Ferris Jabr pays attention to the life in his little backyard, and realises, while outlining the its history, why the traditional lawn is completely out of tune with nature:
To keep our grass lawns green year-round, we continuously douse them with water and fertilizer, forcing the plants to grow nonstop. But we don’t want them to grow too tall, of course. By mowing down grass before it has the chance to produce flowers and seeds, we effectively trap the plants in perpetual sexual immaturity—although many are still able to reproduce asexually, cloning themselves and spreading laterally with creeping roots. Mowing also requires grass to devote a lot of energy and resources to healing itself by sealing off all wounds. The smell of freshly cut grass—so often comforting and nostalgic—is a chemical alarm call: a bouquet of fragrant volatile organic compounds that plants release when under attack.