MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s the time of year for pruning, mowing, cutting and planting. For some, there’s no limit on how much time they’ll spend perfecting their yards.

So why are people so obsessed with their lawns? Good Question.

Modern men and women may not be entirely to blame. For many, it’s their parents, or even their grandparents, that likely started the rage.

“[My neighbors] will say things like, ‘Dude, sometimes when you’re not home, I’ll take my shoes off and walk barefoot through your grass, cause it feels so nice.’ And that makes me feel good,” said WCCO-TV meteorologist Chris Shaffer.

If you didn’t know, now you do. Shaffer is WCCO’s very own lawn-obsessed employee.

But he might not be to blame for his pruning.

“When America moved out to the suburbs in the 1950s, they came either from farms where they had lots of land, or they came from the city where they didn’t have any land, and so having a little piece of land that was theirs was really, really important,” said Hamline University professor Nancy Holland.

In the 1950s, G.I. loans not only gave people new access to owning houses, it also sent a lot of people to college for the first time, Holland said.

“There was this huge economic expansion to employ them, so my analysis would be that that generates a certain amount of insecurity,” Holland said. “How do I act when I don’t have this kind of background?”

Holland said big yards were very desirable back in the 1950s because the bigger your yard, the more wealth you had. Also, the bigger your yard, the more privacy you had from your neighbors.


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