After a full day of running around at the office, all you want to do is get into your bumming around clothes, make a healthy chicken salad for dinner, plop down on the couch and catch up on the Bridezilla (don’t judge me…) marathon on the DVR. You finally get home, shed your work clothes and walk into the kitchen only to realize you are out of lettuce, onion and tomato – otherwise known as the “salad” part of the chicken salad dinner. The thought of putting back on normal clothes (ugh) and heading out to the grocery store sounds like a hassle. Not to mention, once you’re at the store to buy those healthy vegetables it’s not that unusual to see a candy bar find it’s way into the cart (again with the judging…).

Most of us would sigh, break out the Ramen noodles and enjoy our bowl of sodium; however, you’ve embraced one of the newest trends in home ownership: urban gardens instead of lawns. Instead of a trip to the local store, it’s a stroll to your garden. The chocolate bar free Bridezilla marathon can continue!

The nationwide “gardens not lawns” movement is an interesting prospect for home (and hoe) owners. Not long ago, a lush green lawn was seen as the symbol for idyllic suburban living; but these days some are starting to eye grass as a problem.

Advocates of gardens over lawns see the tiny parcels of emerald veldt as nothing more then resource leeches that do nothing more then waste valuable land, add carbon emissions into the air through mowing and waste water. Instead of an outdoor carpet, you can bring a little bit of the country to the ‘burbs and provide your family with fresh, healthy vegetables on a daily basis.

1/3rd of Americans have embraced at least some form of vegetable gardening (not surprisingly, the number jumped tremendously after 2008). Cities are now embracing “parkway gardens” as well–Los Angeles just passed a bill last week to allow gardens on sidewalk easements and road medians. More and more companies providing “gardenscaping” services have popped up. The classic American turf lawn is still prevalent in most neighborhoods—and will continue to be for some time—but with eco-friendly, self sufficient lifestyles becoming trendy, are traditional lawns on the ropes?

As a realtor and a gardener I find this to be an interesting situation. As a gardener, I cherish my little patch. My garden – five raised beds – is a lovely addition to my yard but does not dominate it. It has provided my husband and I with numerous tomatoes, collards, peas, peppers and squash (oh my goodness the squash!) to enjoy with our dinners. It has saved us money at the store and makes the yard look nice.

As a realtor, I like the smooth clean look of a lawn. How it can be a centerpiece to a beautifully plot of land. We all know a well manicured patch of grass – with strategically planted shrubs and flowers – can add to the curb appeal and drive a price up. With 2/3rds of Americans not doing ANY gardening, I have to wonder if the sight of a small working farm in the suburbs would be a selling point or a knock against a potential property.

What do you think? Is this gardenscaping, urban gardening trend a revolution or the latest fad? Would you consider a front yard garden oasis a plus or minus?


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