Reuters

The relic front-yard service borne of the housing bust is revived as a drought hits the nation.

It sort of made sense during the housing bust and foreclosure flood of the late 2000s, when cities and banks overwhelmed with vacant and poorly maintained houses tried to doll things up for potential sales by spray-painting dead front lawns a vibrant and alive-looking green.

Helping these places not look like decaying messes was arguably a way to make them more appealing to people who would buy and, presumably, actually take care of these homes. But now, things have just gotten ridiculous.

The Associated Press reports today that the widespread drought currently being experienced by more than two-thirds of the country has inspired some homeowners and businesses to employ the same type of lawn painting for no other reason than that it looks better than dead grass.

"It looks just like a spring lawn, the way it looks after a rain. It's really gorgeous," Staten Island resident Terri LoPrimo told the AP.

You can almost hear the neighbors jealously wondering, "How does she do it?"

The AP story links to three separate entrepreneurs who have been steadily gathering customers for their lawn-dying services amid the drought. As a result, the article also employs the phrase "lawn-painting business" – a concept that (hopefully) would have boggled minds just a decade ago.

As absurd as it is, the desperation of this vanity is perhaps too deeply engrained in the concept of the American Dream for lawn painting to not make sense to some people. As droughts become more common and the feasibility of a front lawn becomes less realistic, it's likely that lawn-painting businesses will be able to survive and thrive in the seemingly important service of keeping up appearances.

Photo credit: Rick Wilking / Reuters

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. An aerial photo of downtown Miami.
    Life

    The Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Aren’t What You Think

    Looking at the population and job growth of large cities proper, rather than their metro areas, uncovers some surprises.

  2. a map of London Uber driver James Farrar's trip data.
    Transportation

    For Ride-Hailing Drivers, Data Is Power

    Uber drivers in Europe and the U.S. are fighting for access to their personal data. Whoever wins the lawsuit could get to reframe the terms of the gig economy.

  3. a photo of a woman on an electric scooter
    Design

    A Bad New Argument Against Scooters: Historic Inappropriateness

    The argument over whether electric scooters belong in Old Town Alexandria reflects an age-old rationalization against change.

  4. A row of electric dockless scooters on a sidewalk
    Transportation

    The Philosophical Argument Against Banning Scooters

    New technologies like dockless e-scooters can generate unexpected harms—but regulations aren’t always the answer.

  5. Transportation

    When a Transit Agency Becomes a Suburban Developer

    The largest transit agency in the U.S. is building a mixed-use development next to a commuter rail station north of Manhattan.

×