The EPA has it in for your lawn


Speaking of lawns, check out the big story in today's Post about EPA going after the pollutants that people dump on their lawns.  Also, probably requiring that homeowners and developers retain stormwater on site, or slow it down a lot.  There's talk of daylighting waterways that are now tunneled. 

And the blowback has begun – from developers, from the lawn service industry and from Big Chem, all of whom have lobbyists.  The environmentalists are unhappy, too, and email groups are buzzing with complaints that the article paints native plantings as scruffy and abandoned-looking, and overstates the cost of rain gardens.  (Guilty on both charges). 


  1. Got rid of my lawn over a decade ago. Shrubs, trees, groundcovers, flagstone paths, flagstone terraces, woodland paths edged with tree limbs, stone patios edged with found brick.

    Got rid of it for greater beauty, less maintenance. Gained more flowers & mix of pollinators all year.

    Who knew gardening without lawn would become CONTROVERSIAL? Enough reason to get rid of the lawn!

    Follow The Money. Testosterone-On-Wheels-Mow-Blow-Go has totally snookered the public. Concrete? Blow it. Turf? Mow it. Bushes? Electric shears. Flowers? Replace ’em twice/year ma’m.

    Big business must sell their fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, grass seed.

    La-ti-da, I’m out of that rat race. My home a Vanishing Threshold of house AND landscape.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  2. so many ways to have a lawn and not pollute or use too much water…as well as so many different rain gardens I have put in that cost virtually nothing…I will be working on the organic lawn care this year since even Weed and Feed is not good…I also have loads of native plants that are gorgeous…so I am glad we are finally looking at these issues and offering more options to folks…just blogged on native plants today 🙂

  3. All new development in Seattle and surrounding areas are required to contain and retain their storm water. Most developments do it via detention ponds. Single family homes have more options. In any event, nonporous surfaces are restricted. Quite a few waterways have been daylighted as well. The motivation being salmon runs. The rules apply to new building. Existing homes have been grandfathered. It can be done. It has been done. Good luck.

  4. This Caribbean authority with credentials from the New York Botanical Garden does not give a flying fart for LAWNS or gardeners trying to justify them, particularly the yellow belly wet back exploiters: THE GREEN INDUSTRY.

  5. That article was pretty biased, and $7000 dollars is an unnecessary amount to spend on a rain garden. I made a small one in the parent’s front yard and only paid the cost of several bags of rocks… and it looks anything but scruffy! When I own my own home, my first goal is to replace the lawn entirely and excavate a large rain garden.

  6. Some day we’ll come full circle and recognize turfgrass for its pollution absorption characteristics, its ability to slow down and filter water, for its ability to consume CO2 and release O2 and for its cooling effects.

    That’s my prediction and I’m sticking with it.

  7. I believe if we have more professional designers who are educated in the mechanics of creating and maintaining a rain garden demonstrate how beautiful a rain garden , bio swale or dispersement corridor can be then the public and private development corporations will be more willing to install these systems.
    I’ve been observing the development of these rain gardens for some time because of the new code ordinances that are being instituted in my state and I have to say a lot of what I see is terribly ugly.
    The basic premise to ” dig a trench and fill it with wood chips” does not instill a sense of beauty.
    So if these eco-systems are going to be legislated then some beautiful examples have to be shown to get the public on board.

  8. Steve, coming full circle would mean getting rid of lawns. Turf is a multi-billion dollar industry in every state, and that’s why it’s a tough sell, because there is a strong lobby. My prediction: people will learn what’s best for the earth and themselves.

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