Landscaping Assessment


Lawns are the largest irrigated crop in the United States, and they need to uprooted. They are large carbon producing non-food crops that devastate local ecologies. The use of fertilizers has been directly linked to algae blooms in local waters. Pesticides are indiscriminate, killing off pests and beneficial insects. They also poison local mammals and rodents. Ornamental lawns also use inordinate amounts of water, especially in the height of summer when local grasses are turning brown as nature intended. Homeowners believe that raking and removing leaves is best for their lawns while robbing their soil of replenishing nutrients over the winter. Leaves should be mulched and left in place.

Trees and Bushes

Local nurseries are happy to sell any plant that willing customers will buy. However, the local ecology is suited for specific native plants. The wildlife in the area is also dependent on these native plants for food and for shelter. Non-native species destroy the local ecology at a high carbon price of maintaining non-native plants.


Residential and commercial lawn equipment are some of the most polluting small engine machines in the country. Both two-cycle and four-cycle engines burn dirty and as is typical for American households, the equipment is not well-maintained and burns even less efficiently over the years.

Leaf blowers destroy insect populations. In the fall when beetles, moths and butterflies are laying eggs at the base of grass stalks, leaf blowers rip the eggs off of grass, sending the eggs into oblivion.

Insect populations are plummeting around the world. The Black Forest in Germany has lost three-fourths of its insect population. There has not been a major count of insects in North America, but we do know that birds, many of whom rely on insects, are down by three billion from thirty years ago. Our lawns are killing our local ecologies, while at the same time spewing tons of carbon into the atmosphere.


Fertilizer has a role to play in American lawns. However, the need for the commercial products are unnecessary for the typical suburban lawn. A year-round compost heap or barrel in the corner of the yard can feed a yard in the early spring. Rain barrels capturing the runoff from gutters also works well.

For a Full assessment of landscaping, consider ACQUIRING the NYIPL Sustainability Plan.