One of the most ecologically wasteful, and destructive, aspects of modern human society is our fixation with perfectly manicured lawns.
Visit any suburban neighborhood and you’ll see row after row of them, almost all treated with harsh chemicals and synthetic fertilizers that runoff into storm drains, and into our drinking water, causing all sorts of havoc.
But what if we didn’t need lawns after all? Many people are rebelling in their own unique ways by either growing food in their front yards, or in the case of 39-year-old John DeLisle, by planting wildflowers and other native plants to recreate what his home state’s habitat actually looks like, instead of a sterile, chemical-drenched lawn.
DeLisle, of Southfield, Michigan outside of Detroit, created his yard to be an ecological restoration of the prairie style habitat native to his home city.
In the video below, part of an interview with Pulitzer winning reporter Jim Schaefer of the Detroit Free Press, DeLisle talks about his motivation for letting his yard grow wild and free, as well as the many “special visitors” he sees on a daily basis.
DeLisle much prefers his “suburban jungle” to “traditional” lawns, and had this to say when asked about the problems caused by the latter:
“Well, the first one would be monetary. It costs money over time, whether you’re paying a lawn service or you’re doing it yourself, to buy the gas, maintain a lawn mower, buy a lawn mower,” he told Schaefer. “And then, secondly, it’s the discharge of fossil fuels through lawn maintenance equipment…”
DeLisle said bee activity is so high in his front yard that he can hear an actual “humming” sound during the day, just one the perks of his unique creation.
As for the neighbors, well, not all of them feel the same way. Check out the video below to find out what John had to say about that (and to learn the surprising benefits of following John’s model in your front yard):