Is Grass Actually Greener?

The answer is yes.  The tricky part is to incorporate enough grass into your design, and close enough to the house in order to actually be able to decrease the overall heat of the home!

A large grass area will change the microclimate around the home.  (See my post titled ‘Creating a ‘Green’ Oasis’ for a description of microclimates and how they work in your landscape.)  A colleague of mine, Kendra Busse, did a study at Arizona State University on this very topic and determined that the temperature above grass is lower than above other hardscape, or even bare earth surfaces.

So what does this mean for your yard?  Use grass!  Grass is wonderful when used appropriately, and I will address that in a moment.  A large grass area around your home can lower the summer time temperatures significantly enough for you to see a reduction in your power bill for cooling your home.  This saves you money and makes your home more sustainable!  Additionally, it makes the yard cooler and more inviting to spend time in, which also can reduce the energy used in the home, because time spent outside is less time using lights and other energy consuming devices inside the home.

One thing I would stress is to define your grass as an Outdoor Living Space to make it more appealing to look at and more comfortable to spend your time playing or lounging.  One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your lawn is to use it as an amoeba-like groundcover to fill in all the empty space in your yard.  Define the edges in an appealing shape and surround the lawn area with some sort of walls and ceiling.  See my posts on Outdoor Living Spaces for direction on how to do this.

Leave a Reply