-mown grass is an invitation for ticks and other disease carrying insects. If you do-it-yourself as the majority of Americans do, then mowing involves time and physical exertion, not to mention the cost and maintenance of a lawn mower.
Although lawn mowers have improved over the last few decades in terms of safety, they still pose certain dangers if not handled properly. Lawn mowers are typically dirty and noisy, although there are some new battery-powered models that are whisper quiet and don't pollute on the neighborhood level.
To look good, a lawn needs fed on a regular basis. Grass plants have a large appetite to stay in top shape. Without regular and timely feedings of properly balanced fertilizers that include special micro-nutrients, a lawn will lose it's vitality and decrease it's ability to withstand diseases and insect damage.
Lawns have a bad reputation as being the cause of polluting water sources. While excess
nitrogen / phosphorous does cause waterway problems, the culprit is more likely to be from farming areas
amounts of nitrogen/phosphorous are applied in the spring when there is more likely to be heavy rains and little vegetation in the fields to prevent run-off.
Lawns on the other hand, are typically thick, even in dormancy that does an excellent job of slowing or stopping water run-off.
Professionally applied fertilizers are typically applied at the correct rate with little or no excess run-off.
Do-it-yourself homeowners are more likely to apply too much product that might result in excess run-off under the right conditions.
Pesticides. Probably the biggest disadvantage to owning a premium lawn. Pesticides can be harmful to all concerned and extreme care must be taken. Pesticides are best used in small doses, only as needed. Putting down weed-killer across the entire lawn when only a few weeds live out back isn't good. Spot treating weeds is preferred and if you don't mind an occasional dandelion, forget weed controls altogether. Crabgrass and other invasive weeds need to be controlled annually before they become a major problem that is expensive and time consuming to correct.
Insects are a critical link in our ecosystem and most pose no threat to our lawns, yet some homeowners want to kill-off everything
in or out of sight just to get rid of the bugs. Pesticides can be
and shouldn't be taken lightly by homeowners just because they can buy the stuff at the local
Pesticides can harm you, your children and pets (even fatally) if not used and stored properly. Professional lawn care applicators must be licensed by the state to apply pesticides and for good reason. They must have a good working knowledge of these chemicals including all of the precautions associated with them and be licensed by the state.
The rate of application is also important. Homeowners typically over-apply pesticides and the results can be devastating.
Some lawns may need supplemental watering at various times throughout the year, but that can be greatly controlled by planting the right type of grass for specific geographic areas. Trying to grow grass in locations that need to be watered daily is not a good idea.
Each of these items can be considered disadvantages of a lawn. Considering the alternatives though, a lawn is a pretty good choice and well worth the investment of time, effort and money.
Environmentally, a lawn more than pays for its upkeep by filtering our air and rain water, cooling our environment during the hot months, and providing a pleasing background for everything else that goes on around our homes and parks.