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Homeowners express disappointment over photos of 'scorched earth' lawn transformation: 'I gasped out loud'

The homeowners made the local ecosystem that much less livable for the struggling species around them.

Disappointment over photos of 'scorched earth' lawn transformation before-and-after

Photo Credit: u/10dakota10 / Reddit

In August, a Redditor on r/NoLawns shared photos of a tragedy: a beautiful garden that was transformed into a cookie-cutter lawn.

Normally, before-and-after posts on the r/NoLawns subreddit are calls for celebration. The members of that community take great pride in turning expensive, high-maintenance, boring lawns into water-saving xeriscaping, productive vegetable gardens, and gorgeous native plant sanctuaries.

Unfortunately, not every homeowner is on the same page, as this Redditor found out when browsing home listings. "Saw this home for sale … and went to look at the street view," they explained in a comment. "It's lost all of its character."

Photo Credit: u/10dakota10 / Reddit

The "before" image they attached was a screenshot from Google Street View of a photo taken in 2019. Originally, the home had a lush garden divided into three parts by the sidewalks and the ramp to the door. The yard was full of colorful plants and flowers, plus several healthy trees, all surrounded by charming walls of brick and stone. Everything was shady, green, and inviting.

The "after" images seemed to be a photo from the real estate listing in 2023, just four years later. The low brick and stone retaining walls had been replaced with uniform concrete pavers, containing a flat turf grass lawn. All of the garden plants and most of the trees had been removed, and the grass wasn't even healthy. Despite the sprinkler lying on the ground, the lawn was almost completely yellow.

"What a shame," said the original poster, and commenters agreed.

"I gasped out loud," said one unhappy user.

"I'm just going to pretend you've got the images reversed," said another Redditor.

The commenters on r/NoLawns aren't the only ones disappointed by this kind of transformation. It's also hard on local wildlife which rely on garden plants for food and shelter. 

Pollinators such as butterflies feed on the nectar from flowers, while birds also rely on the insect population in a healthy garden for food. By switching to grass, which provides no food and little shelter, the homeowner made the local ecosystem that much less livable for the struggling species around them.

Many people thought the plants and trees in the "before" photo needed some trimming, and that there could be a nice middle ground between the two photos. The original poster concurred, saying, "I agree it could have used some cleanup, but they went full scorched earth."

"It can be brought back," said one commenter. "But first, more people have to learn that nature is good, and monocrop lawns are destructive."

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