Once Upon a Lawn: The History Of Grass

lawn-careOnce upon a time, on a lawn far away, the gardens of the future began to come into existence. Over time the lawn grew in significance, its uses ranging far and wide, until one day there came a new dawn for the humble lawn –the age of artificial grass.

Grass was not always tasked with being an aesthetically pleasing feature of cultivated gardens, it was (and is) a wild plant with hundreds of species and equally as many uses. Grass has always been a grazing material for wild animals and it is still produced specifically for that reason;additionally it provides food for humans and domesticated animals because of its grains, like wheat, rice and barley. So how did lawns come about?

The Middle Ages:

During the Middle Ages grassed enclosures were used as pasture for livestock like sheep and rabbits, they also became increasingly popular with the aristocracy as a means of decoration for noblemen’s estates. The word ‘lawn’ is believed to have been derived from in ‘laune’ which first appeared in 1540 and is thought to have come from a Celtic word meaning ‘enclosure’.

The Tudor And Elizabethan Ages:

Lawns and gardens became walkways and social spaces in the Tudor age and consequently, gardening became a popular leisurely and artistic pursuit throughout the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages.By the end of the period the lawn was a status symbol for the upper classes as it denoted they didn’t need to work their land, merely enjoy it.

The 18th Century

William Kent and Capability Brown became key figures in landscape gardening, transforming grand romantic estates into green expanses where delicate lawns bled into meadows and grassy parks;the lawn had been made into a decorative feature by the French royal landscape architect, Andre Le Notre who designed the gardens at Versailles and incorporated the ‘tapisvert’ or ‘green carpet’.

The Regency And Victorian Ages:

The lawn and garden continued to feature as part of ‘home life’ across the classes, though moreso for the Upper Middle strata. When Edwin Beard Budding invented the first lawnmower (1830) it was not perfect and mostly unfit for its purpose (to neaten the lawn with a close cut). However, the idea was there and has since been improved on fervently. With ease of maintenance, the lawn became popular among the Middle Classes.

The 20th Century

With an entire industry centred on gardening and lawn maintenance, the lawn became accessible to the masses as a mark of suburban bliss. They hosted garden parties, barbecues and amateur gardeners began to appear. A garden became a standard fixture for homes and mowing the lawn became a natural weekend pursuit, with neighbourly competitions arising for the neatest, greenest and most attractive lawns.

The 21st Century

A new millennium brought the age of the artificial lawn. It all started with the artificial sports surfaces installed at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. The fake grass phenomenon erupted when artificial grass was fitted at the Astrodome because it demonstrated how well synthetic grass lawns dealt with wear-and-tear, not to mention the low maintenance design and versatile use. Now, artificial grass installers are being called to replace high-maintenance, high-turnover lawns with artificial alternatives at homes, schools, businesses and other traditionally green locations.

The smell of freshly cut grass, the green expanses outside our windows and the way grass feels when you’re strolling barefoot in it; all these things mean grass and lawns have a special place in our hearts. The history of lawns is an interesting and relatively brief one but with the dawn of the artificial age, the lawn’s journey may only just be beginning…

About Author

This article is written by Marie who is a part time blogger who is an expert in writing articles on home improvement and gardening techniques.

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