In the brutal heat of our Florida summers, when you are exhausted and perspiration-soaked from mowing your Spring Hill lawn, you may occasionally ask yourself, “Who said we had to have lawns, anyway?” These days, it’s usually a homeowner’s association, but like much of our country’s history, the concept of lawns come directly from Europe.
The earliest lawns, as we understand them today, surrounded the castles of Medieval France and Britain. The moist climate of these areas were ideal for growing lush, green grass (so, no need for an irrigation system). The land surrounding castles had to be cleared of trees, shrubs, or any other structure that might allow an enemy to sneak up and attack. Lawn care was left up to roaming cattle and goats that would eat the grass to keep it nice and trim and fertilize it at the same time. While lawns started as a strategic necessity to prevent being blindsided by an enemy, they eventually became signs of wealth and prosperity.
Sometime during the 17th century, lawns transitioned to a symbol of prosperity. Acres of grass at a sprawling estate required a labor force to maintain aesthetics. If you had a lawn, that meant that you could afford to hire people to weed, scythe, and fertilize. Wealthy Scotsmen and Irishmen eventually began to use their lawns for sports such as bowling and golf. When the great exodus to the Americas occurred, these prosperous Europeans brought their lawns, and their sports, with them.
As North America began to industrialize, the concept of having city parks became popular. These centralized expanses of land were used for socialization and had features that were reminiscent of their European predecessors such as well-manicured trees, flower beds, and other landscaping features. Over-industrialization resulted in the development of the suburbs; while HOA’s had not been developed, homeowners were encouraged by neighborhood newsletters to keep their lawns uniform. The innovation of lawnmowers and sprinkler systems made the perfect lawn an achievable dream.
While it might not seem like you’ve got it easy with your Hernando County lawn, you do have luxuries that were not around when the first suburbs popped up. With instant access to irrigation systems and repair and installation just a phone call away, there is no reason why your lawn shouldn’t look as lush and beautiful as that of a glorious British estate.