Yet Another Lawn Rant

As if there weren’t enough reasons not to have a lawn, especially in the dry parts of the world where we live, let’s add another: gruesome accidents. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that over 117,000 folks in the United States made trips to the emergency room in 2007 because of lawn mowers.

We’ve witnessed first hand the power of lawn mowers. A neighbor of ours had his windshield shattered by a rock propelled by a mower blade. As the Orthopedic Surgeons note, “The energy transferred by a typical lawn mower blade is equivalent to being shot in the hand with a .357 Magnum pistol. A lawn mower can eject a piece of metal or wood up to 100 miles per hour.”

And manual push mowers? Surprisingly they resulted in 7,159 emergency room visits.

So remove the lawn. How? Two words for ya: sheet mulch.

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  1. Hmmm. I live in the east, where lawns pretty much sustain themselves. At least ours does. We converted a large chunk of it to garden, and part of the rest of it we’re attempting to convert to mini-pasture for our chickens. We do rotational grazing for them, so they get a fresh patch of grass every morning.

    Nice page on sheet mulch. I suppose in LA most lawns would be small enough to be turned entirely to garden. We’ve only got 2/3 of an acre, and nine sizable trees on it. Still, I don’t know what we’d do with all that space if we got rid of all our lawn.

    Well, time to go move the chickens!

  2. I absolutely, positively hate lawns (in Southern California, anyway, where they make no sense at all) – thanks for yet another good reason to add to my argument! And the photo with your post? Perfect. Just perfect!

  3. thanks for the sheet mulch link. you don’t even really need that layer of compost underneath the barrier, but perhaps it speeds the process.

    There is an informal and FREE permaculture design group that started meeting monthly in Santa Monica. The idea is information sharing and roll-up-yer-sleeves/ learn-by-doing projects such as sheet mulching lawns, guerrilla gardening etc.
    check it out here:

  4. I can attest to the 100 mph thing. I was mowing my lawn, back when I had one, and pushing the mower uphill, slightly, and gritting my teeth as I did so. The mower picked up a small rock and chucked it right into my two front teeth. And while I didn’t have to revise my Christmas list, I can tell you that it hurt like a MF. I ran into the house, holding my mouth, to look in the bathroom mirror, expecting the worst. But all was good, no crack, nothing, just pain.

  5. I too can attest to the 100 mph thing, I was mowing my lawn, ran over a pine cone, which immediately shot out and hit me in the eye, which caused me to stumble backwards and trip over a large decorative rock I have near my garden, which then caused me to crack my head open on another rock. After I left the hospital, I had 13 stitches, a black eye, and a sprained ankle. All from one pine cone.

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