Alternatives to the residential lawn: new home design options

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Martin, Heather Elizabeth
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University of Guelph

Residential lawns have ecological consequences. Alternatives to lawns may mitigate the consequences but resistance to adoption exists. This research seeks to understand if owners of new homes would have considered alternatives if they had been offered by developers, and to examine the role of societal norms in residential landscape decision making. Three hundred surveys were distributed to detached homes in a new Ottawa area neighbourhood. Surveys depicted a xeriscape, a wildflower meadow, a low maintenance lawn and a conventional lawn, and respondents indicated their attitudes and opinions about each. Data analysis reveals that the percentage of people who would have considered an alternative ranges from 11.7% for the low maintenance lawn to over 60% for the xeriscape. It also shows that almost one third of people would have been more likely to adopt one of the alternatives if they had known that their neighbours had chosen the same one.

Residential lawn, Alternatives, Design options, New homes, Ecological consequences