It’s a quintessentially American sight: freshly-hewn grass, blue skies, vibrant flowers, a white picket fence. In a short documentary from RadioWest, we explain how lawns are endemic to America—and emblematic of the country’s hypocrisies.








Link to this The Atlantic news story about culture: The American Front Lawn Is Absurd.


  • proclivity – a tendency to choose or do something regularly; an inclination or predisposition towards a particular thing
  • lawn – an area of short, regularly mown grass in the garden of a house or park
  • conceit – a fanciful notion
  • irrigated – (land or crops) supplied with water to help growth, typically by means of channels
  • crop – a cultivated plant that is grown on a large scale commercially, especially a cereal, fruit, or vegetable
  • peculiar – different to what is normal or expected; strange
  • to take sth for grantedto not show that you are grateful for someone or something, and forget that you are lucky to have them
  • expanse – a wide continuous area of something

Watch and listen

Answer the questions below.

  • What does grassland remind us of and why? (00:10)
  • Who does the front yard belong to? (00:45)
  • What is the link between lawn care and your entire neighbourhood? (01:15)
  • How much bigger is the US combined lawn surface area than that of corn crops? (01:30)
  • Why don’t Americans spend time on their front lawns? (01:45)


Practice Makes Perfect


Fill in the blanks with the correct word. Go to: RADIO WEST to find out more.




In the opening scene of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, a man 1)______ his front lawn.

And yet, Pollan explains, despite the fact that lawns are the largest irrigated 2)______ in the country, Americans tend to avoid spending time on them.

“Pollan 3)______ this question in the film about what our relationship with our front 4)______ says about our relationship with our neighbors,”

But as water becomes more 5)______ and chemical 6)______ more toxic, an anti-lawn movement has sprouted.

Some are questioning whether we should keep our finely-manicured 7)______ or plant gardens instead.




1. mows 2. crop 3. raises 4. lawn 5. scarce 6. treatments 7. grass


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