For as long as lawns have existed, men have taken it upon themselves to care for theirs with the utmost attention to detail. As it stands today, the lawn is a symbol of man’s pride. But how did this stereotype develop?
Was it always an area of such huge interest for men to groom and care their lawn as best they can? What is it about lawn care that draws us in with the same intensity that hunting, cars, and sports do?
In order to gain a better understanding of how lawn care became the golden symbol of a man’s pride and commitment to excellence, let’s go back through the ages and learn a little more about lawns, and why men seem to put such a big emphasis on making sure theirs looks great.
The History of Lawns
Obviously, lawns haven’t been around since the beginning of time. There was a period of time before agriculture came around that nobody ever had a lawn. But even then, symbols of status were used to display pride, strength, power, and honor.
Men would wear animal skins and decorate their living quarters with the skulls of beats they had felled. But, since we evolved into societies where hunting has largely gone away, men have been forced to develop new ways of displaying their status. Clothes, vehicles, and other material possessions have since filled the hole, but our lawns have also become a part of that in a big way.
If your house is your castle, then your lawn is like the castle flag. You don’t want a worn out, disheveled looking flag to represent your castle do you? Of course, you don’t. You want a flag that shows people how much you care about presenting your best image to the world. You want a lawn that glows with a lush, green aura. You want a lawn with no overgrowth, no weeds. No imperfections.
Because while it might be unobtainable, the pursuit of perfection is the highest ideal we can strive for. A well-groomed lawn says to the entire world that you are committed to the pursuit of perfection, not just in lawn care, but in daily life as well. Thus, the lawn came to be a symbol of man’s pride.
A Look at the Numbers
Of course, all this talk about how much lawn care means isn’t just speculation or filer. It’s backed up by facts. There are an estimated 5 million acres of lawn in the United States alone, and they are tended to almost religiously.
According to a recent survey, Americans are more likely to perform lawn care than they are to watch sports, read books, or go to the movies. It would appear that while not everybody tends to be into the same thing, everybody is into lawn care.
For many men, it has become their favorite hobby. The majority of lawn owners in America are male, and the majority of them seem to be very interested in not just basic lawn care, but things like choosing the right mix of grass seed to be planted and making sure their lawn is completely even on all sides. Almost everybody mows their lawn, but the man with a dedicated interest in lawn care takes it a step further.
He wants to know if there are any pests or weeds in his yard, and he wants to know how to both prevent and get rid of them if there are. He’s also interested in mowing his lawn at the right time of day, so as not to stress his grass out in warm weather. Other considerations like fertilization, watering, and traffic levels are also on his mind.
The weather patterns of his location also play a big role in how he strategizes for his lawn care approach. Some types of grass are better in cold, or warm weather. Weeds and pests are also largely location specific. Some types of grass are more prone to mold than others, which could come into play in areas where mold is more likely to grow.
All of these factors can come into for a man trying his best to compete with his neighborhood by displaying the best lawn imaginable. A near perfect lawn is almost like a silent declaration of excellence, if not superiority over his neighbors who may not be so inclined to take picture-perfect care of their lawns.
We know this because of stats like these:
- The average American household spends over $500 per year on lawn care alone.
- There are almost 30 million households in America that are engaged in shrub care.
- There are nearly 25 million households in America engaged in landscaping.
- There are over 40 million households in America engaged in flower gardening.
- Nearly half of ALL homeowners in America engaged in some kind of DIY lawn care this year.
- The average American spends almost 50 hours per year mowing their lawn.
- The landscaping and DIY gardening business is worth about 35 billion dollars in total.
An American Pastime
Indeed, Americans love their lawns. Not only has the lawn become a major symbol of man’s pride, it has become an all-consuming hobby for many of us. While our wives and children tend to look at excessive lawn care as boring or unnecessary, we know otherwise. We know that our lawn is a silent statement of our pride, and our self-respect.
Much like a good haircut, a well-groomed lawn imbues us with a sense of confidence. It tells all who gaze upon it that we take pride in ourselves, that we care what the world thinks. Especially in similarly well-groomed neighborhoods, it’s a sign that we’re a team player.
Not only is having a good looking lawn a symbol of our own personal pride, it’s a symbol of our own capability. It’s a sign that we can be counted on to give our best, and that we’re willing to work with what we have to create the best outcome possible.