No one argues against the benefits that native landscapes provide. It is now widely accepted that the iconic green front lawn is a source of environmental pollution and a drain on finite resources. But still the Kentucky bluegrass, kept neatly groomed and ferociously protected by a white picket fence, persists. An article in the April issue of Stormwater briefly discusses the subject.
Looking at each of these houses, which family takes better care of their home? Is more respectable? Has a higher social status?
Some of us steeped in the dogma of native landscaping and sustainable urban design might say the first family obviously has more respect for the environment and is therefore more highly educated and most likely, better off socially and financially. Meanwhile, most of America scoffs. However we fight it with our sagebrush and cactus-filled California gardens, the majority of our country still clings to the English garden as the ideal example of a well-kept property. We go through great lengths to demonstrate our prowess at keeping our precious American dream green, manicured, and respectable.
So while we go about promoting the environmentally sound practice of using native plants and drought-resistant landscaping, we can’t forget one very important design challenge: how to get a bunch of scraggly old plants to appeal to the psyche of the American ideal.