Lawns Are Dumb. But Ripping Them Out May Come With a Catch
For the goals of environmental sustainability, lush greens lawns and other attractive landscaping elements to align in the most beneficial ways, the trick is to come up with something that provides the most cooling effects with the least necessary use of water. That’s an especially big challenge in desert regions like Arizona, says urban climatologist and Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ariane Middel. A recent research paper Middel co-authored offers some ideas for urban landscaping that would help reduce the heat impacts in hot climates while providing aesthetic and productive landscaping. One possibility is incorporating elements of urban farming. Another option would be creative use of shade structures and efficient water recycling systems. At a time when megadrought is threatening some large regions, experts say creativity is critical to avoid a dire necessity to rip out lawns.