American backyards are where toddlers learn to kick a ball, where pets roam and where busy adults sink into hammocks and patio chairs to unwind. Thanks to millions of industry professionals around the country, lawns and landscapes provide a relaxing sanctuary to spend time in nature with family and are indeed the root of happiness. Yards are good for our health, good for our communities and good for the environment.
Healthy Lawns and Landscapes Enrich Our Neighborhoods
This spring, as people are spending more time than usual at home, Americans realize healthy lawns and landscapes have a positive impact on neighborhoods and communities. They are more peaceful, more relaxing and provide a calming environment for families to enjoy.
- Neighborhoods that incorporate community green spaces have lower incidences of stress, have lower health care costs and have an improved quality of life (Housley and Wolf).
- Research shows that just looking at plants and trees, even through a window, can reduce stress and lower blood pressure (Housley and Wolf).
- Walking in a natural environment with plants and trees has been shown to improve attention and memory (Marc Berman, University of Michigan).
- Neighborhoods with tree-lined streets and larger yard trees have reduced crime rates. (U.S. Forest Service)
- When landscapes are not protected, invasive species threaten them. Invasive plants and pests can take up residence, killing the grass, trees and plants that belong.
Healthy Landscapes Are Good for the Environment
Landscapes are often taken for granted. They are appreciated for their beauty but many people don’t understand the essential value they provide the environment. Here are some facts that may surprise you. Healthy landscapes:
- Clean the air. Grass and plants play a vital role in capturing dust, smoke particles and other pollutants to make our air cleaner. In fact, lawns alone capture more than 12 million tons of dust (Georgia Turfgrass Foundation); add to that, the additional absorption provided by trees and plants and it’s easy to see the role these plants provide in creating healthy air.
- Protect bodies of water. When lawns are well cared for, they absorb unhealthy water runoff that might otherwise filter into bodies of water. It may be surprising to learn that an average, healthy lawn can absorb more than 6,000 gallons of water from a single rainfall event. (Journal of Environmental Quality)
- Provide oxygen. Grasses absorb carbon dioxide and break it down into oxygen and carbon. In fact, a 50’x50’ lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four.
- Act as natural coolants. Lawns can be 31 degrees cooler than asphalt and 20 degrees cooler than bare soil. Trees shading homes can reduce attic temperatures by as much as 40 degrees. These natural coolants reduce the need for electric cooling units, saving energy and reducing electric bills.
- Minimize noise. Lawns and plants dramatically reduce noise pollution; they can reduce noise levels by 20 to 30 percent over hard surfaces like concrete and pavement.
What Makes a Healthy Landscape?
Like all living things, grass, plants and trees need care and attention to ensure their good health. A healthy lawn does not mean one that’s simply been mowed and given water. A healthy shrub isn’t one that’s merely been pruned. Healthy landscapes need to be managed with a high degree of know-how, the support of science, and often, a dose of chemistry — so that families, communities, and our environment can derive the full benefits they provide.
To learn more about the essential benefits available from lawns and landscapes, talk to a landscape professional who is committed to helping families, communities, and the environment.