The American Suburban Home Landscape Has Long Required the English Lawn

It is that time of year when we have to mow the lawn. plus trim its edges with the weed-wacker.

The lawn demands attention, but that has been the case for decades here in America.

The English lawn has long played a central role in the American home landscape, but especially since the growth of the suburbs in the nineteenth century.

It was the English who gave the world the smooth lawn made of grass.

Richardson Wright in his book The Story of Gardening writes, “By 1663 [horticulturist] John Rea was giving directions for making and maintaining such lawns as ever since have made English gardens the envy of the world. The old camomile lawn, for a long time a feature, was gradually supplanted by a lawn of grass.”

In the nineteenth century the American suburban home required a lawn. Here you can see the setting of a Victorian home on a carpet of grass. This illustration appeared in the journal called American Agriculturist in May 1888. [below]

 

AA May 1888

Suburban lawn in American Agriculturist May 1888

The flower-bed sits on the lawn as a way to showcase the colors of the flowers, but it is the lawn that fills most of the space.

Nineteenth century nursery and seed company owners along with real estate agents sold the importance of the lawn for the new suburban home.

 

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Comments

  1. Another fun garden picture from long ago — Thanks so much for sharing these with us! -Beth

    • Beth, I found this illustration in old newspapers that someone gave me who attended one of my lectures on the book. You can bet I was happy to find this treasure. Have a great day.

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