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On Aug 08, 2012 06:51AM ET in Green 101
I’ve never cared much for lawns before, most of all for the ones out front. I might have been a little more involved should they have been in my backyard, which Blogthings says is due to my introspective personality. Since I have had a front lawn to look out to for almost a year now, I really couldn’t help being stirred from my lawnapathy when I read two radical ideas in green lawns. Painting your lawn green and painting your lawn green.
Let me clarify a little. Huffpost Green ran an article on literal lawn painting becoming popular among anxious homeowners and residents suffering from drought, particularly in the US. Apparently the way to fight back lawn-drying drought is not with sprinklers (or drip irrigation, as one thoughtful commenter suggested) but with organic deep green dye. The brown grass is sprayed with either dye or latex paint, which lasts for months. Sounds a little like the Red Queen’s gardeners? Huffpost reports that one company, Grass is Greener Lawn Painting, charges 15 cents per square foot of lawn sprayed. Another company, Arizona Lawn Painting, charges $200 for painting up to 3,000 square feet. Traditional customers include golf courses and athletic fields, but residents and businesses are catching up on the idea. Some customers want properties to look better for foreclosure and sales, others want to avoid penalties from homeowners associations for neglecting their lawns. By painting lawns green, no watering or TLC is needed, and the “verdant look” will hopefully last until the drought ends. Good idea or not?
A few days later Grist ran an article on roughly the same subject – greening grass – but concerning a radically different method. Artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey use the most natural green dye of all: chlorophyll pigment. They bring principles of both photosynthesis and photography to create images on living, growing grass. The artists manipulate the pigment in the grass by projecting negative images and controlling sunlight. Depending on the amount of sunlight the grass blade receives, tones of green and yellow are produced. The images are clear and have a soft look on them, which becomes sharper and more distinct as the blades grow. Ackroyd and Harvey have used the technique to decorate the interior of a church and the outside of a theater. Unlike dye or latex lawn painting, the grass live out their lifespan and eventually brown and die – taking the image with them.
Two different ways to manipulate the way a patch of grass is perceived – but which is the greener lawn?
It’s a good thing I never have to actually make the decision regarding my own patch of grass. I look on the brighter side and proudly take the biodiversity-first approach common to evaluating brownfields. Seriously, when I’m involved with my lawn it usually means I’m half-weeding, half-meditating on fractals and branching patterns of nature I see in the weeds themselves. Do you know I’ve documented more than half a dozen different leaf patterns on a single square foot of weedy ground? And that after I’ve spent five minutes pulling up foot-tall weeds, there are one-inch weeds beneath them, and 10 minutes later I see millimeter-tall weeds laughing at me on the supposedly clean ground.
Well, some people can be artistic and some can just throw a can of green paint on their lawns (bless them), but my all natural, biodiversity-rich lawn is satisfactorily green.