Well, at least that is the accusation.
Time and time again I have clients asking me why landscape designers "hate lawn."
Well, hate may be a little harsh, but let me put it another way; why do clients love lawn? From a design point of view, the lawn is just another type of paving, a way of transitioning from one area to another. Just like other forms of paving, lawn is multi purpose, it can be used for play, entertaining and relaxation. But unlike other forms of paving, clients seem to think it is desirable to pave vast areas of their garden with lawn!
Perhaps it is a through-back to the glory days of landscape, where suburban gardens would compete for the best lawn and lemon tree. Or perhaps, as our taste and lifestyle become more refined, there remains a persistent longing for a backyard cricket pitch. A common excuse for a quadrangle of lawn is "we have kids!" Studies show that kids benefit from a varied environment, with things to climb, smell, dig and enjoy. Kids also prefer to play and socialise in close proximity with trusted adults; a garden that the parents enjoy, will inevitably encourage the kids to come out and enjoy too. Filling the garden with lawn is not a welcoming environment for adults and the kids imagination and play is reduced to ball games (and isn't that what the local park is for?!).
Too much lawn pushes the garden to the boundary and our obsession with privacy means our boundary is used for screening.
There is so much more to life then a lawn and a hedge!
On the scale of necessary garden inclusions, trees are at the top. The list of benefits of well placed trees is too long to cover here, but for a start, trees reduce ambient temperate of the home and surrounds, providing cool shade in Summer. Trees also filter pollution and dust from the air, generally making suburban and city life more liveable. However, our love for lawn and lust for oversized houses has pushed trees out of the garden and onto the streets, squeezing them into the tight spaces between road verges and power lines.
So, it is not that I hate lawn, I just love trees, form, function, scale and balance more - too much lawn just gets in the way!