History is not often synonymous with lawn care. But its roots are rich and vibrant, dating back to medieval times. Many events, inventions and occurrences had to happen to bring us the yards of today. Simply Green has compiled a timeline of key happenings in lawn care.
- The lawn, as we know it, seems to have European origins. Some of the earliest lawns were the grasslands around medieval castles in France and Britain. These areas were kept clear of trees and shrubbery so guards had a plain view of what was around them.
- 16th Century – The renaissance of the 16th century saw lawns being deliberately cultivated by the rich in France and England.
- The greenery used was most likely not the grass we are used to today. Something like thyme may have been used for ground cover.
- 17th Century – The first closely and meticulously manicured lawns appear. It was still a luxury only the rich could afford, because teams had to be hired to use scythes, and weed the grass. Having a manicured lawn in these days was a status symbol and a mark of wealth.
- 1800’s – The lawn didn’t become widely popular in North American until the Industrial Revolution. It was seen as an unnecessary expense up until then.
- 1828 – The term, “landscape architecture”, was coined by a Scottish man, Gilbert Laing Meason, in his book, On The Landscape Architecture of the Great Painters of Italy. Though this term was used in reference to painters, it worked its way into lawn care.
- 1830 – Englishman Edwin Bear Budding was granted the patent for the first mechanical lawn mower, known as the reel lawn mower.
- 1915 – The U.S Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Golf Association collaborate to find the right types of grass to suite all climate types. Some of the grasses in contention, are now household names. Bermuda from Africa, Blue Grass from Europe and Fescue are all tested for American soil.
- 1940 – The rotary push mower is invented.
- Inventions like the lawn mower make lawn care more realistic to the average homeowner.
- 1963 – The riding lawn mower is invented.
Today the average homeowner spends about 4 hours a week and 5 to 8.5 days out of the years on their lawns. We have come a long way since medieval castles.
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Photo Credit: Flickr 2.0 CC via Antonio Cinotti