From Academic Kids

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A typical lawn
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A lawn sprinkler

A lawn is an area of land planted with grass and sometimes clover and other plants, which are maintained at an even low height.



Lawns are a standard or essential feature of ornamental private and public gardens and landscapes in much of the world today. Lawns are created for aesthetic use in gardens, and for recreational use, including sports. They are typically planted near homes, often as part of gardens, and are also used in other ornamental landscapes and gardens.

Lawns are also a common feature of public parks and other spaces. They form the playing surface for many outdoor sports including golf, tennis, football, soccer, bowling. In sports venues, the term lawn is usually replaced by turf or green.

Maintenance, construction, and management of lawns of various kinds is the focus of much of the modern horticulture industry.


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Balmer Lawn, New Forest, England
Before the invention of mowing machines in 1830, lawns were managed differently from today. Lawns belonging to wealthy people were maintained by the labour-intensive methods of scything and shearing. In most cases however, they were pasture land, maintained by grazing with sheep or other livestock. Areas of grass grazed regularly by rabbits, horses or sheep over a long period can form a very low, tight sward which is similar to a modern lawn. This was the original meaning of the word 'lawn', and the term can still be found in place-names. Some forest areas where extensive grazing is practiced still have these semi-natural lawns. For example, in the New Forest, England, such grazed areas still occur commonly and are still called lawns, for example Balmer Lawn.

Lawns became popular in Europe from the Middle Ages onward. The early lawns were not always distinguishable from pasture fields. It is thought that the associations with pasture and the biblical connotations of this word made them attractive culturally. By contrast, they are little known or used in this form in other traditions of gardening. In addition, the damp climate of maritime Western Europe made them easier to grow and manage than in other lands. Lawns have not always been of grass. Other possible plants for fine lawns are camomile and thyme.


Maintaining a rough lawn requires only occasional cutting with a suitable machine, or grazing by animals.

Higher quality lawns however require a number of operations. These may include;

  • mowing, to cut the grass regularly to an even height
  • scarifying and raking, to remove dead grass and prevent tufting
  • rolling, to encourage tillering (branching of grass plants), and to level the ground
  • top dressing the lawn with sand, soil or other material
  • spiking, to relieve compaction of the soil
  • watering
  • fertilising
  • herbicide and pesticide application to manage weeds and pests


A number of criticisms of lawns are based on environmental grounds

  • Many lawns tend to be composed of a single species of plant , or of very few species, which reduces biodiversity, especially if the lawn covers a large area. In addition, they may be composed primarily of plants not local to the area which can further decrease local biodiversity.
  • Lawns are sometimes cared for by using pesticides and other chemicals.
  • Maintaining a green lawn often requires large amounts of water. The use of such large amounts on plants that are often unsuited for their environment puts a strain on water supplies, requiring larger more environmentally invasive water supply systems.
  • In the US and some other areas, lawn heights are generally maintained by poorly tuned gasoline push or riding lawnmowers, which use an excessive amount of fuel and contribute to urban smog during the summer months.

However, using ecological techniques, the impact of lawns can sometimes be reduced. Such methods include the use of local grasses, using only organic fertilizers, and introducing a variety of plants to the lawn.

In addition to the environmental criticisms, some gardeners question the aesthetic value of lawns.

See also

ja:芝 nl:Gazon pl:Trawnik


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