Sustainability and suburban gardens

Sustainable in Holdfast Bay

In Australia, green lawns and roses were once standard features in suburban front yards, along with pretty, annual flower borders. The man of the house mowed the lawn on the weekend, kept the roses neat and trim and sprayed weeds and pests with copious amounts of chemicals. Back then, these manicured front yards were considered a sign of good character.

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“Neatness is all”.

The suburban ideal of the 1960s. Photo from ‘Landscape Australia’

There are several advantages to these gardens. They keep homes and gardens cooler than pavers or concrete. They are attractive if well maintained, and a useful play area for small children. Yet, in the 21st century, their shortcomings outweigh many of these advantages.

In South Australia, the driest state on the driest habitable continent, lawns require substantial amounts of water in order to remain green from late spring to early autumn. In return, they provide no…

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