Lawns began as a European ‘invention’. They have had an interesting history. In this article, we’ll explore the history of lawns so you can learn a little more about where yours came from. We hope you enjoy it.
It is unclear exactly how lawns originated. However, it seems that there were grassed enclosures in early medieval settlements. They were used for livestock to graze communally. These were distinct from the fields of agriculture where crops were grown. The word ‘laune’ was first used in 1540 and is likely of Celtic origin. It means enclosure, often related to a place of worship.
Other early lawns were found around medieval castles in France and Britain. They were kept clear of trees so guards had an unobstructed view of approaching visitors, be they hostile or not. In the 16th century, during the Renaissance, lawns were deliberately cultivated by wealthy individuals in England and France. However, they were planted with chamomile or thyme instead of grass.
Early lawns were closely shorn in 17th Century England by servants who could use a scythe to cut the grass. The yards were also weeded by these servants and it was a mark of wealth and status for someone to have a well-kept lawn.
The Lawn Moves to the New World
As English settlers well, settled in, to America, they brought their lawns with them. Wealthy families in America began mimicking the wealthy in England with their lawns. In 1780, the Shakers began the first industrial production of high-quality grass seed in America. The increased availability of these grasses meant that they were in plentiful supply for parks and residential areas and not just livestock. Some say Thomas Jefferson was the first to attempt an English-style lawn at his estate in Monticello.
The Invention of the Lawn Mower Makes Lawns More Accessible to All
In 1830, Edwin Beard Budding invented the lawnmower. With that invention, which became perfected over the next decade, came the advent of middle class lawns. Without the need for skilled labor to cut the lawn, average people could aspire to this little plot of manicured land in their homes. Lawns became commonplace and with the innovation of the 40 hour workweek in the United States in 1938, people had more time to cultivate their lawns.
As you can see, lawns have had an interesting history. This medieval invention has continued all through the modern day and is currently being utilized and perfected in ways our ancestors could not have imagined. We encourage you to keep your lawn looking perfect with Emerald Lawns. Give us a call today at 512-990-2199 to set up a mowing maintenance service. We’re happy to help.