First of all, the need for a yard is debatable to begin with. Gone are the days of two-point-three kids, the three-bedroom house in the suburbs and a chemical green lawn. Or, if that isn’t gone for you, then the yard seems like the best place to start changing things, because from up here on my soapbox, it looks like there are much better ways to spend a Saturday morning than trailing behind a lawnmower. I mean: do I really need to talk you into not doing yard work?

Hopefully, for many a dear reader, this is old news, but there is a massive new movement — a food movement, if you will — to start growing our own food, to lessen our carbon footprint and even to spend more time doing enjoyable activities as opposed to work. And, it is within these parameters, that, today, I will be proposing compelling reasons why you shouldn’t mow the lawn this weekend.

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Reason #1: It’s Bad for the Environment

For a moment, let’s not debate whether or not you should have a lawn and simply assume that, like most home-owning Americans, you do. Well, taking care of that lawn has a huge impact on the environment. The engines of lawn mowers are essentially like chain-smoking versions of 1970s muscle cars. On average, one hour of clipping the lawn is as pollutant as four hours of driving. We’ve not even gotten into edging, weed whacking or watering yet. Or, Mother Nature forbid, you are using chemicals like Roundup to keep weeds in check. Better to put it off for a week and lessen the damage, right?

Try This Instead:

There are now energy efficient lawn mowers on the market, as well as a return of the throwback, old school rotary mowers that run off of manpower.

Reason #2: It’s a Waste of Energy

While I could harp on about how it’s a waste of fossil fuels and water resources, which we’ve already established it is, this reason is more about the human energy — your energy — that is required to upkeep a lawn. It’s hours of work, lots of sweat and loads of stink. In the end, you’ll get to watch it grow wild again over the coming week and do it all again next Saturday. Worst-case scenario, all that yard debris heads for the landfill at the end, using up our depleting waste space. This cycle repeats itself for over half the year for most of us. What do we get in return? More yard work.

Try This Instead:

Use your yard debris — limbs, leaves and grass clippings — to mulch or create compost so that it useful rather than wasteful.

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Reason #3: It’s a Big ole Expansive Money Pit

Or, maybe the more fortunate pay other people to use their energy mowing the lawn, wasting money instead. And, of course, there’s also the extra money spent on watering it: Turf requires two or three times as much water as well-constructed gardens. Perhaps, you fertilize it, spending money on fertilizer and the hourly wage of whoever applies it. A lot of money goes into something that provides nothing more than eye-candy on the way up the drive, but is grass as good as it gets?

This Instead:

Save money by designing well, or landscaping, in the first place rather than working to make grass look greener, when it’s anything but.

Reason #4: It Could Become Useful

It is now super hip and equally logical to transform your yard into a bountiful garden. Imagine a pleasing mix of flowers, fruits and vegetables as opposed to buzz-cut grass. There are a number of low-maintenance, productive garden beds you could build in your yard. Well-planned gardens require less maintenance and resources than beds, as well as provide the owners (and often the neighbors) with something good to eat. That’s a better use of time, space and effort.

Try This Instead:

Many edible plants are perennial, meaning once they are in they are in and require very little maintenance, other than eating.

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Reason #5: It Can Wait Until Next Week

If maintaining a lawn is a must (we won’t judge you for it), then maybe the best options are to shrink it by adding some gardens and let the grass run wild a little longer so that the clippings can serve as mulch to feed the garden beds. Then, even the cutting the lawn is serving a purpose, and you are doing less work. But, believe me, spend a little time designing your edible lawn up front, and it will look every bit as remarkable as that plot of grass, reduce your footprint and feed some folks.

Try This Instead:

Plant fruit trees, berry bushes and other useful plants instead just ornamental, as these plants are attractive and productive.

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Like anything, doing the little stuff counts for a lot. Let’s say you normally cut your yard once a week for half the year, and it takes an hour. So, do it once every other week and halve the impact. Reduce the lawn by half with garden beds and that quarters the impact, as well as provides fresh, organic food, requiring less of the food system. Essentially, this change would reduce one-hour a week to half an hour every two weeks, giving sustenance as a bonus and allowing more time to read OGP articles (or spend time with loved ones). That’s massive.

Image Source: Martin Cathrae/Flickr