Why You Should Let Your Grass Grow

By Frank Hulley-Jones, Allyson Chiu and Simon Ducroquet 05/10/24
Your vibrant green lawn may look lush, but it’s actually an ecological wasteland. “The idea for that ideal lawn is that nothing else can live in it,” said David Mizejewski, a naturalist with the National…
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Of Mice And Men: Befriending Nature’s Balance

By Leonard Green 04/29/24
When I was a boy, snakes were a common sight on the island: garter snakes, northern black racers, and milk snakes. Black racers are the largest snakes on Long Island. I know they are still…
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Q&A: The pros and cons of electric lawn equipment

By Bridgett Ennis 11/06/23
Maintaining a well-groomed lawn can be noisy, with gas-powered lawn mowers, string trimmers, and leaf blowers raising a racket.
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The Gasoline-Powered Leaf Blower as a Metaphor for Industrial Society

By Richard Heinberg 11/01/23
Every Thursday our next-door neighbor hires a worker to use a leaf blower. This infernal machine drives me nuts. Rather than letting a pet peeve render me literally insane, I’ve decided to explore the leaf…
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If You Plant Milkweed, They Will Come. (And Not Just the Butterflies.)

By Margaret Roach 10/25/23
To see a field of common milkweed in midsummer — a sea of a thousand nodding pink flower heads — you would not imagine that anything could ever stand in the way of the genus…
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A Viable Alternative to Conventional Lawn? Cornell May Have Found One.

By Margaret Roach 09/13/23
It’s a grail of contemporary horticulture, a subject of inquiry for scientists and landscape designers alike: how to reinvent the estimated 40 million acres of lawn in the United States, shifting the emphasis toward native…
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Replacing Your Lawn? Instead of a Meadow, Consider a Food Forest.

By Margaret Roach 07/26/23
Your first taste of a ripe pawpaw or persimmon can leave you hungry for more. That’s why Michael Judd is confident that he can persuade you to make room for several of these trees in…
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Formal Landscaping With Native Plants? Yes, It’s Possible.

By Margaret Roach 07/05/23
The task facing anyone designing a garden: “We’re predicting the future — we’re seeing what’s not there.”
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Corporate Landscaping Lets Its Hair Down

By Jane Margolies 07/04/23
At its former headquarters in eastern Pennsylvania, Air Products had a neatly manicured lawn and boxwood hedges. But when the industrial gases company moved to nearby Allentown recently and erected a new office building, it…
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No Till Gardening: Cultivating a Thriving Garden with Minimal Disturbance

By Jessica Tay 06/04/23
As an avid gardener, I have discovered a revolutionary approach called “No Till Gardening” that has transformed my gardening experience. In this article, I will delve into what No Till Gardening entails, who can practice…
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1 big thing: Lawn wars consume neighborhoods

By Jennifer A. Kingson and Others 05/01/23
Lawns have become the latest front-line issue in neighborhoods across the country, Jennifer A. Kingson reports, as some Americans shell out to maintain lush greens while others forgo mowing and chemical treatments.
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Utah is paying lawn companies to trade in their noisy, gassy machines

By Erin Alberty 04/19/23
As the grass turns green and flower buds unfurl, it's time to listen for the melodic songs of birds, the buzzing of bees and the gentle flutter of ...
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Healthy Landscapes, Healthy Birds, Healthy Us

North America has lost close to 3 billion birds since the 1970s, almost a third of the entire bird population. It is not just rare or endangered birds that we are losing, our familiar backyard…

Promoting toxic-free lawns and landscapes for the health of people, their pets, and the planet

Isaac Mizrahi Goes Organic: Kicks the Lawn Chemical Habit

Smart Policies for a Changing Climate (Adaptation, Mitigation, and Resilient Design)

Climate change is a threat to people and the ecosystem services on which we depend. Extreme weather events are on the rise. Flooding, drought, and wildfires are more frequent and more severe.

Gardening in a Warming World

Gardeners are keen observers of what is required to grow healthy plants of all types and sizes. New strategies and solutions to the problems presented by cultivating living things are often contemplative acts.

Climate Change in Your Own Backyard

Our planet is in trouble, but you can help by making changes in your garden.

Gardening for Climate Change

For millions of Americans, gardening is much more than a hobby—it is a passion. Unfortunately, climate change is threatening the gardening experience across the country.

Climate-Wise Landscaping

Practical Solutions for a Sustainable Future.

Climate Change in Coastal Communities

What are the potential impacts of climate change to estuaries and coastal areas?

Vegetable Gardening For Beginners

Ready to jump into gardening? It can be daunting at first, but gardening is an incredibly rewarding hobby to get into. Our Vegetable Gardening Guide for Beginners will help you to plan and grow your…

Your Yard Is a Stealthy Fossil Fuel Guzzler — Give It a Climate Makeover

Want a climate-friendly home? Your yard is a good place to start. This is the first in a five-part series of guides on how to manage your outdoor turf to reduce your carbon footprint, all…


Monarch Butterflies Suffered One Blow From Glyphosate, Then Another From Climate Change

By Jeff McMahon   12/27/22  
Scientists have three main theories for the persistent decline in the numbers of monarch butterflies:
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Clover Lawns Are Blooming in Front Yards, and on TikTok

By Anna Kodé   10/25/22  
Edwina von Gal thinks that grass lawns can become like cigarettes: something that was once in vogue and backed by a massive industry that can be rebranded as an unhealthy and costly symbol of American…
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Lawns Are Dumb. But Ripping Them Out May Come With a Catch

By Matt Simon   09/22/22  
LAWNS BEGAN AS a flex by the uber-wealthy in 17th-century England. (Look how many resources I can waste to replicate nature, when actual nature is right next to my palatial home!) Today, turfgrass has spread…
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You — yes, you! — can help the planet. Start in your backyard.

By Sergio Pecanha   09/06/22  
This column will give you some tools to help mitigate the damage we’re causing to the planet. But, first, let’s look at why you — yes, you — should pay attention to this.
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How to Fall Out of Love With Your Lawn V

By Agnes Walton and Others   08/09/22  
Seen from above, it’s not the undulating rows of square houses that make American suburbia so recognizable. It’s the wide rivers of lush, almost neon-green grass that cut through the landscape. And on long, hot…
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These 8 winter-blooming plants give bees needed nourishment

By Andony Melathopoulos   06/21/22  
“Black-tailed bumblebees are out as early as January,” said Andony Melathopoulos, a bee specialist with Oregon State University Extension Service. “Native bees are just starting and will be seen more often later in February when…
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Bee Friendly Flowers

By Charlotte Glen   06/21/22  
Three fourths of the flowering plants on earth rely on animal mediated pollination to reproduce – Food webs and ecosystems depend on native plants
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A garden designer’s top 6 tips for rewilding your own garden

Rewilding is a progressive form of ecological restoration and conservation that returns a region to its natural, wild, and “unkempt” state. Here at The Optimist Daily, we love to spotlight the amazing rewilding initiatives that…
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On a block full of lawns, she ditched grass for a DIY drought-tolerant oasis

By Lisa Boone   05/31/22  
During the pandemic, the young-adult author found inspiration on the long walks that she and her husband took in their Burbank neighborhood. It wasn’t the endless series of lush green lawns that moved her, however,…
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Edible Landscaping Tips for Beginners

By Elizabeth Waddington   04/29/22  
Edible landscaping, as the name suggests, is all about incorporating food-producing plants into a garden design. Landscaping usually focuses on creating visual appeal. But as you will learn, edible landscaping can be beautiful and useful,…
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Sustainable Fencing Ideas That’ll Make You Want to Ditch Man-Made Fences in Your Garden

By Elizabeth Waddington   12/09/21  
There is a common saying that good fences make good neighbors. Unfortunately, all too often, fences are things that divide us and diminish the environment, rather than improving things and bringing people together.
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Meet an Ecologist Who Works for God (and Against Lawns)

By Cara Buckley   12/03/21  
If Bill Jacobs were a petty man, or a less religious one, he might look through the thicket of flowers, bushes and brambles that encircle his home and see enemies all around. For to the…
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The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Leaf Blowers

By Margaret Renkl   10/25/21  
Into these perfect October afternoons, when light gleams on the red dogwood berries and the blue arrowwood berries and the purple beautyberries; on the last of the many-colored zinnias and the last of the yellow…
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California set to become first state to ban gasoline-powered lawn equipment

By Tik Root   10/12/21  
California is set to become the first state in the country to phase out gas-powered lawn equipment. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill Saturday that would require new small off-road engines (SOREs), used primarily…
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California moves toward ban on gas lawn mowers and leaf blowers

By Phil Willon   10/09/21  
The law requires all newly sold small-motor equipment primarily used for landscaping to be zero-emission — essentially to be battery-operated or plug-in — by that target date or as soon as the California Air Resources…
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The American Bumblebee Has Nearly Vanished From Eight States

By Elizabeth Gamillo   10/06/21  
The American bumblebee (Bombus pensylvanicus)—once abundant and found lazily floating around in grasslands, open prairies, and some urban areas throughout the United States—now face a rapidly declining population.
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The human cost of a perfect lawn

By Valeria Paredes   09/24/21  
Every year, 80 million pounds of pesticides are used on U.S. lawns to maintain attractive, lush greenery. In many cities across the country, Latinx immigrant workers are the primary labor force responsible for lawn care.…
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Time for a charge

By Kim Lux   08/25/21  
Landscape professionals like Wesley Hack are investing more and more into battery-powered equipment and aren’t turning back.
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11 Steps to Encourage Water Conservation in Your Community

By Brian Brassaw   08/16/21  
When Don and Lynn Ireland moved to Cherry Creek 3, they were a bit frustrated by the fact that the entire community shared one single water meter. This meant everyone was responsible for the community’s…
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Yards with less grass and more plants help fight climate change

By Tik Root   07/10/21  
Summer is officially here. For many Americans, that means blankets of grassy green for kids to play in. There are an estimated 40 million to 50 million acres of lawn in the continental United States…
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Ditching grass could help your backyard thrive

By Tik Root   06/30/21  
Summer is officially here. For many Americans, that means blankets of grassy green for kids to play in, or families to picnic on.
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Lawn care is going electric. And the revolution is here to stay

By Tik Root   06/30/21  
It was a few minutes past 6 a.m., and the sun had already started to boil the muggy Alabama air. Matt Harrison, 38, watched as his colleague backed the public works pickup truck into a…
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Why Eliminating Dirty Equipment Is an Important Environmental-Justice Measure

A teacher at a school in a prosperous part of Washington D.C., writing from his official school email account and saying that he was a mentor for the school’s future-entrepreneurs program, wrote with two concerns…
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The Next Electric Frontier Is Your Backyard

By Brooke Sutherland   05/22/21  
In the rush to swap gas for batteries on everything from cars and delivery trucks to boats and golf carts, lawn mowers don't get much attention. But the traditional gas-powered versions that many people will soon use to get their yards ready for summer can…
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Support pollinators this spring with flower ‘billboards’

We at The Optimist Daily are always looking for ways to help our pollinator friends. If you are looking to plant a pollinator-friendly garden this spring, then a new study led by Jaret Daniels and Elizabeth…
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Interested In Eco-Friendly Gardening? Here’s What You Should Know

By Lisa Mullins and Hannah Chanatry   04/23/21  
Environmentally-friendly gardening, once considered on the fringe, has surged in interest in the pandemic, according to Mark Richardson, director of horticulture for the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston. Richardson sees the trend in the…
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How to prepare your coastal property for sea-level rise and weather extremes

By Jan Ellen Spiegel   04/22/21  
People who live along the Atlantic seaboard are accustomed to dealing with environmental extremes: salt spray that can kill just about anything green; relentless wind that whips vegetation into Leaning Tower of Pisa shapes; sand,…
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Central Park May Soon Be Free of Pesticides

By Mary Jo DiLonardo   04/14/21  
Kids and pets will soon be able to play in the grass at some of the country’s largest parks without being exposed to pesticides. Yogurt company Stonyfield Organic is continuing a major initiative to convert…
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Planting Ideas for Garden Paths and Walkways

By Elizabeth Waddington   04/14/21  
Those who are interested in permaculture and regenerative gardening may be well aware of the benefits — both local and global — of maximizing photosynthesis in a garden. The more plants we include in our…
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Why We Should Embrace Regenerative Gardening

By Elizabeth Waddington   04/12/21  
Over the last decade or so, you may have heard a lot about regenerative farming or regenerative agriculture. But you may not realize you can implement the ideas it espouses in your own garden. If…
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Insects are vanishing at an alarming rate—but we can save them

By Christine Peterson   01/17/21  
Insects aren’t just pests. They’re crucial for the planet and our food supply, and scientists say we can all pitch in to help.
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Cities give green light for pesticide-free parks

By Scott Luxor   07/16/20  
Gary Petonke and the Wilton Manors-based Equality Garden Club have a vision for greening public lands in Broward County cities. It’s called the Green Initiative Project. The EGC, started in 2010 by five devoted gardeners,…
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Tropical Gardening: Healing gardens to create peace of mind

By Norman Bezona   07/11/20  
Last year, folks were complaining about wet weather in West Hawaii and too little rain in East Hawaii. Now, West Hawaii is getting much more rain than usual. Even the haole koa and kiawe are…
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Sacramento Region Plans To Store Water Underground As A Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

By Ezra David Romero   07/07/20  
The Sacramento region is preparing for the long term impacts of the climate crisis when it comes to water supply. Central to the plan is a groundwater storage program with two to three times the…
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Plant-wrapped towers, botanical gardens anchor Foster + Partners’ One Beverly Hills

By Matt Hickman   07/07/20  
Alagem Capital Group, in partnership with London-based real estate investor Cain International, has revealed the Foster + Partners-designed master plan for a 17.5-acre mixed-use development that will pack a massive amount of landscaping into the…
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Meet the Hamptons Landscape Designer Detoxing Lawns and Gardens

By Nancy Kane   05/26/20  
When a landscape designer on a mission to save the Earth met a pair of local filmmakers who shared her vision, it was a match made in compost. East Hampton–based landscape designer Edwina von Gal…
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America’s Killer Lawns

By Margaret Renkl   05/18/20  
One day last fall, deep in the middle of a devastating drought, I was walking the dog when a van bearing the logo of a mosquito-control company blew past me and parked in front of…
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By Jiahn Son   05/12/20  
In America, over 40 million acres of land are covered by lawn, or, more specifically, turf grass. While lawns can function as “carbon sinks,” soaking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, this benefit is often…
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Environmental Benefits of Organic Lawns

By Mary Travaglini   03/16/20  
Sometimes people ask, “Aren’t lawns bad for the environment?”  Turns out that’s not true, especially if the lawns are organic and have healthy soils. Here are some of the benefits of an organic lawn with healthy…
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In age of climate change, can our lawns be more than landscaping?

By Patrick Sisson   05/01/19  
If Americans want to reduce their environmental footprints, one of the first steps may be reexamining what’s in their backyards. The lawn-industrial complex, and our country’s obsession over manicured carpets of green, has birthed a…
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Grass Lawns are an Ecological Catastrophe

By Lenore Hitchler   10/03/18  
Are American lawns beautiful visions of nature? Or ecological calamities? Unfortunately, the grass leaves in our parks leave havoc in their wake. Lawns are extremely costly in many ways, including dollars spent on them, the…
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How to Go Birding by Tree

By Jesse Greenspan   07/29/16  
When Ken Chaya first began birding in Manhattan’s famed Central Park 30 years ago, he took the same approach as everyone else, relying entirely on his eyes, binoculars, and ears to detect species in the…
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