Where Do Lawns Come From
We're all very accustomed to our lawns these days, they seem to be just a natural part of our lives, but this hasn't always been the case, and in a historical sense, lawns are still a brand new phenomenon. So let's take a brief look into the history of lawns.
The First Launes
Laune and Launde are the original Brythonic (Old Welsh) words from which we derive our modern word "lawn". Original launes were first developed in the mild climates of Europe as enclosed areas of grasses and other plants where livestock would graze, and these animals would also keep the plants in the fields at low heights.
As Launes kept developing over time, common areas were developed where all livestock keepers could graze their animals around the outskirts of towns, and as the city keepers quickly discovered, these low cut grasslands surrounding towns became highly valuable as any enemies approaching the town could be quickly seen and a defence mounted in the quickest times possible.
These open areas of Laune were now not only used for livestock, but were planted with many different plant types and grasses to keep the area low and easily watched over with an unobstructed view as cities were guarded.
These Launes for common use for all are also the original foundation of modern parks which were made for use by the general public, and which are often still called "Commons" in Britain.
The First Lawns
As these new open areas became utilised in many different ways by the people, the aristocracy of England and France then began using the same concept of Launes on their Estates as a new form of both guarding and landscaping while creating new leisure areas on their properties. But these new lawns were most often not planted with grass, they were planted with plants such as Chamomile and Thyme.
The First Grass Lawns
While the old Launes of the 15th century were often planted with both plants and grasses which were kept low by grazing livestock, the labour intensiveness of keeping grasses low and maintained by human labour was completely impractical at these times.
It was in the 17th century when the first grass lawns were planted on private estates and they were kept cut with scythes and shears by the low cost peasant labour only afforded to the aristocracy, and these are the beginnings of todays modern grass lawns.
Massive Adaptation of Grass Lawns
As the peasant classes were slowly released from indentured servitude to the aristocracy, they were now able to own land, buy homes and tend their own gardens. Gardens which were not only food producing but gardens which were now surrounding homes for beauty and leisure. And it's at these times that more and more common people began planting grass lawns for the first time.
Lawns And The Modern Era
All the foundations of lawns were now in place, all that was needed was a jump in affordable modern technologies of water supply and lawn mowers, as well as a jump in the living standards of modern peoples who could now have homes surrounded by land that the modern standard of living now afforded.
With the advent of new technologies and freedom of people and land ownership combined, everybody began emulating the wealthy aristocracy and started planting lawns around their homes, which were then watered by modern water supplies and mowed with modern lawn mowers.
And there we have the history of lawns!