September 02 2011

Meadows Replacing American Lawns

A growing trend in the United States, advocated by landscape architects, is the transition of many well-manicured lawns, to ecologically functioning meadows. The transition is spurred by a growing advocacy for stormwater management, declining efforts to maintain gasoline consuming lawns, and pure aesthetic variation. But whatever the reason, the growing trend of replacing lawns with meadows lends a helping hand to communities of every scale.

Growing endorsement from state and federal agencies, such as Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources, strategic plantings of “native” meadows are commandeering roadsides, hill banks, and parklands.

“Native” Meadows serve to:
Allow stormwater infiltration, reducing the burden on stormwater systems;

-       Increase habitat for wildlife;

-       Increase bio-diversity of plant life;

-       Reduce amount of fossil fuels used to maintain traditional lawns;

-       Improve aesthetics of overall yard.

From the point of view of a private resident, many meadows form by a simple lack of mowing. Numerous homeowners of larger plots of land seek alternatives to the constant cycle of mowing and growing that many American lawns fall victim too. Seeking the aid of designers, homeowners grasp for a tradeoff of functional lawn space, without the excessive yard.

Landscape Architecture is at the forefront of planning and designing meadows, especially for large estates on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. One such project includes the Wye Hall estate, with estate planning headed by Graham Landscape Architecture. Careful planning allowed for views, events, and functionality to be preserved, while reducing the need for copious amounts of mowed lawn, by implementing a varying series of meadows throughout the estate. Meadow size and variety reflect the architecture of the estate house, ecological restorative possibilities, and program oriented events.

Have you seen a rise in meadows replacing lawns near you?

Paul Drummond

Paul Drummond is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Landscape Architecture. Paul received the A.S.L.A Student Honor Award and has worked as a teaching assistant at the University of Maryland, along with shoreline restoration companies along the Chesapeake Bay. A native of Maryland and having lived on both sides of the state, Paul draws inspiration and ecological awareness from the entire state, ranging from the Appalachian Mountains of Western Maryland, to the estuaries, marshes, and agrarian landscape of the Eastern Shore.

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This entry was posted on Friday, September 2nd, 2011 at 7:25 pm and is filed under Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


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